Monday, August 06, 2007
I am working on a passage right now that continually holds me prisoner. It is Ephesians 4:17-32. This might be my favorite passage in all of the Bible. In it Paul talks about how the life of Christian should be changed because of what Christ does for us. He says that if we are in Christ our minds should be renewed and we should replace the old way of life with the new way of life. Several things grip me.
First, I am held by the goodness of God. He knows the evil of my heart, yet desires to forgive, restore and work through me. Amazing. He is indeed gracious and kind.
Second, I am struck by the change of life He brings and desires. In this world if we stop doing a bad deed, we are deemed successful. As long as you stop lying. As long as you stop the extra-marital affair. As long as you stop stealing. You get the point. God desires more though. He desires and makes a way for the bad action to be replaced with one that is pleasing to Him. So, instead of stealing we should work and be generous. Instead of lying we should speak the truth in love. Instead of being in the adulterous relationship, we should serve our spouse in every aspect of the relationship and be faithful and pure.
Not only does God call us to live this way...He empowers us to live this way through the clear teaching of His Word and the strong power of the Holy Spirit.
If you are a Christian, what are some ways that you are living in the "old way" of life. Think about them. Ask God to renew your thinking toward. Then, join Him in practically putting on a new way of life when it comes to these actions and attitudes.
For those that are not followers of Jesus Christ. Want a fulfilled life? Turn away from the half-truth of simply stopping the bad deed. Turn to Christ where you can, through His power, live a new life that pleases Him, helps the world around you and brings joy to your heart.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Let’s take a look at a passage of Scripture that tells us of the realities of the new creation that is to come. Listen to 1 Peter 3:11-13, “11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13 But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Our first reaction may be one of fear and dread when we hear phrases such as, “these things are thus to be dissolved,” but we ought not think that way. There is a perspective in this verse that really speaks to the expectations of Christians. What is our opinion of the here and now? Is truly wrong to be attached to things of this world? Well, the answer is yes and no. If you are so attached to this life and the things it…things like jobs, possessions, hobbies that you would be crying and screaming if someone took them away from you…then, yes, your perspective needs to change. However, if your perspective of those things is that they are ways to enjoy your relationship with God and other people…then you can be even more encouraged.You see, now we are in a world that is filled with sin. There is sin, evil and rebellion against God all around us. In fact, sin, evil and rebellion against is inside of us. But, God has sent a Savior into the world so that our hearts can be changed now…and that we can join Him in a world that is free from sin, evil and rebellion one day. That world…that place…is what Peter is referring to as the new heavens and the new earth.