Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bringing Glory to God

"And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me." - Galatians 1:22-24

The Apostle Paul had an amazing conversion experience. The Lord Jesus appeared to Paul (who was named Saul at the time) on the road to Damascus in a bring light and challenged what Paul was doing in persecuting and imprisoning Christians. You see, Paul thought that he was doing God's work. As a Jew, he was zealous for following the law and for protecting his religion. But the Lord showed up and showed Paul that he was fighting against the work that God was doing through Jesus. You'll remember that Paul was then blinded until he found a man named Ananias who would help him. After that Paul began to preach the gospel and to defend what he once sought to destroy.

Paul's is truly an amazing conversion experience. Chances are that you didn't come to Christ after being blinded and spoken to by a voice from heaven. And chances are that when you came to Christ the world didn't stop and look in amazement when they first noticed you were going to church. No, probably very few people even knew that you had placed your trust in Christ's death and resurrection as satisfactory payment for your sins and received God's justification. Even though your conversion to Christ probably went unnoticed by the world, when you, as a Christian, faithfully proclaim the message of salvation in Jesus Christ, others will glorify God because of you. Others will see the difference between who you once were and who you have become--who you are becoming in Christ.

The challenge for us today is to live faithfully to what God has called us to. As Christians, God has called us to a life that proclaims the good news of salvation by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ. That is the purpose. No matter the context, as you fulfill this purpose, you will bring glory and praise to God. Others will glorify God because of you. Make it your goal, not to make a name for yourself, but to make a name for the Lord. Let others see how great a salvation you have in Jesus.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Be An Example

"Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us." -Titus 2:7-8
Being an example is a daunting, yet necessary task. The Lord wants to put on display what He is doing in your life, namely changing you into a person that shows true godliness of character. He does this not so that you will receive the accolades of men, but so that you can have influence on the lives of those around you. Paul tells Titus here to model good works--godliness--in all respects. In every aspect of life Titus was to show himself to be a model Christian. He was to teach with integrity, dignity, and soundness of speech. Wouldn't it be great if every Christian lived with this kind of resolve? Your neighbors would be well-served if you lived with consistency of character, respect and respectfulness of others, and if you use the sort of speech that shows truth and grace.
Your example is a powerful thing. It has the power to lift someone up. As others look to you (and they are looking), you can encourage them and strengthen them in the Lord. Your example has the power to teach truth. Your life puts on display the measure of truth that you understand from God's Word. Whether you understand little or much of the Bible, your life will show it. Either you will display the godliness that the Lord desires, or you will display the sinfulness of the flesh that comes naturally and easily to you. Your example has the power to silence an opponent and prove accusations wrong. Opponents will come. Accusations will be thrown at you. Your way of life will either confirm the accusations or it will extinguish them. Seek to live showing yourself to be a model of good works, integrity, dignity, and soundness of speech.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Past, Present, and Future

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:" -Colossians 1:21-22
Remember your past. There was a time when you were God's enemy. There was a time when you were estranged from the life of God. But then there was a change. By the blood of Christ's cross, your sin debt was paid and by faith you received cleansing, the forgiveness of sins, and have now been reconciled to God.
Call to mind the present. God is conforming you to the image of His dear Son, that you may be like Him in your thoughts, words, and actions. Every task you face, every trial that is patiently endured, every struggle, and every victory is being used to further this work.
Now look to your future. One day Christ will present you to the Father in heaven perfectly holy, perfectly blameless, and perfectly unreproveable in His sight--no more accusations, no more sin, no more regrets, no more pain.
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow