by David Brenneman
"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters." 1 John 3:16 NASB
"So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin."
James 4:17 NASB
""For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose on their behalf." 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NASB
In Christ we are commanded to deny ourselves, to take up our own cross and follow Him.
The world in which we live wants us to live for self instead. To gain notoriety. To puff up oneself. To go for whatever makes us happy. To some this means even stepping on others to get there.
Sin is committed when we know full well what the Spirit of God is saying to us and we reject it to do our own thing.
Sin is to cause us discomfort and pain if our hearts are not hardened to it.
It is an interesting study on things we ought to be doing that are exactly like what Jesus said. They aren't burdensome but we choose not to do them. Why?
We strive for success as the world sees it and we totally miss success as God sees it.
We strive for recognition and remembrance in this world and miss out on laying up treasures in Heaven.
We seek first our own kingdom rather than His.
This isn't my opinion. Read this about people in the last days.
"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such people as these. For among them are those who slip into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, worthless in regard to the faith." 2 Timothy 3:2-8 NASB
We read of evil men and impostors infiltrating the Church. Teaching as doctrines their own thoughts and ideas.
We're told to guard our hearts. Protect what we have been entrusted with in Christ Jesus. Do you?
Or are you giving the world slack in your life, subtly influencing your every thought?
In this too, we are commanded to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus. Do you ever put up a fight concerning your thoughts?
Do you ever lay ahold of the defensive tools that the Spirit has given you?
We aren't meant to make this world our home anymore after we come to Christ for salvation. We become workers in His harvest while He, through the Spirit, works a work in us.
Our ought to should be found in our obedience to God's Word and His plan for our lives. It shouldn't be in trying to create our own little kingdom of our very own.
Striving to learn what it is to be a Disciple is what the 12 committed to by agreeing to follow Jesus. What did they say of themselves? That they had left everything to follow Jesus. What was Jesus's response?
"Then Peter responded and said to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?” And Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms on account of My name, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last, first." Matthew 19:27-30 NASB
So take a very very good look at your motivations. Look at why you live the way you are. It might not be what "good" is supposed to be. Your "good" life just might be exactly what the enemy of God wants you to be living...and God's waiting for you to return to Him. Much is found in the story of the Prodigal Son. Much more if you look deeper into it.
God's not talking about ruining your life. He said He came to give us life, but not just life, life more abundant. A life that sees our lives changing and changes the lives of others.
If you aren't growing in Christ, stop n find out why.
If you are constantly struggling with things in life or people, make sure it's not because you're disconnected from God.
If you are not struggling at all in any area of your life...be careful. Make sure you are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. You indeed may be living a good, peaceful, life. But the sanctification process does not end for us while we are in this sinful body. The workmanship of Jesus doesn't stop until we are like Him in His presence in Heaven. There's nobody who has arrived.
Look to see that you aren't pursuing your own agenda and not a life fully devoted to Christ. As Peter said, where could they go? Jesus had the words of life.
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