There is no better cure for discouragement than gratitude. We often become so consumed with our personal problems that we lose sight of all the blessings in our life. Taking the time to reflect on all that we have can be a remarkably healing and refreshing exercise. Remembering what God has done for us empowers us to face the next challenge. We who profess to be followers of Jesus have no excuse to feel hopeless and unworthy. The Creator of the entire universe and everything in it – including you – sacrificed His own life to prove how important you are to Him. He created you, and He died for you. If you can think of nothing else for which you are grateful, then just start with those two facts!
Archives for November 2014
I don’t think Francis Chan can help himself. He recently wrote a book with his wife called “You and Me Forever”. Ostensibly this is a book about marriage. Yet from the first pages, Chan is exhorting Christians to live out their faith. He is so passionate about his desire to see people not only come to Christ, but also to live for Him, that it bleeds into everything he does. Can the same be said of our lives? Should we not all strive to be so consumed with Jesus that He spills into every thought, action, and word we speak? If that’s not the case, then what is the proof of our love for Christ?
Early in my days in the corporate world, the first time I was given a position with my own office, I hung a sign over my desk that quoted Colossians 3:23. It said, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” It often comforted me when those I was working for were severely frustrating me and trying my patience! That passage helped re-center me and remind me of what was truly important. While that sign and office are long gone, the daily reminder that verse afforded me has stuck with me throughout my life. Recently as I was exercising, a similar thought, no doubt inspired by my recollection of that verse, occurred to me. That thought was to test all of my activity by whether or not it glorifies God. This is how we can do all things as working for the Lord. Everything we do must be for Him.
I can’t seem to get away from the constant debate of whether we are saved by grace alone or works alone. As I have often commented here, I don’t believe it’s a matter of grace or works, but rather grace and works. Before you bail on me, I wholeheartedly believe and affirm that we cannot be saved by anything other than the grace of God. Without grace, there is no possible way to “work” our way into salvation. Only our faith in Jesus and the grace He extends to us can secure our future with Him. The works we do are simply proof of our love for Him. If we are sincere in our devotion to Christ, obeying His commands – doing the things He told us to do – will be a natural extension of that love.
“Servant God” is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. One of the cool concepts discussed in the chapter entitled, “What is Sin?” is that of the ‘Law of Love’. It says, “Love is other centered and outward moving. The law of love is the law of giving… When the God of love created, He created all life in harmony with His own character of love. Life is constructed to exist only when operating in perfect other-centered love. All life, health, and happiness are dependent upon harmony with this law (Romans 1:20, 13:8).” What if we lived as if this is true? What if we spent our days focused on loving others rather than on ourselves? We were created to bring glory to God by displaying His love to others. This is what it looks like when life works best.