Work Out Your Salvation With Fear And Trembling- You Have Too Much To Lose

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.We need to be very careful about what we think God expects of us. I used to think that all I needed to do was believe that Jesus died for me so I could go to heaven. That’s it. I had no interest in ministry. That was for other people. I had job and it was enough that I went to church and believed in God.

But God had other plans for me. I began to read the Bible to understand exactly how I was supposed to live. I wanted to hear from God myself. What I learned startled me. The scriptures that I knew from childhood began to convict me for not believing what I already knew. We’re called to live like Jesus lived. That’s why He called Himself the Son of Man, not the Son of God. That’s why He showed us how to pray and said that we would do greater works than He did, because we’re supposed to live like Him.

And He warned us to not live complacently. Just look at the parable of the talents. (Matt 25:14-30) We know that talents were a form of money, but what if we consider that they may also mean talents we are gifted with — music, business, invention, creativity. The one who did nothing whatsoever with what he’d been given was cast into outer darkness. What we do or don’t do for the kingdom matters.

Are you thinking like I used to — He doesn’t really mean it? Or, that’s not about me? You’re wrong. It’s about you, and one day you’ll stand before Him and there will be an accounting of your life. I understand that we don’t go to heaven because of our works, but we’ve been commissioned to be a city on a hill, a light to a dark world. Are we living like Jesus lived? Is the kingdom of God real to us. Do we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind? Do we love others as much as we love ourselves?

Be honest. Be gut-wrenchingly honest. You have to lose your life to Jesus or you lose everything. There’s no compromise. Jesus said, My sheep know My voice,  and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27) Do you hear His voice? Are you following where He is leading. If you are not challenged in your faith, you’re probably not following Him. God will shake up what you think you know so you will have to rely on Him and Him alone.

Don’t be lulled into a passive faith that you think is safe. Jesus said He would spit that lukewarm mindset out of His mouth. He wants a vital, dynamic faith that understands that obedience is better than sacrifice. Read the scriptures for yourself and see where you stand. Many are called, but few are chosen. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, because there is everything to be gained and everything to lose.

The Kingdom of God Is Not About Heaven

The kingdom of God is near youThe church in America has turned entering the kingdom of God into a prayer to go to heaven. I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God at all, at least not entirely. Every time He healed someone or performed a miracle, He told them, “The kingdom of God has come near you.” It’s not a far off place, it’s a lifestyle for us here and now.

Jesus described the kingdom in so many ways, it sounds like the blind men describing an elephant. And because of that, we pick and choose what parts we want to believe and hold onto that truth as if it’s the only truth. But the reality is, the kingdom is amazing and dynamic and unfathomable. It  crosses boarders and joins hearts all over the world, transforming them into a magnificent bride. And yet, despite its narrow gate, it’s simple enough for the smallest child to enter.

The kingdom allows us to live like Jesus lived. That means we heal people. We raise loved ones from the dead. We go off alone and commune with our God to hear His voice and receive His great pleasure. We shine the light of this gospel from the mountain top, unashamed of who we are in Christ. We are known by our love.

We have to be transformed to live like that. We have to allow our old attitudes to be shaken and undone. We have to learn to love like Jesus loves, to believe that He is exactly who He says He is. When we can do that, the kingdom of God will not only be in us, it will all but burst to get out, and that will change the world.

 

Love Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

Love like you are made to love

We become bondservants out of love.

Love is not for the faint of heart. Love takes guts and determination. Why? Because we need to love people we don’t even like. We need to love our enemies — you know, the ones who hate us back.

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor 13:4-7)

Love does not take offense. That means that you can’t get your feelings hurt, no matter what happens. Forgive, and let it go. That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with everyone, but you are not allowed to hold a grudge or have a bad attitude. You are called to represent Jesus, and Jesus loves everyone.

Check your heart. If you are holding onto bad attitudes toward anyone, repent and give it to God. Ask Him to fill you with His love so you have love to give out. See the best in people. Love them. Bless them. Let God change your heart to be all that you are called to be. You are loved greatly by God, now give it away.

You’ll Never Love Like Jesus Without Humility

Love requires humilityLove is the essential heart attitude of the kingdom, and you can’t love without humility. Love is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity. (1Cor 13:4) Love makes you take a backseat to the needs and feelings of others. 

Humility guards your heart. It keeps arrogance out and makes you gentle. Good deeds done without humility become bragging grounds. We feel justified in telling people how we prayed for someone or helped them. Humility allows us to do good in secret. When we feel free to talk about our good works, our focus is no longer in love for others, but making us feel better about ourselves.

In a society where we are judged by our cars, our houses, our income, humility is a hard lesson. We are so concerned about what other people will think. The fear of man becomes stronger than the love of God. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (I John 4:18) 

I have to believe that most of the church has not been made perfect in love just based on the number of failed marriages, church splits, and issues that Christians carry that are just like those who do not claim to know God at all.

We are not called to live like other people. We are called to live like Jesus. Our heart must beat with His. Yes, He will bless us with the desires of our heart, but only after we align our hearts with His. Humility will keep us in right attitudes. It comes straight from God Himself, and since He puts His Spirit in us when we come to know Him, we have everything we need to live like Jesus. But we have to want to be transformed. We have to want to be like Him and asked to be changed. We have to see our need and our selfish ways so He can change us. If the world sees humility as weakness, so be it. It is powerful in the kingdom.

Your Identity In Christ Is Authority In Love

Authority puts demands on our love.

Authority puts demands on our love.

Your identity in Christ is who you are, not who you will be in heaven. When Jesus said, the kingdom of God is near you, He meant here and now. If we lived in the understanding of our identity, we’d be a wholly different church.

Imagine the prince of a kingdom living his life. Would anyone question his commands? Would anyone ask, Who do you think you are? No, the prince’s father is the king. There would be hell to pay for abusing or disrespecting the prince. The prince has perfect confidence that what he says will be backed up by the authority of his father.

But we are not arrogant sons and daughters of the King. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. We are sons and daughters of the King with all His authority, but with all His love as well.

God’s authority is kind and gentle. His motivation is love, and if we are to look and act like Him, then we have to let go of old perceptions of what it means to be a Christian. Love the Lord God with all your heart, and love others as much as you love yourself. We have to start doing that.

When we walk in our identity as heirs to the throne with true humility and love, Jesus will be irresistible to a world in need.

If You Dread The Day Ahead, Find Your Love

Find your love.If you wake up in the morning dreading the day ahead, find your love. When we are born again, we take on the mind of Christ, and He loves without measure. We’re to love God above all things, and we’re to love each other with the same level as we selfishly love ourselves. As a church, we’re not good at that. We really haven’t been taught to love people. We say that we do, but we haven’t been taught to live it.

If you love with the love that God put in you, you’ll see people through the eyes of God. He loves us all immensely. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost, regardless of how crude or horrible they act. The only reason they act that way is because they don’t understand how much God loves them. It’s our job to show them.

Waking up in the morning with a heart of love allows you to face every situation with your antennae out to see what God wants to do. It makes the day a joy, even if it’s exactly the same boring job that you faced yesterday. Show kindness, patience, and honesty. Let the joy and love of God shine through you. Your life should resonate with the Spirit of God.

The Bible says to pursue love. Go after it and let God change you from the inside. Face your day with joy and watch what God does with it.

If People Can’t Tell That You Are A Christian, Then There Has Been No Transformation

Transformation takes time.

Transformation takes time.

When you became a Christian, did you change dramatically? You should have. The difference in you should have made everyone you know stop and ask you what happened? Maybe you were raised in the church without a big conversion. Is your life dramatically different from your friends outside the church? And by that, I don’t just mean that you don’t get drunk or do drugs. I mean, can they see by your life that Jesus shines in you?

If we carry around all our fear, frustration, and anger just like everyone else, then the gospel has not changed us. There has been no conversion.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2Cor 5:17) If the old things have not passed away, then there is no new creation. 

Going to church does not make you a Christian. Following rules about how you’re supposed to live does not make you a Christian. Jesus said to follow Him, to do what He did. Are you living like Jesus? Can you say that love motivates your entire life? That you would rather see other people happy above your own needs?

The real gospel requires everything we’ve got. It’s inconvenient. It costs us. If people outside the church can’t see how much we love and can’t see our humility, then there is something wrong. It’s time to go back to God and repent. It’s time to ask God to make us look like Him and mean it. Be real. Be real with God and you’ll find out just how amazing His is. Don’t be left standing on the outside, dive in. It’s what He died for.