Thursday, September 26, 2013

Walking In Love - The Golden Rule

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
Matthew 7:12 (NKJV)

When I was growing up I remember hearing people talk about what they called "The Golden Rule".  The Golden Rule is something some people take from what Jesus said in Matthew 7:12 with the idea being that you should treat people the way that you want to be treated.  This is generally a very good concept and Matthew 7:12 also says that this "Golden Rule" is what the Law and the Prophets is all about.  Much of what is known as the 10 Commandments refers to our relationships with others and this is how treating people the right way relates to the Law and the Prophets.

In the New Testament we are told that love, walking in love, fulfills the Law (Romans 13:10) and that the Law is fulfilled in loving your neighbor as yourself (Galatians 5:14).  If we are walking in love then we will treat others exactly the way that we would wish to be treated.  Think about what it would be like if people, and especially Christians who have the love of God within them (Romans 5:5), would treat others the way they wanted to be treated.  Often we want other people to treat us like kings and queens while we treat those same people as servants.

If we looked at situations from the standpoint of what is best for the other person and we then acted accordingly it would be a shocking experience for many people.  If we did everything we possibly could to help someone, considering how much help we would want to have if we were the other person in the situation, we would not only be a great help to those around us but we would be making use of the love of God that is in us.  We need to look for opportunities to put the love of God in us into action and treat others the same way that we would like them to treat us.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't Let An Offense Become A Barrier

"Then He said to the disciples, It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come."
Luke 17:1 (NKJV)

There is one thing you need to get settled right now, some time, in some place, in some way, someone will do something that will offend you.  The thing is not if an offense will come or not but it is just a matter of when and how it will come.  Jesus said it is impossible that no offenses would come so being offended is something we can be sure will happen to us sooner or later.  The important thing is what we do after we are offended.  One key to living a successful life is not found in avoiding problems, and even offenses, but what we do after we have a problem or get offended.

Like everyone else in the world I have had the experience of being offended.  I can recall times when a person did or said something that was uncalled for and even rude.  My initial reaction was to be upset and offended by it but I also realized that I can either move on in my life and get over the difficulty that just came my way or I could allow this offense to become a landmark in my life.  Unfortunately, that is how some people react. I have met people who were offended and that offense became a hindrance in their life that they focused on and never moved forward from and the offense became a barrier that they never seemed to cross over.

So, what can we do if we are offended?  The first thing I would say, and what I have done myself, is to realize that these kinds of things happen; offenses are not a rare occurrence so we should not be shocked and surprised when they come.  Secondly, we must choose to not hold any bitterness towards the person that was involved in the offense.  Holding a grudge, being bitter and unforgiving, will only hurt us and have no impact on the other person or the situation anyway.  We need to learn to let things go and move on in life so that the offenses we experience do not become a barrier in our life that prevents us from moving forward into what God wants us to do.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Following The Witness Of The Holy Spirit

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,"
Romans 8:16 (NKJV)

Being led by the Holy Spirit is a topic that every Christian needs to understand, this is one of the most important things the Holy Spirit will do for us.  Too often we allow what we know in our mind and what we feel and experience to be the guiding forces in our life but God has given us His Spirit to live inside of us and give us direction.  We can always start out by doing what we do know about God's will, this is what we find in the Bible, and we can then look to the witness of the Holy Spirit to go on to further specific steps in the will of God.

Many Christians know that we need to be led by the Holy Spirit, as it says in Romans 8:14, but they do not understand the witness of the Spirit that Paul was talking about in Romans 8:16.  When it says that the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit it simply means that there is an agreement between the Holy Spirit and our spirit.  The words "bears witness with" here literally mean "to testify jointly".  It would be like two people testifying in a courtroom about something they saw, if both people tell the same thing then they are bearing witness with one another, this is the same thing as the witness of the Holy Spirit.

A very simple way to explain it is that when we have the witness of the Holy Spirit we will have peace in our spirit, in our heart; when there is no witness of the Spirit in our heart then there is no peace.  If we were to go into some store and steal something, then in our own spirit we would not have peace because the Holy Spirit would not agree with us stealing something.  If we learn to pay attention to and develop a sensitivity to the witness of the Holy Spirit, which is the main way the Holy Spirit will lead us, we will know what steps to take in the will of God and how to take them.  We need to learn to recognize the witness of the Spirit in our spirit.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Living In Perfect Peace

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."
Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Peace is something that pretty much everyone wants.  No one really desires to live in a constant state of being distressed and unhappy, but sometimes that is the way people live.  Some people think that getting everyone and everything else around them in order is what they need, but what they really need is personal peace.  Many people deal with depression, anxiety, fear, worry, and other similar issues and they have no peace, let alone perfect peace.  All these issues stem from the things we think about; what we think about determines whether or not we will live in peace.

Many people have problems in their thought life, they are often thinking about the wrong kinds of things and this leads to turmoil in their mind and in their life.  When we face a difficult situation we usually start thinking about what we need to do to solve the problem.  What we should do first is to think about what the Bible has to say and see what God's solution to the problem is.  While I am certainly not saying we can't use some good plans and ideas that come from the things we already know and understand, we cannot live a successful life just by figuring everything out on our own.

What can we do to live in peace?  Isaiah 26:3 tells us how to do this; we need to keep our mind focused on God.  We also see that it says in Isaiah that a person is kept in perfect peace because that person trusts in God.  Many times we are getting stressed and worried about some situation because we are not trusting God and focusing on His Word.  We must fill our mind with God's Word; when our thoughts line up with God's thoughts we will live in peace.  When our thoughts are not in agreement with what the Bible has to say we will not have peace.  Put God's Word in first place in your life and focus your thoughts on Him, that is how you can live in perfect peace.