Walk This Way

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1 John 2:6Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – Those who claim to know Jesus as Savior, but who continue to live a rebellious life are likely not saved at all.

My Advice – Continue to follow in His steps, giving evidence that your life is in Him.

When We Think We’ve Arrived

2 Peter 1:5Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you have these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being unproductive. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – When we move from one quality on the list to another, we are not done with the previous quality. We must work to improve each one.

My Advice – Never think that you have arrived in your Christian life. There are always new Christ-like qualities to pursue and already “attained” Christ-like qualities to improve.

Walk This Way

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Leviticus 26:12 – “I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.” (Leviticus 26:12)

My Musings – This verse must be read in context.  There is a condition that precedes it:  “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands.”  There follows an impressive list of blessings capped off by this awesome promise in verse 12 above.  Of course, conditions always beg the question, what if the conditions are violated?  Following the blessings are a long list of consequences, which are often overlooked, because the conditions are often overlooked.  The word “if” should always give us pause.  This is the immediate context.

But the overriding context is that this is a promise to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament.  They were under the Law.  Thankfully, we are under grace and don’t have to worry about obedience (ugh, legalism!).  Or do we?  While it is abundantly clear that “it is by grace that [we] have been saved, through faith . . . not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9),” and many can readily quote this, we tend to overlook (and are unable to quote) verse 10:  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Consider also want James says in the second chapter of his Epistle:

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

This is not a salvation of faith plus works theology, but rather a recognition that true saving faith results in a life that is transformed, and the transformation is evidenced by good works (and avoiding a sinful lifestyle).  A lack of good works (and a habitually sinful lifestyle) is likely evidence of a life that has not been transformed and calls into question whether there really was saving faith in the first place.  Of course, we must be careful here.  While salvation (justification) is a one time event initiated by grace through faith, transformation (sanctification) is a lifelong process.  People mature in the faith at varying paces, with many ups and downs.

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We are all used to people making claims. Politicians make claims about what they will do if they are elected. Advertisers make claims about the benefits of the product they are pitching. Suiters make claims about how much they love the person they are wooing. None of these claims are worth anything unless they are backed up by action. A politician risks not being reelected if they do not follow through with their campaign promises. Inventory will cease to move off store shelves if the product does not live up to the advertiser’s claims. Lovers grow apart when promised affections are not delivered.

So it is with our faith. A faith that transforms is a faith that performs. Faith inaction becomes a faith in action. Doing the least for the Kingdom becomes doing for even the least in the Kingdom. So how are things with you? Is your faith alive or dead? Is your “work produced by faith?” Is your “labor prompted by love?” Is your “endurance inspired by hope?” Are you seeking to do the “good works, which God prepared in advance for [you] to do?”

My Advice – So back to the verse in Leviticus.  If we expect God to “walk” with us, we need to be walking in the same direction.

 

 

Submissive Humility

1 Peter 5:5Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. Clothe yourself in humility toward one another, because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (NIV 1978)

My Musings – We should never be too proud to learn from the age and experience of others. This includes those who may be younger than we are chronologically, but more mature than we are in the faith.

My Advice – You’ve learned much in school, but there is much also to be learned from those who are older and have more experience. Continue to learn now that you have graduated, and even later in life when you are the elder one with more experience.

Equipped for Good

Hebrews 13:20,21May the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing His will. (NIV 1978)

My Musings – God will not call us to something that He has not equipped us to do.

My Advice – God has richly equipped you. Make sure you also use your talents to do His work.

A Worker Approved, Not Ashamed

2 Timothy 2:15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.

My Musings – A great tragedy in life would be to live out our days in such a way that when we faced God on the other side, we felt ashamed because of the things that we had done that we should not have, or the things we did not do that we should have done. We can guard against that by learning the truth of His Word.

My Advice – Live your life in a manner that you do not need to feel ashamed. So as you face various situations in life, ask yourself if you would feel ashamed if God knew you had done this and shouldn’t have or that you did not do it and should have. Understand that it is not “if” He knows, He knows. That should be your best guide in decision-making.

Don’t Miss the Train

1 Timothy 3:7Train yourself to be Godly. (NIV 1978)

My Musing – Godliness is not our natural state. It is our transformed state. While we are immediately justified when we accept Christ, it takes time and training to become Godly and Christ-like.

My Advice – In addition to taking time for your physical shape (exercise) and mental/emotional shape (rest and relaxation), make time for spiritual training (Church, Bible reading, prayer, small groups, fellowship with other believers).