When a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, they go through a complete metamorphosis. That is a good picture of what happens to a follower of Jesus. They are transformed into a beautiful life. Part of that new life is that they are filled with the love of Jesus. The Apostle John tells us that we know we have crossed over when we show love to others.
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.”
Assurance of Salvation
The Apostle John was really big on the church showing its faith instead of just talking about it. When the Christians show their love for each other, they can be assured that they have passed from death into life. The love in our hearts for the people of the church has been placed there by Jesus Christ when we received the gift of salvation. Salvation removes the price tag of death on us due to our sin being forgiven. If there is evidence of love, then we know that we have passed over.
The person who does not love does not have that assurance and remains in death. This may seem like a lot of religious talk, but it is vital and straightforward. There are a lot of unloving people who profess to be Christians. A lack of love can signify that someone isn’t saved, but it can also be a sign that someone is steeped in unforgiven sin and needs to repent. Things like bitterness and hatred can sap and block our love. Only the grace of Jesus can overcome that.
Transformed Into a Beautiful Life
Romans 5:5 tells us that the Holy Spirit pours the love of Christ into our hearts. If you lack that love, you need to ask the Spirit to refill your heart or show you what sin is clogging up the spring. Love is also a muscle that we need to exercise. If you refuse to love, it will atrophy. Look for opportunities to show love to those who need it the most.
In the sport of boxing, it is just as essential to guard yourself against your opponent’s punches as it is to punch them. Every good coach will tell you, “Don’t let your guard down.” The minute you drop your gloves opens your face to being hit. Christians have to be just as vigilant in keeping their guard up when it comes to temptation. As soon as you let your guard down, Satan will pound you with opportunities to sin.
“I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?”
A Moment of Indulgence
Job wrote this at the end of his trials. Notice his resolve. With all that he has lost and endured, he didn’t let his guard down. He is not giving himself any room to sin even though he has been through so much. I’ve seen this happen a thousand times. Someone goes through a trying period in their life, and they remain faithful to God and persevere but then as it gets towards the end, and things start to look up, they let their guard down and give in to a moment of self-indulgence. Job resolves that he won’t give in to the temptation to look at another woman.
Sexual sin is one of the most difficult because it comes at you from different angles. There is the obvious temptation of looking at porn on the internet, but it goes way beyond that. It could be a warm spring day, and a young woman is dressed provocatively crosses your path, and it sends your mind off on thoughts that are not pure. It could also start as simple flirting in the office but devolve into an affair. No one is immune to the draw of this kind of temptation.
Don’t let your guard down
The key is to guard your eyes and your mind. You can’t protect your eyes from everything that crosses your path, but you can make sure that the thoughts in your mind don’t get out of control. The Apostle Paul tells us to take every thought captive. That means an impure thought may come in, but you nip it in the bud before it grows out of control. You do that by recognizing it is wrong, asking God to help you, and then refocusing your mind on things above. Don’t let your guard down.
One of the stated goals I hear over and over as a pastor is “I just want to be happy.” When I delve deeper into what that means for the person, I start to realize it’s a moving target that they will never hit because once they get close to it, they start to want something else. Yet, people endlessly pursue it because they are so unhappy with their life. Jesus tells us that doing the will of God should be our aim, and it will bring what our heart needs.
“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
Believe in Jesus
God’s will is that everyone believes in His Son and is resurrected to eternal life when He returns. That’s pretty profound. We make it a lot more complicated than it really is. Believe in Jesus and live by faith each day and let God take care of the rest. If we worried less about the details and focused more on the big picture, a lot of the stress and worry would go away.
Too many people want a neon sign telling them what to do when it comes to the big decisions in their lives. Who should I marry? What career path should I pursue? Should I move or stay where I am? If God isn’t answering those questions, then continue on the path you are on and be faithful in what you have been given. Trusting God to take care of the rest will relieve you of all of the wasted hours obsessing over it.
Doing the Will of God
Our finish line is heaven, not a nice house or perfect mate. If God blesses us with those, then take time to thank Him. If not, then continue doing what He has you doing right now. I understand you may not be happy, and life may be difficult, but here is a secret to life that few will let you in on. Happiness is not a goal. Faithfulness is. Happiness comes from being faithful to God in what He has given you. Stop focusing on trying to be happy and start being faithful.
One of the church’s greatest strengths should be its fellowship. A church strong in fellowship will be a magnet to the world and a defense shield against the devil. When fellowship isn’t there, the church becomes weak and can repel the lost. Come into the Light, and that starts with coming as a clean vessel.
but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Expose the Darkness
Light exposes darkness. In our spiritual life, the light of Christ shines on the areas of our life where we need to repent. When we walk in that light, it means we have a clean conscience, and thus we can have true fellowship with one another because there is no sin holding us back. That is possible because the blood of Jesus cleanses us. That is when the church is at its strongest and can repel the enemy’s attacks. When we walk around with unconfessed sin, it makes us susceptible to skin and diminishes the fellowship.
True fellowship is lacking in the church because so many people are playing charades. They are acting like they got it together when underneath there is a lot of hidden sin. When people are in this state, they avoid others or act fake. This isn’t fooling anybody, and it’s hurting the local church by limiting what it was intended. Fellowship is a force that the world can’t match. When the church is united and in one accord (true fellowship), it is a force to be reckoned with. Sadly, more Christians are afraid of the light of Christ than they are the attacks of the enemy.
Come Into the Light
Do your part to bring unity to the church by allowing the cleansing blood of Jesus to purify your heart. When our heart is clean, the love of Christ can flood in, and then we can, in turn, love others the way Scripture commands. We need this more than ever as it gets closer to Christ returning.
I get emails from subscribers to this devotional with really insightful questions and comments from time to time. Most of them are thankful for how this devotional has blessed them. I am so appreciative of those who take the time to do so. Others send questions that the morning devotional spurred in them and want further clarification. One question last week stemmed from the fear of the Lord and led to a discussion about the judgment of God. Today’s passage shows us that believers will not come into judgment.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Jesus is sharing about the power and authority given to Him because the religious elite opposes Him. He tells his listeners that those who “hear His words and believe them has eternal life and does not come into judgment.” Let’s unpack that for a second. First, this is directed at the Pharisees and Scribes who hear Jesus preach and don’t believe Him. They won’t have eternal life but will stand before Him on Judgment day. Second, it is directed at us because if we have the faith to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, we are given eternal life, victory over death, and don’t have to go through Judgment day.
Does this mean that Christians aren’t judged by God or have to answer for the life we have lived? No. While on earth, God still chastens those He loves when they get out of line. When we are in heaven, we will have to stand before Jesus and give an account of the life that we have lived. We will be rewarded based on that. So there is judgment in that sense, but we cannot be damned to hell. If that were the case, it would make Jesus’ death on the cross null and void because grace would lose its power.
The Judgment of God
The important point to focus on is that we are given eternal life in Jesus when we put our faith in Him. Nothing can take that away from you. The judgment of Christ is reserved for those who have rejected Him. Walk in the assurance of your salvation today as you revel in the fact that you have been plucked from death.
The days are getting short, and God is getting serious about sending His Son for the church. Most of the church has been caught unaware, but a remnant has heard the clarion call. Revival is coming, and you need to be ready. There is going to be a harvest of souls, unlike the church has never seen. God is going to need His workers to disciple them.
Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.
These are some of the final words spoken to Daniel. The Angel is telling him what the future is going to hold. In this verse, we learn that there will be a great many people who will be purified, made white, and refined by the fire of the Holy Spirit. These are the people who will come to Christ in the great revival talked about in Revelation 7:9-10. We haven’t seen this yet, but we are starting to see the wickedness. How do we know that this has to do with the tribulation and end times? The wicked don’t even realize or understand what they are doing is evil, but the wise see it clearly.
We are in times of great wickedness. There is no shame from those who do it, and they mock and cancel those who raise a voice of opposition. The wicked seem to look at themselves as righteous for standing for their causes. This makes it difficult for Christians to live their faith because they are in the ever-decreasing minority. This is why Jesus told us those who endure till the end will be saved. Many will forsake their faith out of fear of the opposition. It will be as if doing right is perceived as evil.
Revival is Coming
Revival is coming! You best get ready. Are you purified, cleansed, and refined? It’s not too late, but soon it will be. The times of playing games and acting the part of a Christian is over. God is purging the church and sifting the believers. You better get serious about your faith. If there are sins to confess, do it now. Let the Holy Spirit do the cleansing necessary.