Sunday, March 1, 2020

What are you doing?

Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 14:19 

A mark of spiritual maturity is a willingness to sacrifice personal comfort in order to strengthen other believers. Paul urges Christians to pursue only activities that promote peace and behavior that builds up others. To pursue means to passionately focus one's undistracted effort toward a goal. This is not a casual matter. It involves using all the resources God has given us to ensure growth and peace in the life of a fellow Christian. To the Colossian church, Paul said he labored, “striving … to present every man perfect in Christ” (Col. 1:28—29). This took concentration and effort! For Paul, choosing to edify Christians meant refraining from any activity that caused others to stumble. He did not concern himself with his own rights or comforts because his greater priority, over his personal freedom, was to lead others to Christian maturity (1 Cor. 14:12, 26). This is how Jesus related to His disciples. He taught them that they could express no greater love than to lay down their lives for one another (John 15:13). As Christians, we ought to be so devoted to strengthening one another's faith that we pursue this goal relentlessly, even if it means laying down our own lives. This behavior characterized the early churches (Acts 2:40—47). This is what love is like among God's people (Gal. 6:9—10). As God reveals to you what those around you need in order to grow in their faith, be prepared to make the necessary sacrifice on behalf of your fellow Christians (Col. 1:29). - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

It's an interesting shift in thinking.  

We watch television and movies, can see the so-called fruits of people setting ridiculous goals and expectations and because of the plot lines they achieve them.  These other-world experiences we unwittingly take into our subconscious and start believing we deserve this or that.  This look or that vehicle. 

It always begins as a child.  Firmly holding onto what we perceive is 'mine'.  Interesting, at least for me, is Jesus says we must come as a child to Him for Salvation.  In that scene we want what is ours to receive from Him.  

But this perception of 'mine' in regards to looks, possessions or anything else is in direct opposition to what a follower of Christ is to be about.  It's not about us.  Right after confessing that indeed Jesus is the Christ, Peter goes straight to a bit of selfish talk and is called out on it by Jesus. 

It's really a really quick, really deep seduction to the way we think.  Mainly because it's to do with what we think we ought to have or be like.   

Freedom in Christ comes from letting go of what we think we ought to have or be like. 

It's sadly taken decades of my life to learn the value in letting go.  Everything that I feared was for nothing.  I don't miss what I have given up.  Either in possessions or activities.  My place, as a Disciple of Christ is to follow Him, doing what He is doing, behaving as He behaves. Obeying as He obeyed.   The more that I do that, the richer my life becomes.  

What are you doing?  It's funny to me how in the English language you can say the exact same words, barely put the accent in a different part of a word and totally change the meaning of the sentence. 
WHAT are you doing?
WHAT are YOU doing?
What are you DOING?

Really.  What are you doing? Are you living for yourself or Jesus?  Are you seeking out financial security over obedience to God? Are you seeking out everything there is to see in this world rather that to be where God wanted you, doing what He wanted?

We as Christians are not here to live for self.  It's another reason the term retirement doesn't apply to us.  We have a mission until our last breath to achieve for Christ.  We may be blessed to see His creation in traveling but our mission is still people. As one put it, we aren't to come to Christ only to sit on our blessed assurance every day.  We have a mission to complete.  Yes, Jesus taught us that rest, away from things is necessary, but He always brought His Disciples back into the game.  The business of the Father still needed to be done.  If we are living for ourselves then we are not about the Father's business. 

What about hobbies?  Read what was just said. There's value in down time.  It's necessary.  Permanent down time is not allowed.  It's then we become useless to completing the Father's business. 

There's much compared in Scripture between a life of a soldier and that of a believer.  Soldiers have R&R. So must we. 

Soldiers live in obedience to those they swore an allegiance to. 

We as believers are to do the same in regards to living for Christ. 

Scripture tells us plainly that we should avoid things that cause us to stumble.  If it's slowing down your walk with God, get rid of it.  Jesus said we cannot serve two masters.  It's not just in regards to money.  We literally do not have the capacity to serve ourselves and others at the same time.  Oh we will always try but the efforts certainly are never 100% towards either ourselves or the people our efforts went towards. 

So what are you doing for Jesus?  We layer ourselves in so many chains of our own making.  Things we buy things we take on that will never help us in becoming more like Christ.  

I still am finding things that He isn't suggesting that I get rid of, He's telling me to get rid of, out of my life.  We often fight back with a whine about how much that cost to get or how much it's worth.  

Jesus still replies with "You. You follow Me."

Life as a Christian isn't going to be all sunshine and roses. It's going to have heartache and heartbreak. It's going to have pain and loss of self. It's going to eventually bring about more joy than you can handle as you let go of self and obey more.  To find that peace that passes all understanding you have to obey and let go of you, making room for more of Christ. 

So, what are you doing?

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