This seems like an easy one to talk about and even write about and while that may be true, it's one of the hardest things to actually put into practice. If you're a human and you have lived your life for any length of time, you have been wronged in some way by someone else. You have felt that pride that we all feel that, somehow, you deserve more than the other person. It seems as though you have this thing inside you that is pushing you to believe that you are the “top dog.” When someone who isn't your family acts out in a certain way that gets on your nerves, you just want to cut ties and never talk to them again.
How is it then, that we are told time and time again, in Scripture, to “love one another”? How can we do this? What does this love really look like? In this next verse we see Jesus summing up the 10 commandments into 2 short ones. Short, but intense. The first has to do with our relationship with God and the second has to do with the relationship that we have with each other. The second one is what we will be looking at.
"The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” - Mark 12:31
You see that we are told that we are to “love your neighbor as yourself’. I have read this so many times and even quoted it to others many times. When I first started saying this to others, I have to admit that I truly didn't think about the implications of it. There was almost this “wise” feeling I had when I said it. It's funny when you think about it. The wisdom is found in God and in His Word, not in us. However, it is our Sword to use.
When you stop to think about what it truly means to “love your neighbor as yourself” and you actually focus on how to do that, you can see how hard this really is. I have used an example in the past before. Imagine you are walking outside to take the garbage out and you're walking barefoot and you accidentally step in some animal mess. What is it that you do? You go inside after gagging and wash it off, right? Well, imagine someone you don't know walks up to you with that same mess on their feet and you just reach down to wash it off.
Seems funny right? Well, you need to have the same compassion and care for others that you have for yourself. When you truly stop to “love your neighbor as yourself”, you stop thinking that you should come first in all things. If you're a husband, wife, father, or mother this goes into practice in that instance as well. When your wife or child gets hurt, you stop to take care of them. That same kind of idea goes into “loving your neighbor as yourself.” You look to take care of people in any way that you can. If you see someone in need, you help them as much as you can. If they are rude, you forgive them and move on. If they are hungry, you feed them. If they are thirsty, you give them something to drink. I hope by now that some of this might start sounding familiar. Maybe even like the good Samaritan example found in scripture.
If you remember that the example used there in Scripture was used to show how the “religious” elites were acting in those days and how fake they were and really missing the mark. I often wonder though, how would we, as modern Christians, measure up to them. Would we have a lot in common with them? Would we be seen as caring more for ourselves than for others? Do we really stop and consider what this really means? Are we so self centered and selfish to think that we are better than others?
I hate to admit it, but I haven't always loved my neighbor as much as I love myself. I have walked by people who were asking for change or help and not stopped to think about it. By the grace of God, I have grown in that area, but I still wrestle with it in other ways. I have seen others struggling with issues in their life and not stopped to offer up a prayer or Godly advice from Scripture.
If we are to truly do this, it goes beyond just caring for others’ physical needs. Do we care enough for others to share that beautiful Truth from Scripture that we have hidden in our hearts? The Gospel! To truly care for someone else as we do ourselves goes way deeper than just feeding or clothing someone, which truly is important and needs to happen more often. If you take a look at the early church in the book of Acts, you see them taking care of each other and spending time with one another. Beyond that, you see God adding to their number day by day. Yes, people were being saved by God and His grace because of the Gospel being shared with them by the Church.
So if we are to do this and put this into practice, we have to be more attentive to others and their true needs. Jesus is what they need for their salvation. Yes, feed them and, of course, clothe them. Take care of their bills if need be or even a place to stay but much more than that, give them Christ! Give them the Gospel and the offer of salvation that is offered in and through Him and Him alone! We need to be reminded of that sweet beautiful Gospel daily and so we should share it with others daily as well. I pray this encourages you to truly “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Have you ever met someone that you instantly enjoyed being around? Someone who you can say is a genuine person, who cares about others? You see how they interact with other people and say to yourself, “This person is truly caring.” Then after getting to know them a little better, possibly even that day, you come to find out that they aren't a Christian. After finding this out it may confuse you and boggle your mind how someone who isn't a Christian can care so seemingly deeply for others.
We, as people, often compare ourselves to one another. We use each other as a standard of measurement on how we are doing. We look to others as examples and guidance on how we should live our lives. As Christians though, what are we to use to measure ourselves? What is our plumb line for us to go by?
I have had this conversation many times with many people, believe it or not. I have even had this conversation with many Christians and it usually goes the same way. I start off asking them if they are a good person. I will tell you this: 99% of people and yes, even most Christians, will say that they are good people. If you, however, examine Scripture, you can see that there isn't such a one. Then, I go through the Ten Commandments with them and one by one, they admit that they have broken each of the Ten. I then explain that we shouldn't compare ourselves to each other, but to God and His standard.
If you look at Matthew 5:21-30 you will see that Jesus did this as well. This is the Sermon on the Mount. You see that Jesus is taking the law and turning the heat up. It isn't just about “breaking the law” but also about what's in your heart. Just before this, He said in verse 17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Jesus isn't doing away with the Law, but using it in His teaching to the people.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
You see, we are to compare ourselves to the standard that we can’t meet to show us how much need we truly have for a Savior to save us from our sin. We see in Romans 3:10-11 we are told that there is no one righteous.
as it is written:
We can also see that our hearts are deceitful and wicked Jerimiah 17:9 and the intentions of our hearts are wicked in Genesis 8:21.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. - Genesis 8:21
Just by this quick examination and look at Scripture we can see that we truly are not good people. We truly do not have the best of intentions in our hearts even when we try to do good. We see that God truly knows us and who we are. The next time you meet someone and you think that they are a good person, remember that we are to use the standard of God to measure and remember to use that standard in our witnessing encounters as well. It is a tool to use that God has given us. We can test ourselves and our intentions with it as well.
We shouldn't use a horizontal, human to human standard but, a vertical one, which compares us to God. God speaks very much about this and I encourage you to do your own study on this. There is much more Scriptural support for this matter that I didn't include in this article that only solidifies the point: we really aren't good people at the core and there is not a good person out there. There is only One that is good and that is God. If you are saved and you live by that standard, others will more than likely say you are a good person. All glory goes to God, however. The Holy Spirit lives in you and is guiding you. May God get all the glory He is due for He is worthy and only He should get the praise. If someone compliments you, give glory to God because the only good that is in you is because of God. Soli Deo Gloria is a saying I encourage you to remember. It means To God Alone Be the Glory. Let that be the point of your life, let that lead you in how you live.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’” - Hebrews 13:5-6
The writer of Hebrews makes a clear point here. In this section of the letter, the author is giving some very clear direction on Godly living and how to conduct ourselves. I would encourage you to read the entire book of Hebrews in one sitting to help understand the scope of what is being stated here. But for our purposes, we will just look at these two verses.
When I first decided that this is what I was going to write on, I went through many scriptures and I found this scripture to be both directive and encouraging at the same time. This point he makes here is very clear on Godly living and not having fear.
When I stop and I think about “The Unknown”, it brings to mind all of the uncertainty that comes with just living a normal life. There is so much that we don't know and so much of which we can't be absolutely certain. God and His word is not one of those things.
The uncertainty of our financial future is one. Not because we don't plan and practice good stewardship but because we are never promised tomorrow. If the country falls then so will the financial system. What will we do then? Our children's salvation is yet another. Again, not that we don't raise them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord but, this one is out of our hands. We raise them according to God and His instruction we find in the Bible and it is up to God and His sovereignty to save them.
The bridge we’re driving over may fall. We don’t know if the engineer who designed it was competent or not. We don’t know if they used the proper materials or if they cut corners while assembling it. We just go about our days with so many unknowns and trust that things will work and with confidence, cross that bridge. We take that one step after another and live our lives completely ignoring all the possibilities that are out there. We think it normal that things operate in the manner that they do and that it will always be that way.
So, why is it then, that when things get tough in our life we start panicking about what we will do? We start freaking out when we feel like we are backed into a corner. If your bank account is empty and there is no food in the pantry with mouths to feed, what do you do? Do you stress out and worry about how you will feed them? Or, do you make plans and trust God to provide?
Here in this section of Hebrews we see a clear direction of what we are to do when we face hard times and the unknown.
“be content with what you have, for he has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'”
True contentment, the kind that brings peace, comes from a full trust in God and that He will, and does, provide for you in every way. From the next breath you take to the food you eat and even the job you have to provide for you, and your family. Think of it this way, every beat of your heart is a gift of God. We don’t deserve to live. We deserve eternal punishment. But God with mercy and grace that He has patience with us.
We see this mercy that is shown here:
“so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” - Matthew 5:45
This should be encouraging for us. We also see that we are told that “The Lord is my helper.” How could we want anything more than this? The one who spoke everything into being, the one who holds all existence together by His power, is our helper. The One and Only True God, helps us. So then, you see the result of that in the last part of this section. “I will not fear”. We have absolutely nothing to fear. We don’t need to fear man either.
You see when we feel like the entire world is caving in on us and we are absolutely alone, we aren’t. God is with us. God is omnipresent. This means He is everywhere at all times. We can never get away from God. Let's end with another scripture I pray that drives this home for you.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” - Romans 8:38-39
The Lord is with us and nothing can separate us from Him or His promises He made. Rely on Him and trust Him in all things and at all times. He will not fail us. I'm not preaching a prosperity Gospel but I am saying that God will take care of you. He can bring peace when you feel nothing but anxiety and comfort in times of pain. Focus on Him and His word in times of confusion. Cling to Christ and His Word and the God of all the universe will be with you always.
Have you ever been studying something or reading a book and what you were reading just mentally assaulted you? This is what this was like when I first did my study on the subject of the tongue; the speech we should have as Christians. When I read what Scripture has to say about it, I felt crushed. Not that I had a filthy mouth or that I cursed all the time, or even used course language as a practice. Yet, I found myself feeling the conviction over the lack of true holiness I found in my speech.
If you haven't done this kind of study in Scripture yet, I suggest that you take this as a task for the near future. We are told to glorify God in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). Speech is not excluded from that list. So let's take a quick look at what we are told about speech or the tongue.
For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit;” 1 Peter 3:10
Here we see a kind of result before we see the direction on how we are to achieve the end result. We are told to keep our lips from speaking deceitfully and our tongue from evil. That means not gossiping, spreading rumors, thrashing someone with our speech, but speaking with kindness and love. There is so much more to say about this little section but to save time, let’s just say, speak to others how you would like to be spoken to.
In the next verse we see the stark reality of the small possibility of us doing this all the time.
“but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8
It may not be possible for us to tame the tongue fully, but that doesn't mean that we should not work on this minute by minute. This is not a legalistic style of discipline I'm talking about. It's a conscious effort to having a holy speech pattern and way of talking.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29
This is a clear direction from the apostle Paul on the manner in which we should be speaking. He tells us what kind of speech we shouldn't have and then encourages us with the type of conversations we should have. It should seem clear at this point, at least I hope it does, that our speech should be clean and uplifting to all those around us. However, it's not just for them but for us as well. I have often encouraged myself— and yes even brought conviction to myself— while speaking to others.
When someone comes to me with a sin they are dealing with or an issue they may have and ask for advice, often I find myself feeling guilty for not following my own advice more than I do. Often we know what the right or good thing to do is and we don’t do it. Be encouraged, though. Even the apostle Paul felt the same about himself.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15
Just because this is true for all of us doesn't give us a license to sin, rather, a realization that we will not be free from this fight with our flesh, or sinful nature until we are with the Lord. Also, remember that your words do affect others.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
So with this I pray that you think of what you say before you speak and I pray the same for myself. There is an old saying and it says this: “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” We may never completely have control over our speech but may God forbid we ever give up the fight. Bathe yourself in His word and let what is in your heart come out of your mouth and may what be in your heart be His word. Renew yourself in the words of life that are found in Scripture.
When you think about being ready, it might bring to mind thoughts of making plans. If you were going to go on vacation and take a road trip, there is a lot that goes into being ready to take that kind of trip. You have to make sure your vehicle is in good working condition, that you have the funds set aside to make the trip, and know all the places you will be staying if it's more than a day's trip. You plan ahead for these things so that you don’t have any hiccups, as far as you can control. You invest your time on planning the route you will drive and possibly even where you will need to stop for snacks or to eat a meal.
If you can spend all that time in preparation for a road trip, we should realize that planning to share the Gospel with others takes time and preparation as well. Not so much on what to say-- because the Gospel is something we should know by heart because it is how we were saved--- but rather, practicing to share with others on the street, in our workplaces, at the store, or even a park. We never know when the opportunity will arise, but we should be prepared and ready. There are many other worldviews, all be it, wrong ones, other than ours; It helps to have a basic understanding of them as well.
However, the main focus of ours while getting ready should be the study of God and His word, the Bible. He and it are the only solid foundation on which we stand. Knowing Him and His word helps us as we speak with others. You can see what He says on every issues we deal with as humans here on this planet. God has laid up all the wisdom we need in His Word. We should take the time to read it and “renew our minds” with His word. It's like the old adage: “garbage in-garbage out." The same is true for your thoughts and speech and how you will deal with others either throughout your day or witnessing to them. The more you saturate yourself with God's Word, the more it shows in your speech. You will start to notice it in your conversations and in your thought life.
In Scripture, we are all told to be ready. One of the many places were told to be ready is in 2 Timothy 4:1-2.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
You can clearly see that we are told to be ready to “preach the Word” at all times for many reasons. We are also told to do it “with complete patience." If you notice at the beginning of the section we have here, you'll see that God will be the Judge over all and not that we should have a man centered reason for us sharing the Gospel. It should however concern us that others are going to go to hell if they aren't born again before it's too late. Verse 2 speaks of a time coming when people won't listen because they would rather listen to false teachers than God. They will gnash their teeth at the sound doctrine found in the Word of God. When man speaks, it's comforting to the flesh of the unsaved because they want what the worldly man wants -- not God. Let us be ready, brothers and sisters, because the time is coming, and is coming soon, when we will be faced with the same thing about which we are warned. There are already many false teachers out there wooing the world into a slumber on their way to hell. Be ready and share the Gospel.
When we look at Scripture, we see some very clear statements on how we are to live our lives and how we are to handle things that come our way. Many say that the Bible isn't very clear on some things, like anxiety and while that may seem true, we must use Scripture to truly understand what Scripture says. If you see a subject about which you think the Bible isn't clear, keep searching. You must seek the entire council of God and His word before you can make such a statement. People who make statements such as that haven't spent the time to search out the will of God in His Word. It's the lazy way out.
This subject, however, is very clearly attended to by Jesus Himself. It just takes a cursory search to see what God says about anxiety. It's something with which some of us, if not all, deal. Just with this following verse you can see the direction on how to deal with anxiety. I think it's the application that most people aren't getting nowadays.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
If you read what Jesus is saying here, we see He says not to be anxious three times. He also gives examples as to why someone might be anxious and some good reasons not to be anxious. God is in control and is sovereign. It sure is easy to tell someone who is going through tough times, "Just remember that God is sovereign." Really what we should be doing is reminding them to seek after the kingdom of God and His righteousness first.
What are we seeking after in our times of need or stress? What are we thinking about? Is it, how can I control my surroundings? How can I pay this bill? How can I get my kids to listen to me more? Is it something with a relationship? God truly is sovereign. We can't add a day to our life, we can't add a hair to our head. Often, we have this false sense of power and control when we focus on ourselves. I, however, believe, such as scripture and Jesus states here, that when we focus on God and His kingdom and His righteousness, we won't be so self-focused on our problems. This peace that God offers us will become real.
When we focus on Him, when we trust in and on Him, we truly will have peace. That's the real application. Be eternally focused and not so much on what is happening right now. No matter what happens, if you are saved, you have that assurance that God will provide for you. As I have said before, it may not be your wants, but He will provide for your needs. I have often found myself focusing on myself and my worries and had to remind myself that I'm not applying God's direction for me in my own life. Why? Well, my flesh and the world and its troubles take over. It's a fight to stay eternally minded and to remember this simple fact: God is in control; not me and not you. Do we make plans? Yes. Do we plan for the future? Absolutely. But we do so with God and His kingdom in mind.
Let's spur each other on as we deal with the troubles of the world. Pray with one another, rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep and always remember that God has everything under control and we don't need to fret. Our eternity and lives are in the hands of the One Who made it all. Let that comfort you in your times of need and strife. The God of peace can and will comfort you. The Holy Spirit, the One Who is in you, will bring that peace.
As we go about our day through this life after God has shown us grace and saved us from the wrath we deserve, what is our focus?
Is it the worry of our day ahead?
Is it our financial situations?
Is it our marriage?
Is it our children?
What truly is your and my main focus whilst we live this life day by day?
I can imagine this might be something most of us have read about at some time throughout our Christian life. Yet for some, this might be the first time you are reading about this subject. I can most assuredly tell you — I don't have “it all together” in every part of my life. I do, however, know what the Bible says about this subject.
As I did a short study on this subject to prepare to write what I thought would be an easy post, turned out to be a lot more detailed than I thought. In this short study — that anyone can do — I found over 32 scripture references on holy living. One of my Favorite scriptures on this would have to be Psalm 119:9 which says:
“How can a young man keep his ways pure? By guarding it according to your word.”
It may seem to be a simple statement but I assure you, it isn’t.
As we have mentioned before here on this website's posts and in our videos, we stand firmly on the Word of God. It is the standard by which we measure and live our lives. It is the Inspired, living, breathing Word of God given to us for everything we need to know on every subject and situation in our life.
God knew what He was doing when He gave it to us.
The scriptures speak time and time again on the subject of keeping our thought life pure, our speech clean and holy. Let's look at just one of these scriptures.
“Therefore, preparing our minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold bit with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:13-19
Just in this one little section we see that we are told to “prepare our minds for action."
What is this action? It could be simply explained as living your life and while you live your life, “always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). We’re told to be obedient children; obedient to God and His Word.
Jesus said if we loved Him we would obey His commandments. I encourage you to read your Bible and find these commandments. They aren’t hidden from us.
This passage also tells us not to be conformed to the passions of our former ignorance. The life we led before we were born again, wasn’t the one we were meant to live.
Not only did we obey the desires of our flesh, we clung to them as a child does their teddy bear.
We held them close to our hearts. They were dear to us.
That life is gone now, and so should our love for that life as well. We are called to live God-honoring, holy lives in all situations and in all aspects of life.
Will we always succeed at this? No.
Is His grace sufficient? Yes.
This doesn’t give us a license nor an excuse, but it should make us that much more thankful for the salvation and forgiveness that we have in Jesus and because of His sacrifice on our behalf.
I urge you to read your Bible and follow what it says.
Apply it to your life and obey God.
Share the Gospel with everyone at every chance you get.
To live a holy life is to be obedient to God and His Word: not a legalistic lifestyle, but an obedient one.
Not looking down on others for not living that way, but loving them by sharing the Gospel and showing them, as you have been shown, mercy and grace. Forgiving one another and having patience for everyone even when you don’t want to.
As I sit here thinking what had happened these past few days, I keep stewing over the same undeniable fact. God is in complete control, and I derive my peace from Him and that. The verse that comes to mind is from the book of John.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” - John 14:27
This peace as stated here “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:7, will keep us on that solid rock that is Christ Jesus our Lord.
For those of you who don’t know, a storm that hasn’t been seen in a long time, and was ill prepared for, hit Texas. Many people including us were without power for more than 30 hours. It caused freezing conditions in homes causing an immense amount of damage to many properties.
Not to mention the deaths that have happened from the cold, the conditions that have happened from COVID, and the inability of the trucks to deliver food to the grocery stores due to road conditions. I’ve seen first hand the chaos at the stores from the mass of people who are doing emergency buying and taking more than they need. All of this has caused a frenzy all over.
People are fearing for their lives and for the lives of their families. Seeing how the world reacts to this kind of catastrophe, I sit back and see those who have this peace live and react. Either prepared or not, we move with peace and eternity in mind. This is how we should live. This is how we should live.
No matter if it’s a financial storm, a rain storm, an ice storm, a power outage, a death and yes even a war, God had given us this peace as a gift. He has made His children to be Holy (set apart) from the world and to lead as an example -to lead the people of this world to Jesus. He is the Lord of peace. The King above all kings.
In times of sorrow, and in times of struggle. In times of sorrow and pain, He gives us this peace that confounds the wise and the people of this world. Let us not forget that this peace we have, that was given us, can shine like a light to those around us as a beacon of hope to a lost and dying world. Let your light shine and let it shine bright for the Glory or God and the furtherance of the Gospel!
I have been reluctant to write on this subject because it is a difficult one to approach. The continual sin in a Christian seems odd and a highly contested issue. There are even people who claim to never have sinned after they became Christian. So, instead of listening to what people say, we should look at what Scripture says about this issue, or any issue for that matter. If we don’t get our answers from there, we are starting from the wrong point.
When we stop and think about what sin is, an offense to God, we often wonder, why would I or anyone else after being saved do such a thing? Well, it has to do with your 2 different natures you have. Your flesh, or natural part of you, cries out for darkness and sin. You also have the spiritual side, that is made new, when you are born again that seeks out the righteous God honoring things. Being a Christian though is a process. It’s not perfection but direction.
Going off of that idea of the “process”, there are 3 different “fied’s” when it comes to the salvation of a Christian. When you get saved you are (1) justified, where you have been made right in the sight of God, cleansed of penalty you owe God for your sin. Then as you live your life, you are (2) sanctified, a gradual growing in holiness. When you die and stand in front of God you will be (3) Glorified. This final one is when you will finally be free of this vile side of you. Where you can finally be cleansed of that sin nature that we have lived with all of our life.
We look at what scripture says and we see that, 1 John 1:8 says ...
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
This is describing the fact that, we have this sin nature still in us while we are still here on this earth. It’s a battle that takes actual fighting of the spiritual nature. Prayer, renewing your mind, and taking up the shield of faith are all involved. A speaker once said “Two natures beat within my breast. The one is foul, the one is blessed. The one I love, the one I hate. The one I feed will dominate.“. It’s so true if you think about it. What are you feeding? Your flesh? If so, you and many others will notice. The exact opposite is true as well if you are focusing your energy on your spiritual life.
Brothers and sisters, let our focus not be on, making ourselves presentable to man but rather to God. May we love Him with that same love that He loved us with first. Christ is and should be the focus of our life. Remember, if we love Him, we will obey His commandments. Not perfectly but with the heart of submission towards the one we love, and our thankfulness in recognition of the sacrifice He paid to save us.
Patience is a virtue as they say. The definition for virtue is “behavior showing high moral standards” and some synonyms for virtue are goodness, righteousness, and uprightness. Even those non Christians recognize the goodness and importance of patience. You see, good things are attractive to those of this world even if the giver of those things (i.e., God) isn’t.
No matter how enticing and good it seems, and no matter how hard you try to obtain it, admittedly it is difficult to attain. From issues at work, with family, or even other drivers on the road, we show the level of patience we have when and how we react. This is a tough one for a lot of people including me at times. However when I read part of this next verse, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel....” Philippians 1:27a
Living a life honoring to Jesus, isn’t an easy thing especially when the kids are yelling, problems with your employment arise, spousal disagreements are going, and friends or strangers start arguments over things that don’t matter. However, let me pose this question, what is your focus? What is your life devoted to? Is it Christ? If you’re a Christian it should be.
Living a life worthy of the Gospel involves patience with everyone and in every situation. Just stop for a moment and think about how much patience or long suffering the Lord has had with you. Think about how much sin you have been forgiven and remember that this new life that you now live is due to the mercy, grace and love that God has shown you through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. That’s why Paul wrote what he did in Galatians 2:20.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Also, remember that you aren’t earning anything when you “work out your own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) but doing out of loving devotion to the Lord and showing others the same patience He has shown you because He has saved you. I have had the chance to witness out of my patience I have shown to someone that didn’t deserve it. You never know who is watching you from the side. Live that life and pray your way through it. Remember no one is perfect in this but our God.