Mundane Monday: Call Me Chief

Grae abounding.jpg

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When God has forgiven us, man’s judgment no longer has to have a hold on us.

Scripture of the Day:

1 Timothy 1:15

“This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’–and I am the worst of them!”

Self righteousness is one of the slickest tools of the enemy. Pride at the root, we begin to think we are righteous of our own merit. Often unrecognizable as we see the flaws in everyone surrounding us except for our own, it is lethal to our walk with God and hurts those around us.

Paul is refreshing in his transparent view of himself. He did not boast of his righteousness, but instead called himself the worst sinner ever.  It seems kind of demeaning at first. After all, there is always someone worse than ourselves. But God does not grade on the curve and the beauty in recognizing nothing good in and of ourselves apart from the grace of God is not only seems truthful, but fitting.

It is in seeing my desperate condition before a Holy God that I see my need of His salvation. I cannot defend myself based on any deed or belief, for it was only His grace that enabled me to do or be anything that would please a perfect God in the first place.

Admitting we all are Chief in the sin department is at once condemnation and freedom. Gaining access to a relationship with our Holy God only happens through confession of sins and then sweet redemption when we choose to believe and accept His righteousness for our own.

When God has forgiven us, man’s judgment no longer has to have a hold on us. When falsely accused, we realize that although the accusation might not be true, there is something in us that we are guilty of even if we cannot see.

This truth has been such a blessing in my walk with Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation, even though we are guilty. For Christ fulfilled God’s perfect law for all eternity and we stand blameless before a Holy God. What good news this is!

Walking in this perfect freedom, we no longer have to fear, but we also can no longer judge our brothers and sisters, either. We do not know anyone else’s hearts and we all are equally chiefs of sin, too.

Lord, thank You for revealing our sins that we could be set free. Thank you for removing our sins as far as the east is from the west. 

Thoughtful Thursday: Influential Influence

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Our battle is not fleshly, but spiritual.

Scriptures of the Day:

1 Corinthians 15:33

Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

Romans 12:12

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

2 Timothy 3:1-6

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God–5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,

Ephesians 2:1-2

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

One verse my children know well as it was a mantra repeated continuously in their childhood was 1 Corinthians 15:33.  It was challenging to strike a balance between warning them about being influenced by ungodly people around them and not judging them, either.

Much like the Israelites had to be reminded to write God’s word down and keep it before them, we need reminders to be aware of the influences all around us.

Most of us do not pause to perceive why we are feeling a certain way about another person or circumstance.  We casually give in to the emotions, unchecked unless we ask God for discernment to see the spiritual influence all around us.

The prince of the spirit of the air is busy.  So are our minds, with over 2100-3000 thoughts per hour going through them.  Keeping track and being accountable for all of those thoughts is overwhelming.

But when we study God’s Word and surround ourselves with godly influences, the sorting of wicked and godly influences becomes easier.  God has made a way out and He will show us what is pleasing to Him and what is not.  The choice is ours.  There is no middle ground. Life or death. Righteousness or wickedness.

Apathy is not the answer, self-righteousness is not the answer.  There are absolute standards that God has set.  We are accountable.

Choosing to abstain from bad influences is not enough, though.  Keeping oneself unsoiled is not the same as becoming a source of godly influences for those around us.  We are a light not because we have anything inherently good in us, but because we have the light of the world within us and He is good and able to use us for righteousness.

Lord, help us to be an influence on those around us that draws people nearer to You.  Help us to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world and to live for Your glory.

Division’s Conquest

Photo Credits: www.kkcj.org

Photo Credits:
http://www.kkcj.org

1 Corinthian 12:25

“So that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another!”

1 Corinthian 13:4-5

“Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious.  Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.”

Proverbs 18:19

“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.”

Dividing and conquering can be a great strategy when trying to accomplish a difficult task, but in the case of relationships and the body of Christ, divisiveness accomplishes destruction.  We are stronger when we are united.

One of the saddest things for me to see is when members within a church begin to devour one another.  When hard times hit a church is when true character is displayed in its members – it is also when we need one another the most.

An offended brother is like an unyielding city.  Forget whether or not their offense is legitimate or founded on truth.  Sometimes you can try to be a peacemaker and still receive abusive treatment from a bitter soul.  What then?

Love.  Recently someone spoke bitterly to me right before I was to lead worship.  I had a choice.  I chose love.  When I contemplated the actions later in prayer to God, He gave me compassion for this individual and the knowledge that their perception was misplaced.  I could leave it in God’s loving hands.  I could trade concern over my own hurt to concern over what really created the bitterness in this person’s soul.

I have been crushed in the past by words spoken with an intent to harm, but not this time.  By the grace of God alone, I did not think of self, but instead of the other person and gave it to my God, Who is fully capable of dealing with all hearts, including mine.  The result?  Peace.  Joy.  No anxiety.  This was a major victory and the evil one must have been bummed.

There is no case for self-righteousness, because we are all guilty.  We all hurt from time to time and all want affirmation, but our neediness is best filled by God, not looking to man to justify or accept us.  People will get mad from time to time.  That’s ok.  We cannot please everyone, and our ultimate audience is God alone.

More than being right is the need for the body of Christ to care for one another.  Brothers and sisters shepherding one another’s souls.  No agendas other than God’s glory.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all tried for that goal?  Division would quickly turn to multiplication instead . . . multiplied members, gratitude and joy.

Lord, help us to buildup one another and to put to death our hurt feelings which are birthed in pride.  May You be glorified in all circumstances in our lives and in Your church.