Thursday, May 25, 2023

Submit And Resist

"Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (NKJV)

Submit and resist are two words that mean different things, and those words could be said to be the opposite of each other.  One meaning of the word submit is "to yield to".  The word resist is the opposite of submit and it means "to oppose something or someone".  If you submit to something, it often means you are resisting or opposing someone or something else.  No one can submit to and resist the same thing at the same time; you are either submitting to something or you are resisting it.

In James 4:7 we are told to submit to God and resist the devil.  The word submit here means "to subordinate, to obey", and the word resist in James 4:7 in the Greek means "to stand against".  James tells us that we must obey God and stand against, oppose, the devil.  How do we submit to God?  We do what God says, we follow His plans and His direction in our life.  We are also told to resist the devil.  How do we resist the devil?  By opposing what he says and by not following his direction or plans.

The Bible shows us that we must submit ourselves, and every area of our lives, to God, and we must resist the devil and his influence in every area of our lives.  Jesus gives us a great example of this from when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness.  When the devil tempted Jesus, Jesus replied with the Word of God.  Jesus submitted to God by focusing on Scripture and Jesus resisted the devil by opposing what the devil said that would have taken Him away from what God had said.  We need to follow the example of Jesus as we submit to God and resist the devil.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Designed For A Purpose

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

Every product you can buy was designed for a certain purpose.  But if the product is not used for that intended purpose, then that thing will not be as effective as it could be if it was in fact used for the purpose it was designed for.  For example, if you took a nice pen, and put toothpaste on it and tried to brush your teeth with it, you would obviously have less than good results, because a pen was not designed for you to brush your teeth with.  To get the best use out of something, we have to use it for what it was designed for.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are God's workmanship, God is the One who created us, and He designed us for a purpose.  One of the highest goals any Christian can have is to discover and fulfill the purpose and plan that God has for their life, what He designed them to do.  Once we are saved, we are then supposed to do the good works that God designed us to do.  Our good works do not save us or earn us some position with God, but once we are a part of God's family, we are then supposed to do the good works that God designed us to do.

In 1 Peter 4:10, it tells us that each of us has received a gift that we can use to serve one another.  But, if we do not understand what we were designed to do, we may try to do something God never intended for us to do.  By spending time with God in His Word and prayer, by taking advantage of the opportunities we have to serve others, inside and outside of the church, we can all learn what purpose God designed us for and then be faithful in that.  True fulfillment in life is found when we recognize God's plan and purpose and then fulfill it.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Rooted And Built Up, Or Uprooted?

"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
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ
Colossians 2:6-8 (NKJV)

Trees need to have good roots to grow and develop; a tree without a developed root system could easily be uprooted.  A tree that is deeply rooted has more stability than a tree without a good root system.  If some storm would come, or something would run into the tree with enough force, the tree without the deep roots could be easily uprooted.  No tree could survive if it was planted in one place for a short time and then uprooted and put into a different place again and again.  Trees need strong, developed root systems to grow.

In Colossians 2, Paul talks about how those who have received Christ need to walk (to live) in Him, and be rooted and built up in Christ, established in the faith.  We are planted and rooted in Christ at salvation, but there are things that could uproot us and lead us away from where we are supposed to be, which is what Paul was talking about.  Once we are planted in Christ, we then have to grow and develop in our knowledge of God and His Word to develop deep roots in Christ and be built up and established. 

Paul warned us to be on guard so that no one would "cheat" us, which means to be carried away, through wrong doctrine.  Paul is saying that through wrong teaching we could be taken away from where we should be, we could be uprooted, instead of being deeply rooted in Christ.  By spending time with God in His Word and prayer, and spending time with other Christians, we can develop deep roots in God and our life in Christ.  We need to be rooted and built up in Christ and not let ourselves be uprooted and led astray by anything or anyone.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Who Are You Following?

"Now I say this, that each of you says, "I am of Paul," or "I am of Apollos," or "I am of Cephas," or "I am of Christ."
Is Christ divided?  Was Paul crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"

1 Corinthians 1:12-13 (NKJV)

On various social media platforms, you can like or follow someone or some group.  Obviously, the people or group you follow would be those you support and are interested in, otherwise you would not follow them.  You show what you think about someone or something by how closely you follow them, and if you like what they are doing.  If you really like someone or something, you would want to be closely connected to them, and you would not want anyone or anything to get in the way of your connection to that person or group.

There are many pastors, teachers, preachers, and groups in the world who are proclaiming the Gospel message.  Through social media, and other methods, we are able to connect with and follow these people and groups, which is a great way to continue to learn and grow in our knowledge of God, His Word, and the work that Jesus did for us.  But we all realize, or should realize, that we have to be sure that we follow God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God first and everyone and everything else second.

Most people would not say that they follow some person more than they do Jesus, but do we focus more on some person and their teaching than God's Word and what it tells us?  Are we more in tune to the direction that we receive from some teacher than we are from the Holy Spirit?  While it is good to follow people who are telling us about what Jesus has done for us, we must be sure that we don't get so caught up following them that we lose our focus on following Jesus first and foremost.