Humility

Sources:

Wayne Mack humility, Logos Bible Software, Stuart Scott, South East Christian Church

                                      Humility

The virtues of all virtues. The epitome of emulating Christ and mortifying sin. The virtue required to recognize sin, repent, believe, and come to Christ. The virtue that is the crown jewel of all the jewels. The virtue that changes the trajectory of one’s life. Humility. Without it, we stay stagnant in our sin. With it, we become more like Christ and emulate him. It’s a rare quality to find. To find a Christian that exemplifies the humility of Christ well is rare indeed. True humility is a gift. A gift that when opens the door toward Christlike character, an intuitive understanding of His word, and a life well spent.

                                What is Humility?

Humility is a gift. With the Spirit’s help, we can exemplify true humility. It takes humility to have humility. Humility encompasses many things. It’s the mindset of Christ, focusing on God and others, pursuing the recognition and exaltation of God, and desiring to please and glorify him in all things.

It’s a mindset.  (Theocentric mindset centered on God and not self)

Philippians 2:3-8″Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Even Christ Had to humble himself to the point of death. When we recognize God’s sovereignty in our lives, we are humbled. Our humble perspective is knowing that he has sovereign rule over our lives and we respond. We respond by obeying his heart for our lives contained in the Bible. Humility, sovereignty, and obedience are interconnected in this way and are truly part of the pathway toward Christ-likeness.

It’s putting other’s first

It’s an attitude of recognizing our unworthiness before God. It’s having a servant’s mindset and putting other’s first.

Manifestations of Humility:

  1. An attitude of thankfulness
  2. Praying (shows our total dependence on Him.)
  3. Recognize and trust God’s Character
  4. Recognizing his Sovereignty
  5. focus on Christ
  6. Being overwhelmed with God’s undeserved grace- we deserve hell. And we are totally thankful
  7. Gentle and patient- not focused on what I want. Willing to wait.
  8. Seeing yourself and no better than others- Understands own sinfulness
  9. Having an accurate view of gifts and abilities- Not bemoaning that you aren’t as gifted as others or exaggerating your own abilities
  10. Being a good listener- (Valuing what others have to say as more important than what you have to say.)
  11. Talking well of others
  12. Gladly submissive and obedient to those in authority including God himself.
  13. Preferring others over yourself- Willing to put others before self
  14. Thankful for criticism or reproof
  15. Teachable spirit- Realization that I don’t know everything. Willing to consider that I may be wrong
  16. Always seeking to build others up- Encouraging others. Never cut others down or be critical.
  17. Serving-On the lookout for ways to assist others.
  18. Being able to admit you are wrong- No problem admitting wrongdoing for the sake of improving character and conforming to Christ.
  19. Quickness in granting and asking for forgiveness
  20. Repenting of sin as a way of life- Ask God daily for forgiveness and works toward change.
  21. Being genuinely glad for others- Rejoice when good things happen to others. Trust God for what I don’t have.
  22. Minimizing other’s sins in comparison to my own- Thinks about my own sin more than anyone else’s.
  23. Being honest in areas that I need growth- Ask for help and accountability
  24. Possess close relationships- Humble people generally have close relationships because they are always thinking about other people’s needs before their own.

Great Implications of manifesting true Humility

What do you value?

What we value most is affected by our experiences, who we hang out with, what we read, and our beliefs. Everyone makes determinations of what they value most everyday whether they realize it or not. If I spend my time playing video games rather than spending time with my family, I’m saying I value video games more than my family at that moment. If I am on my phone while talking to another person, I’m saying that I value what’s on my phone more than giving you my full undivided attention. Value judgments. Sometimes we aren’t willing to give what we are so dearly holding on to. Maybe we really want to watch that movie instead of spending time with a friend who needs us. Maybe we would rather hold on to our money than give to the church. Maybe we would rather just stick to our friends than reach out to the people in our church that need friends.

Emulating Christ

Jesus associated with the lowly. He was in the world but his citizenship is in heaven. Part of Humility is giving up what we value; being sacrificial for a greater cause that is truly valuable. It’s being a light in a world that is truly dark. What do you value? What are you holding on to? As Christians, each action we take is a demonstration of what we value. It is a life long process of putting off pride and putting on humility. Our money can be gone tomorrow but the eternal things of God and heaven last forever. We are commanded to clothe ourselves with humility; we have the mind of Christ. Christ is in us!

The Challenge

As Christians, we need to know our position in Christ (Saved) and our Union with Christ (he is in us. Galatians 2:20). In light of this and the redemptive framework of salvation, we live out God’s heart for our lives contained in His word. In regards to humility, we can ask ourselves several questions. We will never attain this list. Only Christ was perfectly humble and didn’t sin. However, we can try to live out humility by the power of the Spirit, prayer, being in His word, renewing our mind, putting off pride, and putting on humility.

Are you thankful for what God has provided or do you dwell with envy on what others have that you don’t?
Are you a good listener or are you just taking in what people say not really listening so you can say what you want to say?

Are you constantly thinking of ways to serve others or do you just take what people give you because you think you are entitled to it?

Do you stick to just your friends or do you let people into the circle demonstrating Christian love and Humility (there is wisdom in choosing friends if someone’s trajectory of life is not in accordance with the Word of God)

Are you gentle and patient? Or do you get impatient because people are infringing upon your time and desires?

Do you give sacrificially?

Do you recognize God’s sovereign rule over your life and respond in humble obedience?

This life is a journey. We will never be perfect. As Christians, part of our lives will be in line with what we are called to do. But we still sin. And the ship’s rudder needs to be turned so we start heading in line with who we are in Christ. There are so many ways in which I don’t measure up to these standards. But I think it’s good to think about these things so we can be on the right path. One day we will have to give an account. What a blessing it will be to be able to give an account of a life that demonstrates humility, Christ-likeness, and love for others.

 

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How are we to live before a holy God?

Sources: Table Talk Magazine, Ligonier.org, Grace to you

Today’s devotional focuses on John 15:6.

John 15:6 “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

What does this mean? Can one lose their salvation if there is enough sin in their life? How are we to live before a holy God and how can we know that we are surely saved? What are the marks of a Christian? These are all good questions. Questions that I once had when I was beginning my spiritual walk.

Can one lose their salvation?

The short answer is no. If one is a child of God, he will always be saved. John 3:16, and Romans 10:9 emphasize belief and salvation. However, Mark 1:15 and others stress the importance of belief accompanied by repentance.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10:9

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Mark 1:15

15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Maybe you believe you are saved but are in a season of sin. If this is you, you need to repent and live out your identity in Christ. Pray, cut off sin, renew your mind, and put on Christ. Our love for God is evidenced by obeying His commands. And it cyclical. Loving God yields obedience which produces fruit and the unique joy of doing what we are called to do from a transformed heart.

Test Yourselves

2 Corinthians 13:5

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Do you have spiritual fruit? Love, joy, peace, kindness,  gentleness, self control? This doesn’t mean that you need all of these to be saved. However, Christians should be producing fruit and growing in the faith. As we live out the commands of God Coram Deo, the Spirit testifies that we are in the faith.

The Spirit gives us assurance of salvation

1 John 3:23

23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Romans 8:16

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

But what does it mean to live Coram Deo? It means that we are living day to day in the face of God. We are always aware of his presence, acting with integrity; consistency in all situations. Whether people are watching us, or not watching us, we are the same person. We have a conviction that God is always watching (Psalm:139). He is omnipresent, being everywhere. We do things unto the Lord, for His glory, with the right heart motivation. With a vantage point toward eternity. It’s a life lived with established conviction, founded and held captive by the Word of God.

What can we gather from all of this? Believers can’t lose their salvation. As we produce fruit enabled by the spirit, the spirit will testify to our assurance of salvation as evidence of our faith. Our love for God propels us toward obedience. We live out this life Coram Deo. Before the face of God, with integrity in all situations. As we live Coram Deo, we will be authenticating the message that saved us in the first place. The Gospel that transforms lives. The Gospel that transformed our heart and enables us to be a salt and light in the world.

 

What does it mean to fear God?

Fear God

Sources: Faith life Study Bible (FSB)/Logos Bible Software

What does it mean to Fear God? When I began  my journey, I was so confused about this term. It seemed like everyone said I fear the Lord. I once met a man who was involved In sexual immorality. And he said he feared the Lord. You’ve probably hear that it means awe or reverence but what exactly does this mean and what’s the implication on our lives of fearing the Lord?

As outlined in the FSB, here is what it means to fear the Lord rearranged in a more understandable way:

What is fearing the Lord a Response to?

  1. It’s a response to his holiness; people fear God because of his mighty deed. Israel responded to God’s saving power with fear (Exodus 14:30-31

What does someone do who fears the Lord?

1)Exhibit trust and obedience by fearing him. (Deut 5:29, 8:6, 10:12-13) Obedience to the Law teach people to fear him. Abraham sacrificed Isaac because he feared Him.

2) Loyalty and Faithfulness to the covenantal God and God alone. No idols, no Baal, no other Gods. (Josh 24:14-15)

3) Trust in God (Pss. 115:11)

Who are the people who fear the Lord?

Community of those faithful to him.

4) IT’s the beginning of Wisdom and Knowledge (Prov 1:7,9:10) (Pss. 111:10)

5) Attitude of Humility resulting in righteous living (Prov. 3:7, 8:13, 14:2, 16:6, 22:4)

6) Worship and praise are equated with fear of the Lord. (Pss. 5:7, 22:23)

Fearing God in Ecclesiastes:

The exhortation to Fear God and Keep His commandments- (Eccl. 12:13)

God acts so that People will fear Him (Eccl 3:14)

Fearing God in relation to Israel:

The Israelites forsook the fear of the Lord; The prophets speak of a restoration of fearing the Lord when they are restored.

Fearing God in the book of Job:

(Job 1:9)

The central question in Job asked by Satan

What are the implications of fearing God?

  1. Protection, Wisdom, Blessing

It seems that Fearing God really is the result of being a Christian. True Christians fear the Lord and pursue wisdom and righteous living. It’s a response to his holiness. As Christians, we strive to reflect His attributes and conform more to Christ every day. We respond to His holiness by pursuing holiness. Pursuing holiness is pursuing Christ. Christ lives in us and the Spirit works in us. As we develop a healthy fear of God, we conform more to Christ for His glory. We glorify God by reflecting His attributes. As we reflect His attributes, we authenticate our Christian identity as proof of the Spirit working within us. This isn’t a legalistic authentication but a result of the saving power of the Spirit in us already. We fear the Lord and keep His commandments. It’s out of a love for him and what he did on the cross that’s motivates us to live out the Christian life and stay in constant fellowship with him. It’a all by grace through faith that it’s even possible. Enjoy the blessings that come from fearing the Lord. You will be blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 3

psalm3_3b

Where do we turn in times of distress? The first of David’s Psalms and the first Lament Psalm is right here is Psalm 3:3. Lament Psalms express deep sorrow and ask for God’s blessing or Intervention. In Psalm 3, David is experiencing trials. A whole nation is turning against him. How does David respond in this trying Psalm

With Confidence

In Psalm 3:5, David lays down and sleeps. His confidence in God is validated by him sleeping in the midst of this dangerous situation.

Doxological petition

David turns to God with a petition and a praise. He pleas for God to save him but also praises Him in Psalm 3:8. Salvation belongs to the Lord. Deliverance belongs to the Lord whether it be from temporal enemies or the Spiritual Salvation of the soul that only the Lord can bring.

Where do you turn in times of distress? Can we have the confidence of David through our trials to turn to God and have confidence in our prayers from an all powerful God? Salvation Belongs to the lord

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Psalm 2

kisstheson

         Credit: Coye Still Southern Seminary; Logos Bible Software

Psalm 2 introduces the Book of Psalms along with Psalm 1. While Psalm 1 is more focused on the individual, Psalm 2 addresses the nations. The scope has broadened. It starts with the rage of the nations and ends with the kingship of Christ. There are 2 options, 2 paths for the nations to take. They can either give allegiance and “Kiss the Son” or perish. The choice is theirs.

God has a plan. And it’s not always your plan. Even now, I’m guilty of trying to plan the course of my life, where I will go, and what I want to do. Planning is good. It demonstrates discipline, goals, and determination. The tenacity to succeed. However, the fruition of those plans is ultimately determined by a providential, sovereign God. What does this have to do with Psalm 2? At the beginning of the Psalm, the Nations start out rebelling; plotting in vain.

Do the nations really rebel? Coye still said that history is a story of humanity warring against God. Humanity wars against God. Humanity killed Christ. But it was necessary for the atonement. Necessary for justification of the elect. Without it, there is no Sacrifice for sins. If Jesus wasn’t God, Christianity itself would cease to exist. A sacrifice was necessary; the one and only sacrifice that didn’t need to be repeated. No more sacrificing animals over and over again in the OT. This sacrifice was special; good enough for all of humanity if they believe in Christ, repent, turn to him and have faith.

When the nations plot in Psalm 2:1, the result is laughter. Psalm 2:4-“He who sits in the heavens shall laugh.” Rebellion is a reality but also vanity. We can plot all we want but ultimately, God is in control. He is sovereign. When we can trust in the promises of God, we are relaxed and have peace because there is a plan. We are submitting to a father, even though our desires may be contrary to his will. And in all of this we can have joy through various trials as it says in James. Trials produce Character and conform us to Christ.

Romans 8:28-29

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”

Everything works together and He has a purpose. And we are being conformed to the image of His Son.

Psalm 2 is also about the global kingship of Christ. Quoted 3 times in the NT (Act and twice in Hebrews), Psalm 2:7 says ” ‘I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” Psalm 2:7 is a reference to the Father/Son relationship of the trinity. The messiah will be established as king despite the Gentile Nation’s resistance. The message is clear. Kiss the Son or perish.

As we we go about life, we may not understand God’s purpose. It can be confusing. It may be not what we want. But we can trust the Lord and believe in the promises of our Sovereign God. Psalm 2:12- “Blessed are those who put their trust in Him.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 1.png

How  can we be happy? Isn’t this the pervading question of the culture. Everyone tries to pursue happiness. I can remember my first Christmas. The beaming sun was just coming up over the horizon. The radiating beams of light penetrated the thick, glassy windows. Ho! ho! ho! He’s here! I jumped out of my bed and ran down stairs; I suspected there was a treasure or something down there. Something good. I remember asking for pokemon cards. To my surprise, there were tons of presents! Rushing in anticipation, I opened every single one of them. Paper scattered everywhere in a hurry. The unveiling of what I had received was finally here. It was……..Monopoly. I had never played monopoly and was frankly pretty bummed out. I mean isn’t monopoly for the older kids? My point is that our happiness can come and fade. Sometimes it’s based on what we receive. Sometimes it’s based on our circumstances. But true happiness is found in the Lord and the word of God.

Psalm 1 is the first book of Psalms; Pslams is divided into 5 “books” although the book of Psalms is considered one book of the Bible. Psalm 1 is important. Chronologically speaking, Psalm 1 was not the first Psalm written; it was intentionally placed there. So we what can we learn about Psalm 1 and the truths presented? It is important! We can learn about happiness, our way of life, and the outcome of our way of life.

True Happiness

Psalm 1 starts with the word blessed. The Hebrew is Ashre meaning joy, contentment, happiness. I believe reading somewhere that the term is doubled. The Psalm starts out Ashre, Ashre. Doubly blessed. So how can we be happy in this life? The Psalm goes on to list three negatives and one verb of commission.

The three negatives

The three negatives outline what the Blessed man should not do. He should not

  1. Walk in the counsel of the Wicked
  2. Stand in the way of Sinners
  3. Sit in the seat of Scoffer

There is a progression of evil here; gradations of evil. Walking is not as bad as standing.  Standing is not as bad as sitting with scoffers.

You are a relationship manager

What are the implications from this passage? I believe our closest friends should be those that can help us conform to Christ’s image in deed and thought. People that spur us on to holiness which is essentially pursuing the Person of Christ. Christ in us. We are all busy. I’m not saying that we should avoid the world. We are called to engage the world with the Gospel. And show love to them. But our fellowship with others that are pursuing Christ is our choice. We can only be super close with a limited number of people. And we have to make decisions on who we want to spend a lot of our time with. As steer our ship in the waves of life, we need to make informed decisions on who our friends are. Our relationships are part of communing with Christ along with the Word and prayer. Pursuing the right friends is a blessing and you will be thankful

What does the Blessed man do?

The blessed man delights in the Law of the Lord. And this makes sense. God has a plan for us. He has a plan for you. He has a plan for me. As we read the Word of God, we are expressing our union with Christ by communing with Christ. Fellowshipping  with him. Getting direction for his heart, his purposes, and how we should live.

How is the Blessed person described?

The blessed man is described like a tree yielding fruit. They are stable, nourished, prosperous, fruitful. They are productive, spiritually maturing and conforming to Christ. He has Union with Christ. He is communing with Christ. And the fruits of the Spirit are evidently displayed in his life by producing the fruit of the Spirit.

2 paths

The wicked are described as the opposite of the blessed man. “The wicked are not so.” They are chaff. We can either follow the way of the wicked or the way of the righteous. Follow Christ or not follow Christ.

2 outcomes

The Lord knows the way of the righteous. He has saved them. They are going to Heaven. The Lord also knows the way of the wicked. They will perish.

Implication

We really can be happy by delighting in the Law of the Lord. The Gospel is the power of salvation to whoever believes accompanied by faith and repentance. It is the happy man that love the Word of God. In fact, it is the mark of a true believer. As we Abide in Christ and follow His Word, we can be happy. Following the way of life God has planned for us, following his purposes for His Glory.

 

 

 

Gift of Singleness

SINGLENESS-2

Single. Are you single? Do you desire a Spouse? These are all good desires. God given desires. However, our desires can overtake us to the point where the become idols. What should the perspective of a godly single be while waiting for a spouse?  Can we be happy being single? Why hasn’t God given me a wife? Why me? What’s wrong with me? You can be happy while single. In fact, I’d say that if you can’t be happy while single, it may be a red flag that you aren’t ready for marriage. Today I’m going to talk about how I think and act as a single to the glory of God.

Committing to Christ

As a single, I think the first thing we have to realize is that we are sinners! After all, what’s the first three letters in single? SIN. All kidding aside, singleness is a time to renew our thinking, check our hearts, and conform to Christ by committing to Christ. Committing to Christ, having union with Christ in us, and killing sin. As we pursue a life of obedience to Christ, we will be better prepared for marriage to serve our future wives well. What can we practically do to live as a Godly Single in the present age to the glory of God? What are the implications?

  1. Strive for Sanctification.
  2. Pray
  3. Read the Word; develop a reading plan
  4. Get disciple
  5. Go to church
  6. Serve in church
  7. make meaningful relationship
  8. get discipled
  9. Praise
  10. Establish Godly Patterns
  11. Put off Sin and Put on Christ.
  12. Always be ready to learn more
  13. Learn how to love. Love the people of God. Love Christ. Love the Church. Love His Word.

What are the implications of striving for these things?

The implications are astounding. As we pursue conformity to Christ, we conform in mind and deed. In thinking and action. We will start trusting in the promises of God and avoid worry. Start having True joy because we know we are saved. Because our fellowship with other Christians and our God is our foundation. There is an everlasting joy that is making us happy. If we can’t get this down as a single, how are we going to have joy within marriage? We need to practice being joyful as a single by the power of the Spirit. After all, joy is the second fruit mentioned in Galatians:5. Continually giving praise to God, and thanking God help with true Joy. I love reading Psalm 73 about the blessed man and trusting Him. Here is a brief list of how our conformity to Christ as we pursue him is impacted.

Conformity to Christ in Mind:

  1. True joy
  2. Trusting in his sovereignty and where he has you
  3. Fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, self Control.
  4. Thinking pure things (Philippians 4:8)
  5. A renewed mind resulting in a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:2)

I love romans:12. It starts with Therefore. The first 11 chapters of Romans are doctrinal and theological. Then in Chapter 12, the Apostle Paul tells us how to live out this life based on the doctrinal truths we have learned.

Conformity to Christ  in Action

  1. A renewed mind that manifests itself in godly action (Romans 12:2)
  2. Service in the Church
  3. Thinking of others first and doing something about it
  4. Purity in mind, heart, and body
  5. Separated unto God as instruments for Him and His purposes

The list goes on. This is by no means an exhaustive list. The point is that we need to commit to Christ in mind and action. How can we commit to our future spouse if we can’t commit to Christ first? Christ is the foundation; the rock that holds the marriage together. Practicing committing to Christ as a single will make it so much easier to be a great spouse. Committing to Christ involves loving Christ. Obedience to Christ. Pursuing Him with all your heart. Things we can reflect in our marriage.

What Now? How guys can pursue

Ok so maybe you are pursuing Christ. Maybe you are a Godly Single. What can you do now? I would say be intentional. The Bible calls us to work hard in many aspects of life. I believe this includes pursuing a spouse if you are a guy. A Godly wife won’t just drop down while you are playing video games. Men are called to lead themselves, lead their wife, and lead their future family. As a single, men can lead themselves by pursuing purity, establishing Godly disciplines, and Christlikeness. Take the initiative and ask her face to face. Look for women who seem to be displaying Christ like attributes. Who trust God with all their hearts. A women of God is hard to find. Anyone can profess Christ. But finding someone who loves the Lord with all their heart and all their soul truly is hard to find. Expect to get rejected. Keep persevering. The wait is worth it.

What can girls do?

Maybe girls can’t directly ask but they can be available. They can make it easy for the godly guys to ask them. Rejection hurts. It’s painful every time. Girls can encourage godly guys they reject to ask again. You can reject a guy in a nice way. One day the guy will ask the girl they will marry. Encourage them for that day.

The response

It’s just a fact. Most guys I talk to say their rejection rate is through the roof. It can hurt. Feelings of rejection, unworthiness can pop up. Questions of will I ever get married? The Godly Response is to keep trusting God. Thanking him for what you have. Keep asking. And keep pursuing Christlikeness no matter what he provides. The Christian life is not a contingent faith. It’s a faith that pursues no matter what is provided. We have been provided with salvation and will be eternally thankful. Pray for the girls that reject you. Memorize 1 Timothy 5:2 and treat all sisters with all purity. God may never provide a wife. How will you respond? In anger? Your response will show you where your heart is and how thankful you are for what God has provided. I think the proper response is to be pursuing Christlikeness and faith no matter what, every day, till the end of my days. Living for the blessed hope we have been promised.

Titus 2:11

 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

I’m single and I’d love a godly wife that can help us grow closer to God. At the same time, I have a blessed hope. And that’s all I need. I’ll always be eternally grateful. I’ll always be at church. I’ll always be serving. Because God is great. God saved me. And I have a transformed life. I am thankful.

 

 

 

 

Striving for Sanctification

Sanctification

Hello there! So I thought it might be helpful to define what sanctification actually is. I realized I tried to encourage you guys to pursue it but what exactly is it? Sanctification starts when someone is saved. It is a spirit enabled salvation that happens when someone believes in Christ. This is called Positional Sanctification.

When I say the means of sanctification, I’m talking about progressive sanctification; the means by which we become more holy and like Christ every day. It is a pursuit that we strive for, toil for, and struggle with. Become more like Christ is hard; it’s impossible! So why should we strive for sanctification and becoming more like Christ every day of our lives?

By striving for Sanctification, we mean that the  believer is working toward a goal. To become more like Christ. Philippians 2:12 says “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” This goal is not totally dependent upon the believer. It is working in conjunction with the Spirit.

  1. We do it becomes the Bible Commands it. We are to work out our salvation

It is our new desire. The Bible is clear that before we had an old life. A life that was subject to the power of sin, the flesh, the pride of life and the lust of the eyes. Now we have a new life in Christ and our heart has changed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Indeed we are new! New creations living for Him.

2. Our new desires in Christ should propel us to live for him and His glory

3. We want to remain in fellowship with God through our love

Sin separates us from God. The Spirit can be quench, be resisted, and grieved. Obedience stems from a love of God. 1 John 2:3 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him.” If we love God we will keep his commandments!

4. We delight in the Word of God

Being in the Word renews our mind and produces obedience because the Word sanctifies. 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

5. We want to set an example to an unbelieving World for the Gospel

We want the Gospel message to be heard and demonstrate that it has radically transformed us. 1 Timothy 4:16 “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” We need to set an example for believers and the world so the Gospel message is proclaimed by our actions.

6. We are eternally grateful and look forward to the blessed hope of Christ who we will give an account to one day.

Gratitude produces obedience. Titus 2:11 says “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

7. Obedience produces blessing from God, brings assurance of salvation, and propels further obedience

There’s something about setting a pattern of obedience. Obeying makes obeying more easier. It’ almost as if we are practicing obedience and doing it spurs on more obedience.

8. We trust in the Promises of God

Having a clear perspective on why we strive for holiness will ignite more holiness. In order to live for His glory we must be saved. I hope this perspective of living for Him was helpful. Again, I don’t believe the Christian life can be lived alone. I know what it’s like to go to a church and have zero friends. To feel like an outcast. To feel like you are  doing it all alone. Relationships take time. Forming meaningful friendships take a lot of time. We aren’t Christians on Sunday and Worldly the rest of the week. Being Christian is giving 100% every day. What is your identity? A basketball player isn’t a professional basketball player just on game days. He’s working every single day; he was able to get to that level because of the dedication he had. I hope this post was helpful. I remember being so lost when I first became a Christian. Directional living and knowing why you are doing it sets your life on a path toward the goal. It steers the ship in the right direction, getting to the destination that was predetermined beforehand. Let these insights be a blessing!

 

 

 

What does it mean to be a Christian?

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Hi! This is my first post and I’m excited to post what I’m learning about. Since this site is dedicated to Christianity, I’d like to post a few thoughts on what it means to be a Christian. In the past, I was so confused on what this actually meant. Why? Nowadays it seems like everyone is professing faith in Christ. Catholics, Mormons, Protestants, etc . will all say that they are Christian. However, they all believe radically different things. Do you wonder what it means to be Christian as well? How will we get our answer?

I think the first step in determining what it means to be a Christian is to establish what your authority for truth is. Many people will say you cant prove the Bible with the Bible. I don’t believe that statement is accurate. We all have to decide what our ultimate authority. And if that is the Bible, then it will come back to itself. It is a circular argument because indeed, the Bible does prove itself. It is the ultimate authority for truth.

So if the Bible is the Ultimate authority for truth, what does it mean to be a Christian? I have to be careful here. Many times verses are taken out of context etc. First and foremost, a Christian is someone who’s life has been radically transformed by God’s Grace through Faith. (Ephesians 2:8) This is called justification of positional sanctification. Whoever believes in Christ will have eternal life (John 3:16). It is a faith accompanied by repentance from sin only possible with the Holy Spirit. We are all sinners under God’s wrath. However, once we truly believe by God’s grace, our life will be radically transformed. (2 Corinthians 5:17.) It is this saving power that is the beginning of a miraculous life. A life that is directed toward His holiness, His paths, His righteousness, His purposes, His Heart, and His will. It is a life that is incalculably greater than the previous life. This life changes your friendships, your direction, your heart, your thinking patterns, and ultimately your character. And that makes sense. Because as we grow in Christ, we are emulating the Character of God; his attributes. His attributes such as His love, His forgiveness etc.

So what now? Maybe you are confused. I know I was. What does my life look like after I become a Christian? Am I supposed to be holy and just abide by a bunch of rules? Can I live however I want? The answer is no. Christians have a new heart to follow God’s ways. God’s ways are in the Bible which are His revealed will. It is the heart of the Christian to abide by these commands and strive for holiness every day. Sanctification (Progressive holiness) takes an aggressive effort. There is a war going on; spiritual warfare as outlined by Paul in Romans 7 and Galatians 5. It is the battle of the flesh and the Spirit. Our old ways and our New ways. Sin vs Righteousness. The idea is that as we progress through the Christian life, we will be empowered by the Spirit to conform more and more to Christ. The Word Sanctifies (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm:119) Friendships Sanctifies. Prayer Sanctifies. It is our goal, our motivation to live holy because God is Holy. Sin separates us from God. God sent us His Son and we have a new hope to live for Him and be in fellowship with him (Titus 2:11) Now we are holy which means we are separated unto God for Holiness for his purposes. We are instruments of His righteousness to be used.

The Pattern

So really, what does this look like on a daily basis? Well, believers are not blinded but enlightened to the truth of God. They are not under the Power of Sin. It should be in the believer’s heart to strive for the things of God. What does this include?

  1. Reading the Word-The Word Sanctifies. It is God’s plan for our life and we need to be in it. It is the believer’s desire and a mark of a true Christian (John:8)
  2. Fellowship- Get into a Bible believing church. Truth growth can’t happen without fellowship and discipleship. It may be able to happen to a certain extent, but the true fruit of it can’t be seen without the church. The Christian life isn’t meant to be lived isolated. It is a community of believers striving toward the same goal, loving each other and living life together as a witness to the World for the Gospel. The Gospel that Jesus died for our sins. And by believing and repenting through God’s grace, we can have eternal life. A life that strives for the hope of glorification and being in heaven one day. The day that has unlimited value; the day when we will give an account to Christ at the judgment seat of Christ ( The judgment for believers; the Bema seat)
  3. Prayer- Consistent prayer. Confessing sin to restore fellowship (1 John 1:9) This isn’t restoring fellowship as in being in and out of salvation; it’s cleansing us from sin and restoring the relationship of our great God with us. We need to be in continued relationship with God through prayer, confession, and reading his Word. Christ is in us (Galatians 2:20)
  4. Striving for holiness- In mind, body, Spirit. This is the desire of a true Christian; a result of the new nature

 

Is this a checklist? By no means. It shouldn’t feel like a checklist. These are just good, productive things that will make the life of a Christian easier to live. Easier to live out His commands. They are done out of a willing submission to the Father that comes from a heart only He can provide. And that is what the Christian life is about. A life that strives to go after the heart of God and what he wants for us. A life that trusts in His promises and lives those promises out. A life that is content with what he has provided. A transformed life.

-For His Glory