1 John 5:12 “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
The term Life is revealed in the greek word Zoe; it is characterized by both the physical (present) and of the spiritual (particularly future) existence.
What does it mean to experience life? Is it finding a career, having children, growing a family, attaining power or influence, or could it be something else?
There are many people that haven’t experienced any of these things, does that mean they don’t know what life is? What about those who may of had these things and then lost them, does that mean their life is now over?
I think it’s important to ask these questions. By doing so, it places the aspects of life into perspective and allows us to keep our focus on what life is meant to be.
We invest so much time and energy into into our lives with the hope to make them better, let’s look at them in light of God’s perspective and see what is revealed…..
Children are a gift
Proverbs 23:24 “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice,
And he who begets a wise child will delight in him.
Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice.”
When it comes to raising children, I’ve seen it done really well and very poorly. I’ve often talked with those who live on the streets they tell me that it was better to be homeless than to live in a house with their abusive family. There seems to be no end to the poor examples of parenting I hear about on a near daily basis. Much of what the world pursues is what is being taught to children today, it is the very definition of bad parenting. The gender confusion forced upon children is criminal at best.
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
If only we had more news that glorified good parenting, there are people who do a very good job but are overshadowed by a world agenda. A mother or father that teaches their children manners, respect, honor, and instills values that develop godly character would be a good start. I’ve met many people like that, and I know there are many in this world who succeeded in honoring the Lord in their parenting.
If the Lord has blessed you with children, that is a significant part of your life and the basic role of a parent must be more than food, clothing, and shelter.
Proverbs 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
What is the way we should train them?
The values we hold as significant in our lives, are the values our children will see. We can talk all day about expectations but unless we live it before them, our words carry no weight.
Where do you get your values?
Do you rely on what your parents taught or how they trained you? Did your parents exert good judgement and godly character into their parenting? If not, you could be replicating error that cascades down into subsequent generations.
The term for training, is taken from the Hebrew word Chanak, meaning to narrow. What is the first scripture that comes to mind when you mention narrow?
Matthew 7:14 “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
The path we are to lead our children on should be God’s path.
Unless we ourselves are walking this path of righteousness, we will wrestle with instilling these same values into our children. After raising 4 kids of my own, I know how difficult it is to be a perfect parent. Having not achieved this distinction, I realize the necessity of grace and humility. When we make mistakes, and we will, the ability to humble ourselves and admit our mistakes is very useful in showing our kids what to do in the midst of failure.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
The process of passing on godliness is a full time job. Whether you are influencing your children or someone else’s, the constant reminder of walking in holiness has its reward when these young ones become adults.
I have seen the principles of godly teaching while sharing the gospel with people who had never spent any time in church other than as small children. While speaking with them, they will tell me how those early years had influenced them throughout their lives. I was surprised how a very limited window of instruction can set someone toward Christ years later.
Don’t ever discount the time spent in godly teaching.
Honoring God in our Work
Do you honor the Lord in your work?
I know from personal experience, a majority of my life is spent at my job. For me working 8 hours/day, 5 days/week, and occasional call weekends, the people I spend a large portion of my time with are my co-workers.
Work is a necessary means to living. If you don’t work, you must have some other income to survive. Some people are on disability, other’s may be retired but the crux of it is, someone is working to feed you. The state has money coming in because there are people working that pay taxes, that then in turn are used to help others in society.
How do we bring our work into subjection with True Life?
I would have to say, my time at work is my greatest challenge in my walk with Christ. Working in close knit quarters with people who are not believers, who are dealing with all the pressures of their job and life can be a daily challenge. The world lives contrary to the model Jesus portrayed, it will not be easy being around people who hold views that are not in accordance with godliness.
Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”
Early in my career, I had a guy tell me straight up he was going to try and get me fired because of my Christian faith. The Lord taught me a valuable lesson during that time of trusting in Him, being patient through adversity, and understanding how to listen to God’s voice as He leads me through the dark valley. I understood back then how much God takes interest in our small affairs. God always proves Himself faithful.
I’ve learned since then to pray before work, the Lord opens doors for evangelism that I don’t have to strive after, they just come naturally.
The Lord will lead us through a difficult day or week and teach us godly character if we will trust Him. The process of being found faithful in our work is a way God grows us in our walk with Him. If I look at my work and the people I work with as a responsibility to influence toward godliness, then I approach my job with a mindset of Christ. The world pushes the goal as gaining position or power, the Lord reminds us we are His ambassadors, regardless of who it is we are representative to.
John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.”
Serving God to your Capacity
What about those of us who cannot work? There are many instances where people’s bodies just won’t cooperate enough to sustain that type of regiment.
I’ve learned, the Lord can use anyone, anytime, at any place.
Just because you aren’t able to do a particular job, does not diminish the capacity of your influence in the world. Whether someone is disabled from injury or they are born with their condition, their value in God’s Kingdom has no less value. Usually, a disability opens doors that others have no access to. The ability to inspire, encourage, or just show love is not relegated to one subset of the population, often times I’ve seen those with a disability have a sensitivity to others that is heightened in their awareness of others weaknesses. Empathy, kindness, or a caring hug lifts peoples spirits at just the right time. As long as our focus is outward and not inward, we will be able to see others as God sees them.
I’ve known folks with down syndrome who could barely speak respond to the question, “Who loves you?”, and their response was, “Jesus loves me!”. The joy in their faces from some of the smallest of pleasures reminds those around them to not lose sight of the things that matter.
Life can at times consist of small, seemingly unimportant decisions. The way I might respond to a hello, the person who asks for a dollar on the street corner, the way I respond to someone who is upset, or any small gesture of kindness and love can impact others as well as change the course of their life. There are times when we can speak the truth of God in love and leave an impact for Christ in someone’s life or just respond like everyone else with a simple gesture that leaves them in the same place they were before. A timely prayer for a person who shares with you their burden or an attempt to go out of our way for someone else are moments that we may never get again.
These are the events that happen each day that compromise the one life that we have to live.
Jesus was asked once by a lawyer what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus answered him with the summary of the Moral Law–loving God and loving your neighbor. The lawyer then asked, who is my neighbor, which in turn Jesus gave the parable about a person from Samaria, someone the jews despised at that time.
Luke 10:30-37 “Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
The question the lawyer asked was a baited question, “what must I do”, is a proposition that is impossible to fulfill. Unless you can fulfill the obligations of the Moral law perfectly, you can never earn your way into eternal life.
Jesus earned the way, it’s our responsibility to follow His way in what that life looks like.
The man or woman of God that embraces the life of Christ in them, will find the life that He gave. This is only achieved through humility and a contrite spirit. The same promise that God gave Israel as a nation, is the same promise he makes to you today.
Ezekiel 36:24-30 “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses.”
This nation you’ve been called to is a Holy Nation, one that God keeps for His own possession. The Lord will draw from all peoples, tongues, nations, and tribes to join this people He calls His church. To those who have accepted His call, they now live their lives for Him, for His glory, and for His praise.
You cannot live for Jesus without His Spirit dwelling within you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Come to Him not doubting, cast off all restraint and let Him guide you the rest of your days….you will find you have lived a life worth living.
What is important to Jesus becomes important to you. You will find you can be victorious in every circumstance, knowing that Jesus is glorified through you. You will one day reap the reward of the faithful, you will see the magnitude of your decision to follow and you will rejoice forever in Him.
The life in Jesus has no End, it only has a beginning.
When will your beginning start? When will you begin to experience Life?