Faith Check

Today is a little bit of a faith check for you in your walk with Christ. 1 John 1-3 is chock full of encouragement to know God by following Jesus and that we can know we are doing this if our lives are evident of it. We can know that we are following Jesus if we are living in the light and if we are then we will have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all of our sin (1 John 1:5-7).

John reminded his readers that God is light and that there is no darkness within him so if those who claim to follow Christ are filled with darkness then they are fooling themselves. He also went on to say that IF we are following Jesus “then we will have fellowship with one another” (1 Jn. 1:7). This is expounded upon further when he said that

If anyone claims, “I am living in the light,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is still living in darkness. Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness (1 Jn. 2:9-11).

If anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and anyone who hates a fellow believer is living and walking in darkness then is there a middle ground? Can we be indifferent towards one another and still walk in the light? If gray is a mix of white and black then if we are living in a gray zone can we truly say that we are walking in the light?

We were created to love God and to walk in fellowship with Him and with one another. When we fail to do this we are not realizing the fullness of God’s love for us nor are we able to fully live in the light that God has called us to live in.

1 John 3:18-24
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

Our reflection of the light of our Father is dimmed by the darkness that we live in. When we are not living our lives fully in the light then we become marred by the darkness and our lives are less pure. In other words, when we are in true fellowship with God it will be reflected in our lives.

Living lives that are fully devoted to Christ creates a faith within us that is revealed through our actions, through our attitude, and through our relationships. We will make time for others because of the overwhelming love of God who wants all to come to Him to be restored. We will no longer be indifferent towards others, but we will love them regardless and we will have enough faith to stand in the path of the enemy and to speak life into their lives.

Try as we might, we cannot truly know who God is without each other. Our knowledge will never leave our head to infiltrate our heart and our lives if we try to do it alone and we never be effective in telling others about Christ if we do not love Him with all of our hearts or if we do not love the one in whom we are telling. Love is a choice and our actions are a result of that choice.

What are your actions saying about your choice to follow Jesus? Are they saying that I am just in this for me or are they truly reflecting the light of the Father and saying that the Father’s love is within me and I will do everything I can to share that love with the world and to bring people back into a right relationship with Him?

Life is different for most of us in America because we do not live life in community. The majority of us do not live with our families so we do not understand the strength that comes from relying upon one another, nor do we value one another as much because we are conditioned to believe that if we want something then the only thing that is stopping us from getting it is how hard we work for it. How much more would our lives be blessed if instead of living for ourselves we lived for those around us? Not only would we be blessing others, but they would be blessing us and we would all grow closer to Christ in the process.

We cannot and must not do this alone and anyone who thinks that they can has been fooled by the enemy and is walking in darkness. Anyone who believes they can do it alone has already chosen to do it alone and is missing out on the fullness of what God has for them in their life. We all need to learn how to think about ourselves less and to think about others more and when we do we will see more of God’s truth in our lives.

Light up the Darkness

Life has a way of getting us to see the negative side of things rather than the good in things, as well as people for that matter, but it does not have to be that way. Bad things are always going to happen and there are always going to be negative people around us, but we do not have to allow it to impact the way we act or feel. From personal experience I know this to be very difficult, but we can do all things through Christ, who give us strength (Phil. 4:13). If we put our mind to seeing the positive and not letting the negative get us down because of Christ living within us we can actually change the environment around us.

Colossians 3:23 says that we are to “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” This verse is speaking about obedience to those in authority over us, but at the core of things either God or Satan is the authority over us. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as both our Lord and Savior, in others words if we have chosen to submit to him and follow him than we no longer have to obey Satan when he tries to tell us that we should be negative, angry, jealous, or any other feeling that we tend to go through when things don’t seem to be going quite right.

As Christians we have a light within us because of Jesus Christ that gives us both the power and the authority to change things around us, not for our glory but for God’s.

2 Corinthians 4:5-6
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.

When we allow our hearts to be overwhelmed by the glory of God we cannot help but to reflect that light. The opposite is true when we do not keep our eyes fixed on the things above and we become overwhelmed by the darkness around us and instead of reflecting light we cover it up and let the darkness prevail.

Following Jesus is not just about being saved, praise God we have that opportunity, but it is also about having a full and satisfying life here on earth, regardless of what our circumstances are. If you find that you are currently in a place of darkness where nothing seems to be going right then why not choose to see the light and eventually with diligence you will begin to sense a change within you and you will begin to naturally see things differently. When we do this we have the opportunity to show others that life can be better as well, but it is always a choice.

May God’s light shine through you as you focus on him in all of his glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Numbers 6:24-26
24 ‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’

“Live at Peace with Everyone”

The beginning of the work week can be so difficult to start off correctly. For most of us we do not rest properly, we do not take heed to the Sabbath and it is to our demise. We run around with so much to do, some things are for good, but often times the things we do have no heavenly value. By the time the weekend is over we are so tired that Monday seems to drag on and I know for me that I can be a bit more irritable than normal, but the choices that I made should not be transferred upon anyone. Today let’s focus on bringing joy into the lives of those around us, especially those who had a bad weekend or are particularly tired today. It is our job to bring light and joy into the world, not evil, even when we are dealt evil.

Romans 12:17-21, New International Version (NIV)

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Hell_vs_heaven_by_skrigbaum872002“Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone” today and this week. I know that for me I do not fear the wrath of the Lord enough. I have been taught all about His immense love, but I believe we only reap the blessings from that love when we are obedient to His word through and through. So when God says not to “repay anyone evil for evil” we should be taking a proactive approach and do what we can to ensure that the evil is not done in the first place. When true light shines it is difficult for darkness to be present, so be the light today. Don’t let the world be overcome by darkness because of your fear or your insecurities because their is only one difference between your’s and the person’s who is out there making a difference and that is that they act in their fear and insecurities, so take action and let your little light shine.

Father, thank you for the weekend and for the rest that I was able to receive. Forgive me where I did not follow the path that you laid before me, I get so easily distracted. I give you my focus today and I pray for your strength and perseverance as I take your words to heart and present my light to the world. May my light shine brightly and when I become weak I ask for your strength. Teach me today how to grow and how to step out in faith into the dark world around me. You are so merciful and a wonderful protector. I know that you will always do what is best with me as long as I am obedient to you. I am only minutely aware of what kind of persecution I may be asked to endure, but I don’t want to simply sit on the sidelines while people are being overcome by the forces of darkness all around me. Strengthen me Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.