Colossians 3:12 (KJV) 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering
We’re different—unique in so many ways. We’re part of God’s elect; not everyone’s a part. We’re holy—made holy that is; not everyone is. Being made different; we’re also called to be different—in our thoughts, character, and in our actions.
We’ve received abundant mercy; we are merciful—compassionate; freely we have received, we freely give. People speak of love very easily; it’s sad that they also treat it very casually. There’s a lot of lip-service, but not a lot of reality. We’re kind; we need kindness more than ever. Others say we live in a cruel world; rudeness seems to be the trend. It’s easy to understand why there are so many people living in deep depression. They need help; they need hope; they need to see that not everyone’s out to get them; not everyone is a competition or an enemy; not everyone wants to put them down.
We are gratefully humble; we don’t need people’s approval or praise; we’re not insecure because we find our significance and worth in our Lord Jesus; we don’t find it necessary to jockey for position because position isn’t what makes us important. It’s a joy for us to consider others better than ourselves. We’re meek; we understand that people need tender, gentle, loving care. We’re surrounded by fragile—sensitive people; many are them are already broken. We can’t change everyone, but we can change ourselves—for the better—continuously—increasingly better. And through us, the world is and can still be a better place. It may take a long time for us to see the difference; it’s okay, we have enough patience for that, and we’re still continually growing in it. We’re different—set apart for God’s specific purpose; we love it.
2 Chronicles 11:16 (KJV) 16And 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 calls 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.
Romans 14:15 (NIV) 15If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
We’re aware that fellow believers can still be distressed. And the cause of each other’s distress can be each other. To be such a cause equates to being unloving in our actions. The mandate is clear: our freedom in Jesus ought to not cause anyone to be distressed or destroyed. Our souls are way more precious than any food, drink, or anything this world has to offer.
Our Lord Jesus has set us free, and whoever He sets free is truly free. It is for freedom itself that He set us free; that speaks of the great value of freedom. But there’s something of greater worth than that: souls. God loves each of us tremendously, that explains the rationality of our precious Lord Jesus willingly leaving the glories of heaven to seek and to save the lost by sacrificing His life as a ransom payment for us.
We as His children understand His indescribable love—not totally—but enough to know that it’s great beyond measure. Having this set in our hearts and minds, we’re willing to sacrifice our freedom to protect others, especially our spiritual family. Sure, everything is permissible for us, but we understand that not everything is beneficial. Sure, we’re free to do anything, but we’re aware that there are things that can be destructive instead of constructive; there are things that can get us enslaved or addicted, there are things that can cause others to stumble, and there are things that just plainly don’t glorify God. Having the heart of God for His children, we willingly submit our liberty to love if a choice has to be made.
1 Thessalonians 4:1 (KJV) 4Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
It’s easy to understand our brothers and sisters who teach us and assure us that God loves us so much and is already pleased with us just as we are. Some believe this in the light of our relationship with our precious Lord Jesus, i.e., the Father loves His Son and is perfectly pleased with Him, and because we’re in Jesus, He’s also pleased with us. Others take it a little farther, i.e., with or without Jesus, He already loves us and is already pleased with us.
What’s my humble take? I believe God’s love for us is from everlasting to everlasting—this is even before our saving relationship with our precious Lord Jesus. It was because of His love that Jesus willingly came to save us and reconcile us to our heavenly Father. His pleasure is different. He has always loved us, but He’s not always pleased with us. I believe that if God is pleased with us in a constant and an unchanging way, meaning, He always loves us, it is only because of His pleasure in His Son.
Scriptures like the one above encourages us as His people to walk in a manner that pleases God. In fact, even when we already do, we’re encouraged to keep growing in it—to do so even more. This has to do with our practical daily living or walk with and in God. This makes it very clear that it’s possible, even for us believers, to displease God. In Christ, He’s always pleased with us; in our walk, we restfully and diligently strive to please Him. This isn’t a burden; as I’ve repeatedly stated: as children of God, we find our greatest pleasure in pleasing our Father.
Galatians 4:5 (KJV) 5To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
What a blessing! What a change! I don’t know if many of us understand the gravity or importance of this truth. We were slaves; now were children. We were under the law, but our Lord Jesus, in His perfect timing, came, and bought our freedom. We’re not just pretend children; we are adopted—real children. It’s true, not a lot of people realize or admit that we were slaves—slaves to the law, to sin, to the enemy’s whims.
It’s not easy for some to admit any kind of bondage; it’s either embarrassing or discouraging. But it’s okay; those still in bondage can be free; those of us in Jesus are now free. And the great thing about it is that we’re not just freed slaves; we are now God’s children. Some may ask: “Aren’t we all God’s children?” Yes and no. Yes, we’re all God’s children in the sense that God is the Father of creation. We’re all children by virtue of creation. And no, we’re not all God’s children in the sense that only those who place their absolute dependence on Jesus as their Savior, and surrender their lives to Him as Lord are God’s spiritual children.
We as His spiritual children are totally and humbly grateful for this wonderful honor and privilege. Oh, to be able to praise God and worship Him in His greatness, majesty, and splendor, and then to address Him as “Dad,”—how comforting; how inspiring; how encouraging.
Exodus 8:23 (KJV) 23And I will put a division between my people and thy people: to morrow shall this sign be.
There are similarities and differences in the experiences of God’s people and the world. God determines which is which. The world isn’t disqualified from all of God’s blessings and goodness; God’s people aren’t exempt from tragedies. God makes the sun shine on both; He makes it rain on both. But there is a time when in God’s wisdom, He decides to create a distinction between those who are His own, and those who fight against Him.
Those are so many things believers do that unbelievers do; there are even miracles they can imitate; demonic forces are supernatural beings capable of extra-ordinary feats. But they can only go so far; they have limitations; our God alone is omnipotent. But yes, there’s suffering in the world, and Christians aren’t exempt from suffering. In fact, there are additional sufferings unique to believers; we do get persecuted for our faith.
God has sovereign plans for His people that will be accomplished no matter what. God has sovereign plans for the wicked that will be accomplished no matter what. The godly and the wicked may share the same blessings and experiences here and there, but there’s surely a demarcation line in this. God has a different destiny for the godly, and a different destiny for the ungodly. We’re excitedly waiting for our ultimate “tomorrow” when the difference will be total and final.
Luke 12:32 (KJV) 32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Our precious Lord Jesus commands His flock—His children, not to fear anyone but God. One of the most important assurances He gives us is our heavenly Dad’s desire to give us His kingdom—whatever that may exactly mean. But that says a lot. Simply though, He’s saying we don’t have to fear anything because there’s no reason to. The cause may be material; it may be ideological; it may be social; His assurance is, He’s got us completely and safely covered.
Sure, there are things we don’t know about. We’re not sure how all details of our lives are going to play out, but God definitely guides us in areas where the choice is non-negotiable. There are expert schemers, and deceivers; some people in power may take advantage of us, but God is our vindicator; He’s in control of everything. Some people may succeed in hiding their insidious intents, but God has a way of eventually having their pernicious secrets whispered only behind the closed doors of their hearts to be shouted from the mountaintops for all to hear.
Some of us are threatened with death, but even the worst murderer can only touch our bodies; our God can do worse, and even throw the wicked to hell. Some of us may be threatened with lack, but we’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging for bread. He loves us so much that He makes the resources—even the power and authority of His Kingdom, available to us. We will be persecuted; we suffer the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms, but through it all, we worry not; we fear not; we live in the eternal, inexhaustible sphere. That’s where we wisely invest our treasures in; there’s where our hearts truly are. Our Dad is pleased for now to give us a foretaste of its reality; and even just this glimpse, its power and riches already blow our minds. We can only wonder about its wonders when it comes in the fullness of its power and glory.