Are you any different?

As a Christian, are you any different than your non-Christian co-workers?

If your answer is no, then only one of two things is happening:

  1. You’re self-employed
  2. You’re not living out your Christianity

Do you laugh at or tell the same crude jokes as everyone else? Are you able to talk about every TV show and movie that gets brought up around the water-cooler? Do you cuss to fit in? Is your gossip as ill-willed as the best of them? Would the people you work with be surprised to see you if they randomly visited the congregation you’re a member of?

Do your co-workers know you care about the soul of others? Do you participate in benevolent works less than they do? Does your lukewarm-Christianity help them feel better about the non-existence of their own relationship with God?

If you’re not different (and I’m not saying “arrogantly better than” mind you) than your non-Christian co-workers then you’re not the salt and light Jesus has called us to be (Matthew 5:13-16) and there are some changes that need to be made (2 Corinthians 7:8-11).

Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:1-6 NKJV)

#light-and-salt, #living-the-faith, #worldly-living

Not Ashamed

For he who makes holy and those who are made holy are all of one family; and for this reason it is no shame for him to give them the name of brothers,” (Hebrews 2:11 – BBE)

My spiritual imperfections, to say the least, bug me. There are times when I say, think, or do the wrong thing in a way that makes my own stomach, head and feelings hurt.

I hate to fail. I’m uber-competitive in many ways. Over the years I have learned to scale back on unnecessary comments, discussions and involvements that rile up the ole’ competitive side in an unneeded and negative way. But I still have a ways to go.

After a decade of striving to live in and according to the way that’s found in God’s word I have to remember that the one who started my journey for me will be the one who finishes it for me. It took God’s grace to create the opportunity and it’ll take God’s grace to seal it up.

This in no way negates the exhortation of personal responsibility in Hebrews 2:1-3, but that exhortation in no way negates a personal reliance upon Jesus from the beginning of our sanctification to the end of it. For if Jesus was unashamed enough to come and save us from our sin, then reason says that he’s patient and unashamed enough to help us find our way out of it.

Because of this it was necessary for him to be made like his brothers in every way, so that he might be a high priest full of mercy and keeping faith in everything to do with God, making offerings for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17 – BBE)

#imperfection, #jesus, #living-the-faith, #sanctification, #the-love-of-jesus

PRACTICAL FOR LIVING!

One evening, as I was leaving our seasonal Winter Shelter, one of the guests asked me of my perspective on religion as compared to certain practices he had observed. Part of my response to him was that religion — as it is expressed in the Scriptures — is not merely ritual, but is practical. It relates to accepting God’s authority for life, good living and helping to meet the needs of others. The questioner then responded, “You are doing that.”

Someone has said, “A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, an ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others.” [original source unknown]

The fact that living a life pleasing to God is more than ritualistic observance is made clear through various passages of Scripture. For example, in response to a questioner seeking to justify himself (Luke 10:29), Jesus told the parable of the good Samaritan. (Luke 10:30-35) The priest and the Levite appear to have been too focused on their ceremonial cleanness to help one who had A REAL NEED. To press the point we read. . .

“(36) Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (37) He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “YOU GO, AND DO LIKEWISE.”” (Luke 10:36-37 ESV)

On another occasion, when Jesus’ disciples were accused of plucking heads of grain while walking through a grainfield on the Sabbath, Jesus reminded the
faultfinders of David and his men having eaten the bread that was only lawful for the priests to eat. That bread was there was to MEET THE NEED at the time. (Mark 2:23-26) By the time of Jesus’ walk on earth, the “doctrines” of work on the Sabbath had been meticulously defined by the teachers of the law. However, in addressing the practicality, Jesus went on to state. . .

“(27) And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”” (Mark 2:27 ESV)

There are a number of other places Jesus addressed what was done on the Sabbath when He Himself was accused of healing on the Sabbath. In those cases Jesus drew attention to what His accusers were willing to do when it came to their own personal property (i.e. Matthew 12:11-12), exposing more interest in themselves than in being willing to reach out to meet the REAL NEEDS around them.

Perhaps one of the most concise and clearest statements comes from James where we read. . .

“(27) RELIGION THAT IS PURE AND UNDEFILED BEFORE GOD, THE FATHER, IS THIS: TO VISIT ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR AFFLICTION, AND TO KEEP ONESELF UNSTAINED FROM THE WORLD.” (James 1:27 ESV)

Living a “religious” life before God and man is both practical and holy. Purity of life is an issue to be taken very seriously. However, our interaction with others and willingness to MEET REAL NEEDS is also of extreme importance. Are we not glad we have a Heavenly Father aware of and willing to provide for both our spiritual and physical needs? May we be mindful of that with regard to others as we live through each day God provides.

Have a great day PUTTING THE ASSETS OF HEART, EAR, AND HAND TO WORK TO THE GLORY OF GOD! – Carl Hanson

(“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org)

Related Articles:

#christian-living, #christianity, #god, #life, #living-the-faith, #practical-lessons, #religion, #service, #serving-god

Talking and Walking are Two different Things

One of the wisest things ever said by king Ahab was, ‘Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off.’ (1 Kings 20:11)

Joining in the good fight of faith is admirable, but finishing it is what brings the reward (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Some fight in longer battles than others. Some put in more years of service. Some take upon themselves more responsibility. Some do better at recruiting others. Some do better at staying focused. Some are better at talking than walking because it seems as if that’s all they know how to do!

There are those who are very apt to criticize the actions of elders, deacons, preachers, Bible class teachers and the all around great working members of the body who are trying to get the work of the Lord done by through various activities and works. I find it strange that, more often than not, these people are also very apt to do nothing themselves before they criticize, in the middle of their criticism and when their criticism is done. They believe they can do things better than the way it’s being done. They have never taken on the responsibility but yet they feel responsible to tell another how it is or isn’t to be done. That’s a talker and not a walker!

In the context of 1 Kings 20 the king of Israel said what he had said because he cared about the things that were being threatened by the boastful leaders of Syria, but at the same time Ahab actually got up to fight. He didn’t just sit down and do nothing, he got to work and even more so after a reassuring word came from the Lord. He rallied the people and fought with a purpose. That day it was the Syrians who found out that talking and walking are two different things. It was the Syrians who found out that talking alone actually leads to running away!

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:26)

 

#actions, #faith, #faith-and-works, #king-ahab, #living-faith, #living-the-faith

How Can He Save His Marriage?

Raymond visits his old home place and learns a very valuable lesson on marriage, in the process. I hope you will stop by and read his story and see what you can learn about your own marriage.

#forthright, #living-the-faith, #marriage

The Terrible Problem of Stress

Stress attacks all of us and how we deal with it can determine the state of our spiritual lives. It is imperative that we start realizing the effect stress has on our spiritual lives.

When we give our lives to Christ, we give Him more than our spiritual lives. He wants everything so we need a more holistic approach to our Christian walk.

Read More

#christianity, #forthright, #living-the-faith, #spiritual-lives, #stress

Planning For the Future

How can we plan for the future when Scripture tells us that we cannot be certain there will even be a tomorrow? Find out the answer.

Also, this  week marks 300 consecutive weeks my columns have run at Forthright. This includes the unknown neurological problem I currently battle, two surgeries, burned hands and a trip to the  Mayo Clinic. I am humbled and proud by how God has blessed me. Thanks to Forthright for all they have done for me. God bless them all.

 

 

#forthright, #living-the-faith, #writing

Are We Hiding From God?

“The little boy stood very still in the corner of the living room with his eyes closed. His mother passed by a few times, curious. Finally, she asked and he said nothing. She went over and asked sternly. He whispered, ‘Momma, you can’t see me. I’m invisible.'”

How silly of that little boy. Is it, really? It must not be. People do the same thing to God every day. Read More

#disobedience, #forthright, #invisible, #living-the-faith, #obedience

Are We Sleepwalking?

Most people are sleepwalking through their lives. They are consumed by their routines and don’t give a thought to their souls. Satan moves them through each day, trying to keep everything quiet, so no one disturbs their slumber.

God used noise and visuals to get people’s attention in the Old Testament. Do we need that again to wake us up?

Read More

By the way, the photo is from the legendary 1919 film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. You will see why when you read the article.

#forthright, #god, #living-the-faith, #sleepwalking