On Being a Blessing to Believers

Psalms 69:6   (NLT)   Don’t let those who trust in you be ashamed because of me, O Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Don’t let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel.

The way we live as believers affects our spiritual family. We cause others to esteem them highly or to look down on them.  Our attitudes, conduct, character, words, principles, and actions go farther and wider, and affect more people than we realize. The last thing we want to do is to give our Lord’s name and our fellow believers a bad rap.

Psalm 69.6 - Be a Blessing to BelieversWhen God calls us to be holy, it is not a figure of speech; He is serious about it; He means business. It is not a suggestion; it is not a joke. Him being holy and perfect is literally true. That’s His basis in calling us to be holy as well. “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48 NLT); “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:16)—that’s what God’s Word says. I would say His call for us to be holy is literally true as well. “…work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). That’s a huge implication on us personally, but we realize: it far transcends us.

God doesn’t want us to have even a tinge of wickedness in our hearts. He knows it spreads and it spreads rapidly. It gets bigger; it becomes deadlier; and it destroys more people. We must seriously consider this. We don’t take this lightly. We love God so much; we don’t want to cause others to dishonor Him. We love each other so much; we don’t want to cause others to slander them. We don’t want to cause them any humiliation or harm. We bring light, not darkness; we shine brightly so that God will be glorified. We don’t want to pull our brothers and sisters down to embarrassment; we want to help them soar higher.

We don’t deny our imperfection; we still sin—that’s an obvious fact. But we also don’t tweak God’s Word to accommodate that. This is not a case of either-or; it’s both. Let’s settle that. Now, let’s live in a way that’s a blessing to the Lord and His family.

Fear Not! Speak Out!

Acts 18:9   (NLT)   One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent!

The Lord wants His people to be fearless; He wants us to be bold. He has commissioned us to proclaim the glorious message of salvation to the entire world. He does not want us to be intimidated into silence. The message is too important not to share. The need is too big not to be answered. God loves us so much and cares for us so much to leave us in the path of destruction and sure damnation.

There are reasons for fear: persecutions are real; threats are real—they can even be life threatening. But none of these have evaded God’s attention. Our loving heavenly Father is fully aware of all the challenges before us. He is fully aware that our journey as believers won’t be a walk in the park. That’s why He has provided everything to effectively accomplish our mission.

First, He changed us from the inside. He has given us the experience of what he wants us to share. He does not want us to preach the Good News of Salvation hypocritically; He wants us to live what we preach.  We are to preach salvation so He saved us first. Then He gave us His Spirit—not spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and sound mind. Those unseen changes radiates to the seen. We shine with the light of God through the fruit of good works, giving credence to the message we share, demonstrating God’s glory to others.

God empowers us to the detail—from the spiritual to the physical, from the invisible to the visible. He gave us his blood and His Spirit. He gave us His light. He has prepared divine connections—people who will be instrumental for us to faithfully, fearlessly and boldly proclaim the Gospel. His provision will come from many different angles, many different faces, many different places, even from very unexpected sources. They will come in different forms, people with different personalities, different status in society, of varying levels of maturity.

If needed, our precious Lord Jesus won’t have any problem appearing personally to strengthen us, to embolden us, to encourage and to comfort us. Now, we go without fear; that’s why we won’t be silenced; that’s why more people are saved.

 

Rebuking the Devil

Luke 4:36   (NLT)   Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!”

There were people who noticed Jesus and had the observation, assessment, and statement about Him. Jesus’ Words possessed very noticeable authority that evil spirits obeyed the commands. Although evil spirits are against Jesus, they’re still under His absolute control.

People notice; not everybody does, but others do. They are open enough to see the reality of our precious Lord, His work, and yes, us, His people. Our relationship with Jesus is obvious. It translates to our lifestyles—the purity of our actions, and the authority of our words. We’re not intimidated; we don’t fear—not even them. We submit ourselves to God, we resist the devil, and the devil flees.

Our uniqueness as believers is beautiful. People who awaken to this reality can’t help but see the many blessings we have. Yes, we are humble: we’re meek, but this doesn’t mean we’re weak and powerless. The Holy Spirit resides in us. That’s the power able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all anyone is able to ask, think, or imagine. We don’t retaliate when insulted, but the words we speak—the oracles of God flowing from our mouths have authority to command a mountain to be uprooted and cast into the sea, to order the devil to get out and go, and they don’t have any recourse but to do what we say.

Fear and Justice

Isaiah 11:3   (KJV)   3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

This passage is commonly interpreted as a prophecy about the Lord Jesus. There are at least two things we can observe about His ways: He doesn’t struggle understanding the Isaiah 11.3 - Fear and Justiceconcept of fearing the LORD, and He judges not by outward appearances or factors alone.

It’s part of our growth into Christlikeness to fear the Lord. Those of us who understand His power and authority, His holiness, His justice and righteousness don’t find it difficult to comprehend why we need to fear Him.

Another Christlike attitude is being just and fair. And we do this by not being swayed by mere appearances. Some people are very good at wearing masks and telling lies. Yes, appearances can help, but there are other factors involved: things that aren’t obvious to our natural senses.

We continue living and growing in humble surrender before our heavenly Father Who is also God Almighty. It’s also a pleasure for us to continue living and growing in wisdom and discernment. It’s godly to be respectful, right, and fair.

Worship and Sacrifice

2 Chronicles 11:16   (KJV)   16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.

God is the ultimate priority of true worshipers. There are no double thoughts about pulling ourselves from one place and planting ourselves to another if that’s what God wants us to do. Our hearts are set on seeking and following the LORD, and if doing so The Biblecalls for sacrificing of anything here on earth we find extremely valuable, we joyfully do so.

We don’t deny that there are those who profess to be followers of our Lord yet relegate God to one day a week worship. Their priority is their profession, or position, or recognition, or a person. Most of their precious resources are spent in earthly things instead of our Lord’s Kingdom. True worship of God is a continuing lifestyle. It’s not sporadic; it’s not selective; it’s not catered to our comfort, or our benefit, although worshipers are benefited much.

Life of worship willingly denies self, daily takes up cross, and follows the footsteps of our Lord. What seems very hard in other people’s perception is a joy to us. Our joy is found in being in God’s will. If this necessitates forsaking everything else, so be it. We ascribe to God the highest worth, that’s why He’s the One we worship. That’s settled in our hearts and mind. Everything else comes far second. And for Him, we gladly do anything.

Lambs Among Wolves

 Luke 10:3   (KJV)   3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

We are to go share and spread the Good News of salvation to the lost, and to make disciples of all those who believe. Each has a calling; each has a race to run; each has responsibility. But we all are sent to the same hostile world. We are sent out as lambs luke-10-3-lambs-among-wolvesamong wolves. There’s no mandate to change our nature; we’re not called to be like wolves. Our difference will be obvious; it’s natural for wolves to try to hunt, attack, and devour us, but we are to stay our course.

Hostility is real; persecution is real, but God’s presence is more real. He promises to deliver us all the time. He may deliver us from them; He may deliver us through them, but He will deliver us. Others may question this. Martyrs abound. Where is God’s deliverance in this? These are legitimate questions, especially when asked from a perspective void of the eternal. Praise God for His light that shines in our understanding. We see better; we see clearer; we see more.

We’re aware of the supernatural and the eternal. This helps navigate through the world of the wolves better. We reach out to them without becoming like them. Many times they mistreat us. I remember a Middle Eastern sister in the Lord who was asked by some fanatical religious zealots to vacate their house at 12 midnight that same day, or they will be killed. They left everything they worked so hard for. That in itself was difficult, but even their journey of leaving their home became a dangerous escape attempt. They had to take unfamiliar paths because death also waited along the main thoroughfares. She shook as she shared the experience.

Some of us aren’t spared. That doesn’t spell failure on the part of God. He never fails. Death for us in the grand scheme of things isn’t tragic; it isn’t the end; it’s a passageway ushering us into an indescribable, incomparable, most blissful experience ever—right in the presence of our Father—He Who loves us most, He who we love most. That’s why although we fully appreciate God’s earthly blessings; we’re not attached to them; we understand that our real citizenship is dual: temporal and eternal, and our eternal home far outweighs what we now have.

So we go—lambs among wolves, lovingly, carefully, fearlessly, faithfully, empowered by God, changing this world, while longingly waiting for the next.

 

Dead to the Law

galatians-2-19-dead-to-the-law

Galatians 2:19   (KJV)   19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

This is so amazing! God’s wisdom really is inscrutable. Who would and could ever come up with such a plan as His? God used the Law as a spiritual mirror showing us our spirit’s true visage and condition. Through the Law, we see our flaws. The best of us fall short of God’s glorious standard. It doesn’t matter how much we try, we imperfect beings have imperfections; some of them are sinful. Our best intentions don’t always translate to best actions.

God is absolutely, unquestionably, incomparably holy, wise, loving, and just. He brought about the greatest successful rescue attempt ever made for the salvation of humanity. His Son willingly came, lived perfectly—in full obedience to all the requirements of the law for 33 years or so, succeeding where we fail; sacrificed His life to pay for all our sins, and rose again victoriously—conquering the grave, hell, and death.

Looking at the reality of the law and confronting our reality in it leads us to a desperate and humble dependence in our Savior. The law is no longer our path to salvation; it’s our precious Lord Jesus—by His grace and through full yieldedness, surrender, grip, trust, and dependence in Him. So yes, we’re dead to the law—no longer trying to meet all its requirements—not meaning that we now live a wild life of debauchery. No, we are not lawless; lawlessness and obedience don’t mix. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we now live simply, faithfully, joyfully, diligently, and restfully for God.