Thursday, August 18, 2011
Writers in the bible have often talked about our relationships with God as a walk, race or conversation. In the army we used to say it was a way of life more than a job. When you are trained and expected to perform to a certain degree, you become more involved than just merely doing what your paycheck or job description says you are to perform. Working late into the night, weekends, putting the unfinished work ahead of personal priorities is not out of the ordinary. When it comes to knowing how to act in unclear or unforeseen circumstances, choices are crystal clear. Only because when committed to something, we act as we are taught.
We had another saying in the Army and that is train as you fight. Never ever forget why you are here. When it rains, or is too hot, or you would rather do something more pleasurable is no excuse to stop the momentum. We knew that the enemy never rests and he will exploit our weaknesses during the tough times. As Paul had taught before, we are in a spiritual warfare. As he says here, we are to maintain our momentum regardless of being on a mission or carrying out our daily lives. WE are expected to be prepared at all times, not just when the spotlight is shining on us.
It is important to understand what our beliefs are and our doctrine. Not only as Christians, but as a body of believers. We have a constitution that is important for everyone to know. Not everyone can vote, not everyone can be a deacon; you need to know what the qualifications are. We take this doctrine and apply it as a soldier does so that in all situations, our choices are clear. Not everyday is going to be a spiritual battle, but we need to be at our best at all times, always alert.
We must have a thankful attitude. God has forgiven us and provided a savior. NO matter what, we should be thankful in all of our circumstances. Hard to do, but is expected. Once we focus on God’s plan and not our own desires, it is easier to be thankful. That’s self-sacrifice that Paul talks about. Turning the TV off to really talk to someone who needs you, walking out of a bad movie, staying late after church to help clean up, be a prayer partner instead of going to bed early, not to mention the ministry needs in your own families.
Col. 2: 8-15
Have you ever been in a conversation and you felt yourself persuaded to listen to things that you knew were not spiritually sound? Did you ever get taken away by someone’s smooth words and rhythmic cadence of their voice? These were times that you were to give reason for your hope and do so joyfully, but you just didn’t want to break the peace. Many Christians as in Paul’s days are fooled by humanistic thinking. How about this one? "Jerry Falwell is just rocking the boat too much." I heard a fellow Christian say. "He is not making a good example of how a Christian should be acting." He quotes scripture for crying out loud.
The whole reason to study scripture and doctrine is so that you will know the truth in ALL situations. This will be less of an opportunity to be seduced into an unholy belief. The doctrine of Christ holds it all together. He provides the anchor of our beliefs, values, ethics if you will just let him. Dr. John Maxwell wrote a book called “No such thing as business Ethics.” How can there be if we are forged in righteousness.
The self sacrifice comes in again with circumcision of the Messiah. We trust in Christ who has provided ultimate forgiveness. I can see the devil saying, "God, your plan won’t work. Jeff is going to just hurt you again and again and again."
Under Grace, Jesus stands up and says “He is mine, I paid the price and he accepted my forgiveness. You have to forgive him, Father”. He has taken the words that describe our most disgusting offenses and erased them.
True Story (I know, I saw it on "The Apprentice" A man was riding in his Limo and it broke down. A couple came by and offered assistance. The man paid off their mortgage. He took their debt and erased it, took responsibility of it and lifted their burden. They do not have to worry about it again.
Isn't it great to know that you have the same opportunity. By accepting Christ, your debt is paid in full.