Thursday, January 25, 2024

Who Do You To Listen To

"And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue.  And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, "Where did this Man get these things?  And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands!"
Is this not the Son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon?  And are not His sisters here with us?"  So they were offended at Him.
Mark 6:2-3 (NKJV)

Sometimes when we accomplish something, or if we do something that people did not expect us to be able to do, people might be impressed by what we did, but it can also be that people will criticize us.  If this happens, then we have a choice, will we listen to those people who praise or criticize us, or will we continue to do what we are doing?  If we are doing what is right, then we should not allow the praise or criticism from anyone to stop us from doing what we need to do.

Although Jesus is the Son of God, and He did the will of God, not everyone was happy with Jesus and pleased with what He did.  In Mark 6, when people heard Jesus teach in the synagogue, they wondered how He could teach the way He did, and people were offended by Jesus and His teaching.  People talked about the natural background of Jesus in a way that seemed to say, "We know His family, we know Him, who does He think He is?", but this did not matter to Jesus, He just kept doing the will of God.

Jesus knew Who He was, He knew the will of God for His life, so Jesus did not allow the criticism, or the praise of people to change what He was doing.  Jesus never changed His teaching to please His critics; Jesus taught the truth from Scripture, even when people did not like it.  We need to be the same way, and know who we are in Christ, what God has called us to do, and follow the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Then we need to keep doing what God has said, no matter what others say about it; we need to know Who we should listen to.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

All Things, Or Just A Few Things?

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Normally, when people set goals, they will do everything they can to achieve that goal.  It is not hard to get someone to do something that they are highly motivated to do, no matter how difficult that thing might be.  But, if you ask someone to do something that they are not interested in, or something they do not enjoy, then that is a different story, even if you offer to assist them in doing what needs to be done.  It is possible for that person to do the thing; they are just not willing to do it.

There are many Christians who like Philippians 4:13 where it talks about how we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, but I sometimes wonder if people really believe that, because it sometimes depends on the circumstance and situation in what they are doing.  Christians will talk about doing all things through Christ when it is something they are already interested in doing.  But does Philippians 4:13 only apply to God helping us do the things we already want to do?

It is not hard to talk about doing all things through Christ when we are talking about the goals and dreams we have.  But what about getting involved in something in our local church that, while we are able to do it, we do not really want to do; is that something that we then cannot do through Christ?  Do we allow our personality and our likes and dislikes to be our boundaries, or through Christ can we overcome those things to do whatever we need to do for God?  We can do all things through Christ, even if it is not our favorite thing, as long as it is part of God's plan for our life.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

You Control It Yourself

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Sometimes while I am out walking or running, I see people who are walking their dog.  But then, something happens where the dog gets upset or a little excited and gets out of control.  What is amusing to me is that the people with the dog act surprised that their dog is acting like a dog!  They sometimes look around as if they do not know what to do, or that maybe someone else needs to do something, but the person with the dog just needs to take care of their own dog; I often think to myself, it is your dog, you need to control it yourself.

We are a three part being: spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  When we are born again, we become a new creation in Christ, spiritually.  But even though we are a new creation in Christ, we still have the same body and soul as we did before salvation, and we need to do something with our body and our soul.  In Romans 12:1-2, the Bible says that we need to present our body as a living sacrifice and renew our mind, which is a part of the soul.  The emphasis here is that we do something with our body and our soul.

It is up to us individually as believers to control our own body and renew our own mind.  While other people may help us with this, no one can do it for us.  Some people seem to think that if they get enough people praying for them, or if they get into a special meeting, or if someone lays hands on them, everything will be fine.  But the Bible clearly tells us that we have to control ourselves.  Through learning what the Bible says, and by acting on it with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can control our bodies and renew our minds.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Say No To The Yes Man

"The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise.
He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
Proverbs 15:31-32 (NKJV)

The term, "Yes man", refers to someone who always seems to agree with whatever another person is saying.  Sometimes in a business, a boss or leader will only want to have people around them who agree with and support whatever they say, they want a yes man.  But no good boss or leader just wants people who agree with everything they say, without any opportunity for input from any other point of view.  No one knows everything, and having other people who can bring wise and constructive input to us is always helpful.

No one does everything right, and wise people look for ways to improve what they are doing.  Someone who does not look for ways to improve and develop themselves is foolish.  What hurts people is not that they make a mistake, but what hurts people is their refusal to listen to input from others.  By paying attention to wisdom from others, each and every one of us can do what we do better.  This is why we need other spiritually mature believers around us to help us and give us wisdom in what we are doing.

A good question for all of us is, "who can correct us", who do we allow to speak into our life?  If we only listen to those who agree with everything we say, no matter what we say, does that mean that everything we say is right, or is it that we only allow the "yes men" to be our associates?  If we are unwilling to listen to wise input from others, we are in danger of having serious problems.  We do not want to be the kind of people who think we know everything and will not listen to others; we need to be wise and receive instruction from others.