Significance

Right now I am 1 person among 7,175,991,120 people. What significance do I have? My life is like a vapor, a breath. Most likely only a few hundred of those billions of people will ever even know who I am. Far fewer than that will ever know me deeply. The influence I have today is like a drop in the ocean compared to the grand scheme of things. Who am I?

Who I am is a part of something. I am a member of a body. Knowing this sets me free from trying to be that something on my own and trying to operate solo. The stress and pride and constant work that it takes to be a one-man show is off my back. I am someone who is dependent. I am someone who is created. I am someone who is loved. I am someone who is allowed to mess up because I am not the entirety of the world. If I mess up everything does not fail. There will be other hands, stronger hands, to lift me when I fall. My significance is found in the community that loves me, the Father that created me, the Savior who poured Himself out for me.

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Why Am I Really Doing This?

“1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

“5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

“12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” – Galatians 6:1-15

Do you want to know a question that will always draw you into God’s presence? Ask yourself this at any given moment, “Why I am really doing this?” You might be amazed at how many times you catch yourself living out of your old life instead of walking in the new life Jesus has made available for you. If you’re doing something you know is wrong and your only reason for wanting to stop it is because you don’t want to be guilty, you’re not living the new life. You see, the new life in Christ is about pleasing God.

I was struggling with lust really bad last week. I was on a total sin binge. (I know that you know you know exactly what I’m talking about.) I didn’t want to be holy. I just wanted to be not guilty. That’s why I couldn’t get the thoughts and dirty fantasies out of my head. I was concerned with what a girl would think if she could read my mind  more so than I was with God who actually was reading my mind. I was worried about what I was dragging my own personal integrity through more so than I was about what I was dragging Jesus’ name through with every sinful thought. I sound more like a slave to self than I do a servant of God, don’t I?

Here’s the kicker. I woke up one morning with those same things knocking on my mind’s door and finally a really, truly holy thought popped into my mind. “God, I want to please You.” Here’s the thing about being religious. It ruins the fun of sin. As a religious person, doing the wrong thing is bitter to you even though it feels good in the moment. What pleases you is not being wrong. It’s pleasing to feel like you made it – like you’re not the broken person anymore. This isn’t what pleases someone who really loves Jesus. What pleases them is pleasing Him. It has absolutely nothing to do with them and absolutely everything to do with Him! This is why I mentioned the “why?” question earlier. The “why?” behind everything that you do is the litmus test of your spirit.

How’s your spirit?

Becoming

If I am lost without Christ then I risk living a lost life every day. If I can do nothing apart from Christ then I risk doing nothing with my life every day. If Christ is the light and the truth then I risk living in darkness – living a lie – every day. Every day that I don’t choose to live in connection with Christ is another day that I throw it all away. Following Jesus is a daily thing. It’s a choice we face over and over again.

Jesus hasn’t stopped laboring for His people. His work isn’t over. He’s trying to sanctify us every day. It’s a process. We live in a universe that testifies to the fact that the most wonderful things take time to become what they are meant to be. Trees take years to get from saplings to giants. An infant takes nine months to get from initial conception to birth! It takes us six days to get around to our next Sabbath. How much greater a process must it be for us to get from broken people to Christlike saints! In all of these very different things, there is something constantly happening – the act of becoming.

Right now – in this very moment – what are you becoming?

Trust the Gospel

I have devoted much of my time to reading my Bible and dwelling on those passages throughout each day. I have been doing this consistently (day-by-day) for about a year. I have literally treated it like bread, consuming it each day as if my life depended on it. But what in the world do I do when I meet someone who needs Jesus and rejects God’s Word as something they can trust? How can I share the Gospel with them if they don’t trust the pages it’s written on? What do I do when I finally get what’s in there but they won’t let me take it out and show it to them?

There’s only one thing I can do. I have to trust the Gospel. I  have to take God at His Word. You see, His Word guarantees that even though Jesus isn’t walking right here in the flesh with us, He has sent His followers a Helper to be with them on their journey of faith. Before I chose to follow Christ, the Holy Spirit was there with me. He’s the one who led me to that decision in the first place! Now He resides within me and is at work all around me. He knows the thoughts of my heavenly Father and He reveals those things to me when I am quiet enough to listen. People that need to hear the Gospel may reject the pages it is written on, but there is always a chance that they won’t reject the Holy Spirit. It the power of the Spirit that unlocks the words of God and reveals the Truth [Jesus Christ] to people. This is why it is so important that we “walk by the Spirit” [Galatians 5:16]. To quote Paul from Galatians 5:25, ” If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” God is using us. We are not using God. We have got to get that straight! So when we encounter people who need Christ, we must not take the working of the Holy Spirit out of the equation. Instead, we ought to keep up with the Spirit! We do not “wield” the Holy Spirit. We surrender to His power, letting Him “wield” us. If He is opening the door for us, He will be faithful to empower us for whatever lies in that room.

Each of us is a temple of God – a mobile stronghold of the kingdom. We are not ordinary people anymore. We have been made new – born of the Spirit. Everything we need to live by the Spirit is found in God’s Word and in the working of the Spirit within us. God’s Word is no longer simply words on a page for us who are in Christ. It is the power of God. If someone rejects the Bible, don’t call it quits. If they don’t reject you, then they have not completely cut themselves off from the Gospel. It’s in your DNA now. Keep praying for them and listening to the Spirit. Keep your eyes on Christ. Remember what He has done and will do! Trust the Gospel even when the people you reach out to refuse it.

Blessed are the Meek

“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” – Jesus (Matthew 5:5)

Where do we see the meekness of Christ the most? The softest, most submitted moments of Christ are when He’s alone with His father. The meek that are blessed by God are the ones who are meek before Him. They come to God in reverence more so than familiarity.

Much of what I know about God stems from His promises. But there is so much more about Him that I can only know from His presence. Without spending time in His presence, I find myself abusing His promises. If I want His promises without His presence then I don’t really love Him and I just want to use Him. If I am meek then there is nothing in me that would deny my Father obedience to His will. Not only would I follow Him obediently – I would long for a deeper relationship with Him. If I am meek then I am able to recognize my need for total dependency on my Father. Meekness is the soft soil that the Gospel thrives in and having the Gospel thriving in our hearts is one of the greatest blessings we have in Christ!

Monsters and Victory.

The effects of sin are subdued by the blood of Christ but the purpose of sin remains the same – to destroy us and separate us from our loving Father. Just because we have been given the means to properly handle sin does not mean we should play with it. We have been given authority over a monster. You don’t put monsters on leashes. You put them in dungeons.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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 8:37-39

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
– 1 John 5:3-5

Overcoming the world should not just be an inspiring idea. It should be a daily routine for us. For disciples of Christ victory comes with the territory.  We can spend all day inviting the Spirit to move in our lives, but every time we swing open the back door and invite sin into our lives we are reversing our role. Every stronghold for sin is one less stronghold for the Spirit. Those evil strongholds can be broken and the Lord is willing and ready to tear them down.

Motivated to Serve

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” – John 13:3-5

Every word is important. John sheds special insight into why Jesus was able to serve His disciples to such an outrageous degree. The origin of Jesus and His final destination were key motivators in serving others. What worth would Christ have really had if He wasn’t truly sent by God, born of God, and heading back to His place at the right hand of God? The power would not have been in Him. The hope would not have been solid and unwavering. The future would have been bleak and empty. Without those things all motivation slips away like a fistful of water.

The same goes for us. What worth do we have if we have not been sent out by Christ, born of the Holy Spirit, and prepared for eternity with God after our death? These should be three of our greatest motivations to serve others. Maybe you have not been serving others like Christ because you have not been holding on to such great faith and hope! If not, take hold of it, my dear brothers and sisters. The Gospel is real and the promises are true.