Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rooted And Built Up In Him

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving."
Colossians 2:6, 7 (NKJV)

The most important part of any plant is the root, without a good root system a plant will die.  You can pull the leaves off of a plant but if the root is strong the plant will still survive.  Roots absorb water and minerals from the soil to help the plant grow, roots give plants stability, and roots even store extra nutrients for future use by the plant.  Most of the time you don't see the roots of a plant but if the root is not healthy that will eventually be seen on the visible part of the plant.  A plant will not live very long if it is separated from its roots, everything a plant does is connected to its roots.

In Colossians 2 Paul talks about being rooted and built up in Jesus.  We have already received Jesus and now our walk, our life in Him, is connected to our roots in Him.  We know that our life is hidden in Christ and that He is our life (Colossians 3:3, 4) and that the life we now live we live by faith in Him (Galatians 2:20).  A strong, successful Christian life is one that has a strong connection to its roots.  Our life will never develop and grow the way it should if we do not take advantage of the life that comes from our roots in God.  Everything we do depends on our being rooted in God through Jesus Christ.

How do we develop a strong spiritual root system?  It all starts with maintaining our connection to God in a daily, living relationship with Him.  We need to focus on drawing our life, strength, and stability from God though His Word and through spending time with Him in prayer; there is no substitute for this.  We can be busy for God, we can do all the right things, we can say all the right words, but if our relationship with God is not strong it will show up in our life.  First of all, no matter what is happening in life, maintain a strong root system in God and then you can do great things for God.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Location Of Your Treasure Shows The Location Of Your Heart

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:21 (NKJV)

Everyone has a treasure of some kind.  While they probably do not have an actual treasure chest or a locked box with money, jewels, or some other valuable thing inside there is something that they treasure.  The first and most obvious treasure someone could have would be money, jewels, or something else of significant financial worth.  There are many things that people value and treasure, many different things that people put their time and effort into because they consider those things to have great value.  The question is if what we value really is valuable.

Jesus said in Matthew 6 that our heart will be in the place where our treasure is.  You could turn this around to say it another way, you will value and invest in what your heart is connected to.  What we put our time, effort, and financial resources into shows what we believe in and care about, it shows where our heart is.  If we really believe in something we will commit to it.  Jesus recommended that we make eternal investments, that we put our time, effort, and financial resources into things that have eternal value.

Are the things we use our time for, put our effort into, and spend our money on things that are of eternal value or just a source of temporary pleasure?  Of course God wants us to enjoy our life, to have our financial needs met, and to be able to have leisure time to spend with family and friends.  But will what we do today mean anything in the perspective of eternity?  Are we investing our time, energy, and financial resources in promoting God's Kingdom and helping others?  The answer to that shows where our treasure is and that reveals where our heart is as well.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Are You Living Like A Mere Man?

"I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?"
1 Corinthians 3:2, 3 (NKJV)

The church in Corinth had some real problems.  In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians he addressed several issues that the people in Corinth were dealing with.  This is a good letter for us to read because some of the problems they had are the same problems that we have today.  What is interesting to take note of is what Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 3 as being their main problem.  This was really the root of all of the things they were dealing with; the Corinthians were carnal, they were ruled by natural things and not spiritual things.  Paul said that the people in Corinth were behaving like mere men.

When Paul told the people at Corinth that they were carnal people he meant that they were more focused on natural things than they were on spiritual things.  Jesus said in John 17:14 that He and His disciples were not of this world and in John 18:36 that His Kingdom was not of this world.  This same thing is true for us today as Christians, we may live in this world but we are really connected to a heavenly kingdom and this is why we cannot allow ourselves to be dominated by natural desires and this world system that we live in.  As born again new creations in Christ we are to live by a different standard.

If we allow ourselves to be ruled by the culture and things of this world then we will live like ordinary, unchanged people.  Too many believers never grow and develop spiritually and then they make excuses for their actions by saying things like "Well, I'm only human" or "This is just the kind of person that I am".  But we are more than just a natural human being, we are a new creation in Christ and that is how we must live.   Find out who you really are from God's Word and don't just allow natural influences to keep you living like a mere human.  Step into the reality of who you are in Christ and live like the spiritual person God intended you to be!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fresh, Daily Manna Is The Best

"Then the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not."
Exodus 16:4 (NKJV)

When Israel traveled through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land God supernaturally provided daily food for them that they called manna.  God gave instructions that the people should go out every day to gather some manna.  God also told them to gather twice as much on the sixth day so that they could rest on the Sabbath, that was the one special exception.  This was one way that God tested Israel to see if they would obey Him and do His Word.  Unfortunately the gathering of manna was one of the areas where Israel did not follow God's commands and they had problems because of it.

Again and again in their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land God took care of Israel.  God was there to give them what they needed when they needed it and the daily manna was a good illustration of this.  It says in Exodus 16:16-18 that each one gathered according to their need and while some gathered more than others each person had what they needed with no lack.  Some people disobeyed and tried to keep some of their manna for the next day.  But the manna they kept from one day to the next ended up stinking and was full of worms; they needed fresh manna every day.

There is a great lesson we can learn from this; just like Israel had to go every day to get the manna to meet their needs we must to go to God every day to get what we need.  If we don't go to God daily then we will lack the daily provision that God wants to give us.  Too many Christians do not have a regular time with God through reading His Word and in prayer and their life reflects this.  We all face challenges each day and God is ready to help us and give us the strength, encouragement, wisdom, and guidance that we need.  To be truly successful in life we need fresh, daily manna from God. Go to God today to get what you need!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Whose Business Are You Busy With?

"For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies."
2 Thessalonians 3:11 (NKJV)

People's lives today are very busy.  It seems that there is more going on in people's lives today than ever before, and often what keeps us busy is being connected with other people.  Whether it is texting, talking, or using social media it seems that most people want to be connected to someone else as much as possible to see what is happening with everyone else.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but how much do we really need to know about someone else compared to just being busy with what we need to do in our own life and with the responsibilities that we have?

Relationships are an important part of life but like anything else we can go overboard with them.  We need to be connected with good people who will help us do the things we need to do but we first of all need to take care of our own life and the things God has for us to do.  Some people are so focused on what others are doing that they really don't pay enough attention to the things they need to do in their own life.  Or, they are so caught up in seeing things happening in other people's lives that they become envious or maybe even critical about what the other person is doing.

This is the kind of thing that Paul was talking about in 2 Thessalonians 3, people who were so consumed with what others were doing that they were not working themselves; Paul said these people were "busybodies" living in "a disorderly manner".  In other words, these people were busy but not with what they needed to be busy with.  If we become preoccupied with all the actives that are taking place in the lives of others we can lose the focus that we should have on God's will for our own life.  We should maintain the right kind of relationships but keep our attention on what God wants us to do in our own life and on His plan for us.