Whenever you watch a sporting event and see the champion crowned, it is a magical moment. That victory is the fulfillment of years of hard work and sacrifice. They are elated beyond comprehension in realizing their goals. Strangely, Christians have no idea that they are victorious in Jesus Christ. They walk around with their heads hanging, worrying about every little thing. Jesus has overcome the world, and the victory is yours.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Battle with the Flesh
We live in a daily battle between the flesh and the Spirit. As children of God, we have overcome the world because we have died to the old man and have been resurrected to our new life in Christ. Death and Hell no longer has a grip on us because our eternity is secure in Christ. Nothing or no one can take that away from you. Yet we still struggle with sin that separates us from God and brings undue guilt upon us. We can overcome that by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8 tells us how the Holy Spirit helps you to die to your old life and the sins that continue to entrap you. It happens by us submitting to the leading of the Spirit in our life. This happens on multiple levels. First, you replace the garbage you have been putting into your minds with the things of God. Next, you surround yourself with like-minded people who are going to build you up. Finally, you listen to that voice in your heart. If it is the Holy Spirit, it is going to be leading you towards Jesus.
The Victory is Yours
He who is in you (Jesus and the Spirit) is greater than anything in this world. The world can throw its best weapons at you, and they are no match for the Almighty God that is in you. Satan will try to deceive you by planting doubt and discouragement in you. Cast all of those feelings on Jesus because His burden is light. Stand firm on the Word of God and in Prayer. You will overcome the evil one. The victory is yours.
Everyone wants their life to mean something. What that means is something different to everyone. Some want fame or fortune while others want to be surrounded by family. What is your motivation? As a Christian, you are called to live with purpose, but that purpose isn’t your own. It comes from the Lord.
“For none of us lives for himself, and no one dies for himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
One Life to Live
You only have one life to live, so you better live it for something besides yourself. Living for yourself is not only selfish; it is boring and lonely. When we live to build others up, it brings purpose and but also joy. The one we should live for the most is Jesus Christ. Not only are we obligated for all that He has done, but nothing gives us more satisfaction than to carry out His mission.
Some of us will be called to die for others. Soldiers have this calling when they go to war and die fighting for freedom. Missionaries can also be a martyr when they go to share the gospel in a hostile country. These may choose that path, but God can also use the death of an ordinary person for His glory. I’ve seen beautiful children die of cancer and, in the process, touch thousands of people’s lives with the love of Jesus.
Live with Purpose
Chose to live with purpose. Freely give yourself away to those who can’t afford to pay you back. Do it all to give the Lord glory, and don’t worry about the outcome. We belong to the Lord, and when we submit to whatever He has called us to, it fills us with incredible purpose and joy. No one around you may understand it, but you have peace.
We once had a neighbor who wouldn’t return our kid’s balls that went over their fence. They would pop them and even yell at our kids if they went and asked for them. They were difficult people to live next to and even more so love. I wish I could tell you that it all worked out, but I can’t. We moved shortly after and haven’t seen them again. These are the circumstances that challenge our faith. Don’t wrong your neighbor, but look for ways to love them.
“Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”
Easier Said than Done
I don’t know how many times in the Bible it tells us to love our neighbor, but it is there enough to realize that we should do it and also understand it is probably a problem. We are called to love our neighbors. We could debate who that includes, but let’s focus on those who live right next to us. We are to love them unconditionally. That means we do it whether they love us back. It is a demonstration of our faith in Jesus, and it keeps us humble.
Paul tells us that love does no wrong to a neighbor. Why does he say neighbor? We can choose our friends, but we usually can’t decide who lives next to us. He understands that people are challenging to live with. All of us have had that neighbor that unbearable. We might even be that neighbor. All we want to do is avoid that person at all costs; we might also harbor feelings of getting back at them for something they have done to us. True love does no wrong to anyone. We are called to love everyone because it is the fulfillment being devoted to Jesus
Don’t Wrong Your Neighbor
Love is often the biggest test of our faith. We can give our time, but it is much harder to give our hearts to someone who might hurt it. I want to encourage you to push through those feelings. If you have hurt someone go and ask forgiveness and make things right. When we love our neighbors, we are most like Jesus.
Automation has its benefits, but it is also endangering us from losing some of the precious crafts from artisans that have been around for thousands of years. One of those trades is pottery. There is something magical about watching clay in the potter’s hand. With pure grace, he can shape wet mud into a work of art. Did you know that you are just like that in God’s hands?
House of Israel, can I not treat you as this potter treats his clay?” — this is the Lord’s declaration. “Just like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.
A Beautiful Vessel
Many of us want to trust that God is sovereign and in control, but it is hard. Jeremiah reminds us of this vital truth by using the potter’s clay metaphor. The potter works with his clay as the wheel spins (think Earth), and he molds us and shapes us into the vessel he chooses. He always has the best interest of the clay in his hand and wants it to be something that he is proud of and will be productive after it is completed. That is precisely what God has in mind for us.
This is a beautiful thought for most believers, but some have a hard time. They want to choose what they do with their lives and, to a certain extent, they do. They can choose to be pliable clay, or they can choose to be impure and challenging to maneuver. The great thing is that God doesn’t get frustrated and cast us off. He simply starts over and begins the process of molding again. That’s why you see so many Christians go through the same thing over and over because they get so far, and it all falls apart.
Clay in a Potter’s Hand
There are three stages a vessel must go through to be usable. It must be molded; then, it must dry out, and then finally, it must go through the fire. If the vessel fails at any of these stages, it is useless. This is an excellent example of discipleship. God is using life to mold us, making us wait to learn faith, and finally putting us through the fire (trials) to remove the strengthen us. Each stage is necessary, and we need to learn how to walk the journey with Jesus through each one.
How do you know someone is authentic? What makes you sure you can trust what they say? One tried and true method is to watch the person live their lives over time. It will tell you if they keep their word or are all talk. As Christians, we show the world we are followers of Jesus by keeping His Word. Let your actions speak louder than your words.
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.
Judged by Your Actions
A Christian isn’t judged by the words that come out of his mouth, but by his actions. He walks the walk. That happens by following the commandments of Scripture. Those who say they “know Jesus” but don’t obey His Word are only fooling themselves. The world is watching, and they are judging you based on how you treat others, what comes out of your mouth, and how you react to difficulty. We should be walking the way Jesus walked.
Love is perfected in those who closely follow the Lord. There is a peaceful assurance that rests upon their souls. They don’t doubt the love of Jesus, and they know their sins are forgiven. Guilt and shame may creep in, but it is put away by the love that is being poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5). As time goes on, we feel closer and closer to the Lord.
Your Actions Speak Louder than Your Words
Let your actions speak louder than your words. Be so full of integrity and humility that when you do speak of Jesus, there is an audience waiting to hear from you. This comes about by being filled and led by the Holy Spirit. You can’t do this under your own power. As we follow His leading, He leads us towards holiness.
Most of the human mind goes untapped in its capabilities. Even those considered geniuses only use a small fraction of what it is capable of. Yet Jesus tells us that the brain is fertile ground that can be used for good or evil. What are you allowing into your mind? Is it a steady diet of popular culture? If so, it may be time to transform your mind so that you can know the perfect will of God.
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Bombarded Every Day
This is one of the most well-known Scriptures in all of the Bible. Paul tells us not to be swayed or conform to this world but to transform our minds. The process of transformation happens by us, renewing our minds. Studies show that we are bombarded with over 10,000 images a day. Most of those are meant to get us to buy something, and many are suggestive in areas we don’t need to go. We need to renew our minds by washing it with the water of the Word of God and letting Scripture scrub that grime away and replace it with the glory of God.
One of the benefits of transforming your mind is that it will train you to discern what is good and pleasing to God. It will show you the perfect will of God and will produce a peace you can’t get anywhere else. We need more Christians who can discern between good and bad. Too many people are tripped up by their sin because they believe the wrong things. When we know what is good and pleasing to the Lord, it is easier to walk in His perfect will.
Transform Your Mind
Transform your mind. Don’t be a sponge soaking up everything the ungodly says. Renew it by getting into your mind those things that glorify the Lord and eliminating everything that is considered evil. Be sharp and ready for any spiritual attack Satan may bring against you. Memorize Scripture so that you can wield it like a sword when you are under attack.