Archive for July, 2016
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet: but one thing I do:…” (Philippians 3:13a).
Success in the life of faith demands focus. The problem isn’t necessarily one of desire, but rather, diversion. Few of us can say, “this one thing I do.” Our time, attention, and resources are diverted in a dozen different directions. While we are involved in a number of good things, these can easily distract us from the best thing — our commitment to Christ. When He is the focal point, everything else becomes peripheral.
“Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan” (Luke 17:15-16).
Genuine worship flows forth from the heart filled with gratitude. A person truly grateful does not hesitate to humble and prostrate themselves at the feet of the Master. Along with the Psalmist, let us “praise the name of God with a song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).
“Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way’” (John 18:8).
Each of the gospel accounts are written by men of flawed faith and unfit for God’s service. Yet these very ones, who deserted Jesus in his darkest hour, go to great lengths to make sure their failures are documented for all to see; that all future readers would come to the realization that such as these are the very kind Jesus forgives and seeks to protect; that Christ alone is the one to whom faith is due.
“But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
What separates the church and makes her stand out from other organizations and causes? The buildings? Programs? Budget? No, such things as these are common to a wide variety of entities. Our distinction and uniqueness is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. When Christians give their voice to the negative rhetoric, hate-mongering, and mudslinging that dominates both the news cycle and social media, we just become part of the divisive clutter that widens the chasm of fear, hatred, and distrust. If we must comment on a personality, let it be the person of Jesus Christ. He alone can redeem the ills of humanity.
“Thus says the Lord who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear’” (Isaiah 44:2).
Reading this passage I recalled author Ardis Whitman’s account of attending her first circus as a child. Sitting on the front row, she was enthralled by the artists on the flying trapeze. She asked her mother in astonishment, “Aren’t they afraid?” A worker standing nearby turned and answered, “Honey, they’re not afraid. They trust one another.” When life swings us flying into the air with no net, it is then that the source of our trust is called into question. The answer is the difference between living fearfully or unafraid.
“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24).
A great deal of reckless and irresponsible behaviors are carried out under the banner of “my freedom in Christ.” Thought by many to be a sign of their Christian maturity, the exercise of freedom in the absence of responsibility and regard for others is but an expression of one’s spiritual immaturity. Freedom in Christ is never for the purpose of flaunting carelessly but, when practiced, is to be done judiciously.
“And the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14).
Anything in your past or present that you have come to believe disqualifies you from a relationship with Christ is trumped by his super-abundant grace. Create a ledger of every possible sin, failure, or any good deed undone and God will blot it out with the blood of the One who’s grace is beyond all sufficiency. What a turning point it is in the journey of faith when we come to see ourselves not as an object of God’s wrath but, rather, his compassion.