Posts Tagged ‘godly’

All Who Desire to Live Godly Will Suffer

January 15th, 2010

crown_of_thorns

The message I preached Sunday (01/10/10) was from 1 Corinthians 4:6-17 where the apostle Paul urges the Corinthians to imitate him (vs. 16), but not before giving an ironic comparison between them and him. I had to ask myself, do I really want the apostles’ adjectives to describe my life? Is it worth it? I also used 2 Cor 11:23-27 where Paul gives his “résumé” of suffering. What does that mean for me? I aspire to be like the leaders in scripture. Sometimes (like even in last week’s message) I will relate to the apostle’s position and example. Not this week. I’ve never been beaten, etc. and do I really even want to???

First of all, it is worth it.

The One with the power to raise Christ from the dead wants to empower you with that power.

He told Paul in the next chapter after the “résumé”, in 12:9

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

And Paul responded with

Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I am praying for you friends, that

“ the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, (Eph 1:18-20)

And that you

“may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, (Eph 3:18-20)

Second of all, I realized when Paul says, “imitate me” he doesn’t mean go looking for a beating. He tells the Corinthians that he was sending Timothy to “remind you of my ways”. We should aspire to DO the things that the apostles DID. So, we don’t aspire to suffer, but we aspire to have the same eternal mindset, focused on the heavenly rewards. However, knowing that suffering is inevitable frees us from the bondage of the fear of it. When we see that it is inevitable we go through that soul-searching process of asking “IS IT WORTH IT?” Coming to the answer or “Yes, it is” then we are left with our minds set on doing those things which lead to godly lives and eternal rewards.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim 3:12)

I didn’t mention earlier, but I believe persecution comes in many forms, not just your standard torture/starving/beating stuff. Any trial is a kind of persecution if you recognize that we are in a spiritual battle.

In each of these passages, the pain is worth it, and the response is a renewed desire for godly living and perseverance. Read them and meditate on them today! 2 Cor 4:7-18; Rom 7:24-25; 2 Tim 4:6-8; 1 Cor 15:54-58

The Ups and Downs of Life

December 13th, 2009

iPhone Jesse 280_cropLife has ups and downs. It is unavoidable. We have all experienced this. Even godly people in the Bible experienced trial and triumph, burden and blessing. How do you handle this reality? What are the marks of maturity when it comes to the ebb and flow of life?

Some people believe and teach that if you are a good Christian then you will avoid the sorrows of life. While it is true that exercising godly wisdom will bring “life to your soul and grace to your neck” (Proverbs 3:21-22), it is also true that it “rains on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45). 2 Timothy 3:12 even says “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

So there will be good days and there will be bad days. The absence of bad days is not the mark of a godly person. However, there is a notable stability in the mature believer that may sometimes be mistaken for a problem-free life. A closer look reveals that it is not the circumstances that are stable, but the person’s disposition. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is consistently evident even in inconsistent circumstances.

The funny thing is that, oftentimes, this “temperate” (1 Tim 3:2) behavior even in bumpy times tends to smooth out the bumps. The ups and downs aren’t as extreme or as frequent. In the life of the immature believer or the non-believer, the swings from good to bad can be quite extreme and quite frequent.

Imagine the response of the average child on their first few roller coaster rides. Compare that to the response of the veteran adult amusement park rider. The size of the hills and the valleys are the same for both. The child has extreme emotional swings throughout the ride. The adult, while still feeling some of the same emotions, has a steadiness about them and an overall sense of joy, even in that clickety-clackety ascent to the peak of impending doom; because they know that it is not doom after all.

How can you “even out the bumps” in your life?

It is not very enjoyable to be tossed around by your emotions as you react almost uncontrollably to the things that come your way – good or bad! How much better to have an steady response, whether to good or to bad. Oh, to always have the perspective that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Rom 8:18 or the other-wordly attitude of 2 Corinthians 4:7-18.

What a beautiful thing instead for our every knee-jerk reaction to be one of “love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”!

We must walk in the Spirit! This is the promise of Galatians 5:16-23.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says it nicely.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

This last phrase “direct your paths” means literally to “make smooth or straight”. Some of the curves may go away as you live more wisely, but the best part is that the inevitable curves which remain will not hurl you off the embankment; but God will give you superb traction, such that the road, for all practical purposes, is “made straight”!

Blessings in your journey,
Jesse

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