Thursday, May 26, 2016

Don't Know? Don't Go!

"Then Jesus answered and said to them, Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner."
John 5:19 (NKJV)

Have you ever been driving in some unfamiliar area and you come to an intersection where you are not sure which direction to turn? If the direction you need to go is not clear, then you should check which way to go before proceeding further.  But what if you just decided to keep driving anyway?  What if you thought that going some direction is better than doing nothing?  What if you had the idea that if you start driving fast in one direction you would at least accomplish something rather than taking the time to sit there and check the directions?  Most likely if you just start driving without any idea of where you are going you will get lost.

Jesus is our great example and there are many, many things we can learn from Him.  One very important thing we can learn from Jesus is about what to do in every situation.  While the Bible does not give us a detailed list of every action we need to take in life we do know that the Holy Spirit will help to lead and direct us (Romans 8:14).  Jesus said in John 5:19 that He only did what He saw the Heavenly Father do.  We also read that Jesus did the will of His Father (John 5:30; 6:38), Jesus only said what His Father told Him to say (John 8:28), and Jesus only did things that pleased His Father (John 8:29).

Jesus was successful in everything He did because He only did what He knew God wanted Him to do.  Too many Christians do things just because they think it is a good thing, but it is not the thing that God wants them to do.  So many believers act before they really know if what they are doing is the right thing for them to do or not, this happens sometimes because people feel pressured and think they have to do something.  We need to follow God's direction in His Word and by the Holy Spirit to know what is right to do in every situation.   If we don't know what to do then we need to find out, but if we don't know, we don't go.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Lifestyle Of Faith

"For we walk by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

Every person has some kind of lifestyle.  Our lifestyle is our unique way of living; it is how we do things.  How we live is often a result of how we were raised, where we live, and the values we consider important.  We of course all like to have a type of lifestyle that we enjoy and one that fits with how we believe life should be.  No one would normally choose a lifestyle that would lead them into problems.  If there were bad things coming into our life as a result of our lifestyle choices, then any wise person would make the necessary changes.

There is a certain type of lifestyle that God has planned for His children, it is a lifestyle of faith.  In 2 Corinthians 5:7 it says that we walk by faith.  The word "walk" here is really referring to a way of life and not just an occasional stroll somewhere.  The way a Christian is supposed to live is by faith and nothing else.  Faith is based on what God has said and a lifestyle of faith means that no matter what happens our life is based on and governed by what God has said in His Word.  What we do and what we say must be founded on God's Word, this is what it means to walk by faith.

It is very easy to live a life based on what we see, hear, feel, and think; but this is not a lifestyle of walking by faith.  Too many people are mainly focused on what their circumstances and senses tell them and not on God's Word.  We must follow the guidelines God that has given us for every area of our life and Hebrews 11:6 even says that without faith, without a life lived by faith, it is impossible to please God.  God has given us His Word but it will not produce the desired results in our life if we do not act on it.  The lifestyle of faith is the best way to live, it is the way that God has designed us to live.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Have You Graduated Yet?

"that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ -"
Ephesians 4:14-15 (NKJV)

Every school year there are graduations.  Graduation is not really an end but a time of transition.  For example, those who are graduating from a high school are transiting into college or university, some trade school, or into the work world.  Those people graduating from college, university, or some other school are transiting into a time when they will put all of the things they have learned to use.  To have a graduation, or a transition, means that there has been some development.  Without learning, growth, and development a person will have no transition or graduation but they may have to do more courses or go back to redo the school.

Spiritually we are in a continual state of learning, growth, development, and even graduating from one level of spiritual maturity to another.  The Bible talks a lot about spiritual growth and development.  In Ephesians 4, and in other places, Paul talked about believers growing up and doing their part in the plan of God.  Paul said in Ephesians 4 that we need to stop being children who are so easily swayed and grow up in all things.  We need to know who we are in Christ and take our place in the Body of Christ so that we are able to do our part and contribute to God's work in the earth.

As Christians we should be growing from one level of spiritual development into another.  But for us to graduate and move into another level of spiritual maturity we need to learn and grow.  If we do not learn, grow, and develop then we will not move forward in the plan and purpose that God has for our life.  Spiritual growth and development come through learning God's Word and putting it into practice in our lives.  God needs mature, spiritually developed believers to help carry out His plan on the earth; if we remain spiritual children, we limit the amount of things God can do through us.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What We Do And Who We Are

"Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
Luke 11:1 (NKJV)

Several years ago I had a job that involved training people to work on different machines.  While I was not an expert at operating all of the machines that we had in this factory, I did know how to use them well enough to do what needed to be done.  This was one of the reasons I was put in charge of training others, I knew what had to be done and I knew how to do it.  The majority of the people I trained had no previous experience working with the machines we had but I showed them how to do the work until they could operate the machines on their own.

Jesus had His twelve disciples but there were many other people who followed Jesus besides the twelve.  As these disciples followed Jesus they learned through His teaching and His life examples how to live the best kind of life, a life connected to and in service to God.  The story in Luke 11 is interesting because we see that it was after Jesus was done praying that His disciples asked if He could teach them how to pray too.  It was not just that Jesus knew a lot of principles about prayer but Jesus knew how to pray and that was the key to Him being able to teach His disciples how to pray.  Prayer was not a theory to Jesus it was a part of who He was.

Jesus was successful in teaching His disciples how to pray, how to live by faith, how to deal with people, and how to teach and preach because Jesus knew how to do these things.  What Jesus did was not something that was separate from who He was, it was a part of Him.  Too often people learn how things work but there is no practical experience involved, theories are being passed along by people who have no real experience in what they are talking about.  What we do for God should be a reflection of our relationship with God.  What others see us do they can do too and we can teach them how, if what we do is a part of who we are.