Living for Self or Living for Him

Each day, we have the opportunity to live for ourselves or live for Him.  We make a lifelong decision to serve Him, but we have the opportunity each and every day to renege on that commitment. That is the temptation – the snare – we seek to avoid.  But it is so easy to fall into it.

Before Christ,

  • I was a man…to seek my own dreams in life.
  • I was a husband…to make my life better.
  • I was a father…for what it would do for me.
  • I was a worker…for how I could further my career.

Since Christ,

  • I am a man…to seek the fulfillment of His dreams.
  • I am a husband…to make my wife’s life better.
  • I am a father…for what it will do for my children.
  • I am a worker…to further His purposes in my workplace.

It is so easy to fall back into that “before Christ” way of thinking.  We must form new habits of mind; we must constantly reinforce them.

Before Christ, we lived for ourselves.  Maybe we didn’t even consider ourselves all that selfish.  Still, we were in it for ourselves.  The life lived for Christ must truly be for Him.  The day before us is His day, to do His will, to advance His agenda.

It’s a totally different way of living.  This must be our declaration:  Today, I will be a man, a husband, a father, a worker to serve His interests and not my own.  (Translate to your own circumstances.)

This is what it means to “take up our cross daily and follow Him” (Luke 9:23).  Your old life is under a death sentence anyway; live today for His purposes!  (His commandments, as I wrote yesterday, will help you do that.)

…so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
–  1 Peter 4:1-2

The Difference Between Loving Others and Pleasing Them

There can be a world a difference between loving your neighbors (family members, co-workers, etc.) and pleasing them.

You cannot give everyone everything they want from you.  For one thing, there’s just not enough of you to go around.  And sometimes, to please A you have to deprive B.  In such a case, A is wanting something from you that is not yours to give.  You’d be robbing B to pacify A.  This can be particularly tempting to you if A is an unforgiving person and B is a forgiving person.  Or if A has rewards to give you that B does not.

Therefore, if you are determined to love others you must be equally determined to live with their disapproval.  For many people will subtly convey to you, without saying a word, “If you love me, you will do what I want.”  And if you walk in the fear of man you will bend to their will so as not to incur their displeasure.  But bending to such a will is not love; it is fear.

Jesus of Nazareth certainly displeased a lot of people in His day – enough to get crucified.  Yet He loved them every one.  He was not afraid of people’s displeasure; He was filled with enough love for them that He could endure their displeasure, knowing that sooner or later they would come to their senses.  Granted, with many people, it’s only death that brings them to their senses.  But still, everyone eventually comes around.

God knows your limitations.  Give what is yours to give each day, and seek to serve the best interests of others – not to fulfill all their wishes.  The wishes of people will wear you out, but the commandments of God are a burden that you can bear.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
–  Matthew 11:28-30 [the all caps quoting Jeremiah 6:16]

Now Is the Time to Serve the Lord

The kingdom of God has come; it is in the earth today.  Therefore, we should serve Jesus in His kingdom.

This is not service that we put off until tomorrow.  This is not service that we put off until we feel like it.  This is service we perform in the now.  Now is the only time we can perform service for Him.

Cast away your worry, your anxiety.  Cast away the indulgence of your flesh.  Do His will and do it gladly.  You were made for this!

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

One Day Closer to Heaven

Today you are one day closer to heaven than you were yesterday.  Are you preparing?

Are you living your life knowing that you will have to give an account for the way you lived it?

Yes, everyone is going to heaven – you included – but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to give an account of yourself once you get there.

The best way to prepare for that day is to live this day as righteously as you know how.  (The Lord’s Prayer will help you clarify your thinking on this point.)

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Listening for Instruction

The disciple of Jesus Christ listens for instruction.  What the disciple wants to hear is instruction for righteousness.

The disciple uses his own conscience, but he also listens for something more – for the voice of the Holy Spirit through his conscience.

This is because the disciple doesn’t want to do merely what is right in his own eyes – he wants to do what is right in the eyes of his Lord.

The disciple of Jesus Christ is listening daily for the knowledge of how to do what is right and just.  And his Lord directs him in just that course.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Live in Such a Way That You Honor Him

If you love Jesus and seek His kingdom then you will want to live in a way that honors Him.

This means you will forsake the normal motivations that attend living: the attainment of success, prestige, and wealth.  Instead, you will want seek after those things that bless His heart: love, mercy, and faithfulness.  Sure, a certain amount of success may follow these qualities, but that is not their goal.

The goal is to bring attention and glory to God by the way you live each day of your life.  This is the way of Jesus and His kingdom.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

You Are a Volunteer for the Lord, Aren’t You?

You are a volunteer for the Lord, aren’t you?  Therefore, don’t act as if you are being coerced into following Him.  Be cheerful, for you are following the One you have chosen to love.

God loves a cheerful giver.  Don’t serve Him grudgingly.  Serve Him with joy in your heart.  Who else would you rather be serving?

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast SC067

May the Grace of God Take Root in Your Thinking

Through the grace of God you know of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Embrace Him in your heart.  Think about Him.  Think about loving Him and serving Him.  Think about His commandment that we love Him and each other with all our hearts.  This is how you bring His grace fully into your life.

His grace did you a certain amount of good when you first heard it and embraced it.  The most good it can do you, however, is when it has been absorbed into your mental habits.  Then His grace will be guiding your thoughts and decisions.

Some people receive the grace of God as if it were a package of seeds that they carry around in their pockets.  Such seeds will never grow anything.  Only when the ideas of God are planted in your thinking do they bring forth the fruit that God wants you to have.

The Lord Jesus Himself is grace.  Let His lordship take deep root in your thought processes.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast SC043

The Purpose of God’s Grace Is to Enable Us To Do His Will

Grace is God’s provision for us.  He provides us grace, not that we might seek our own desires, but that we might seek His will.

Those who seek to use God’s grace for their own purposes will lose it.  Those who use God’s grace to do His will receive more abundant grace.

“To him who has [grace], shall more be given; but to him who does not use properly [the grace] he has, even what he has shall be taken from him.”

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Let Go of a Part-Time Lord That You May Gain a Full-Time Lord

Jesus did not die on the cross to become a part-time Lord.  If your idea is to go to church once or twice a week as the prime way you serve Him, He’s not interested.

So many people serve a part-time God.  That is, they serve a God whom they think about some of the time and obey some of the time.  That’s not at all what lordship means.  It’s not what the title “Lord” implies.

Let go of all your notions about serving God occasionally.  You’ll either serve Him all day every day, or He’ll soon become a part-time exercise for you – like He is for so many others.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.