19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you,which can save you. James 1:19-21
We are called to be slow to speak and quick to listen. Many times we get ourselves into trouble when we simply speak without truly listening to someone. Often when someone is speaking to us we are focusing simply on our point and not what the person is saying. If we simply will listen to one another many of the issues that cause division and dysfunction would not exist. This is why the Lord gave us two ears and one mouth. When we take time to listen we will operate from a place of wisdom.
This includes listening to the leading of the Lord. Often times we make decisions and make statements without truly listening to the Lord. The culture of our day causes many to fail to develop an intimate relationship with the Lord. But when we take time each day to get alone with the Lord we will develop discernment for the Lord’s leading and guidance.
We are commanded in scripture to rid our lives of all moral filth. The culture and world we live in worships and glorifies the things of wickedness. Our culture glorifies sex and violence. But as believers in Jesus Christ we are called to be set apart. We are called to be a living sacrifice unto the Lord. The Lord desires to move us from glory to glory but this requires us to walk in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit. For when we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit we will remove all moral filth from our lives.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him,so that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
It is through Jesus Christ that we indeed have victory (1 Corinthians 15:57). This is the beauty of the cross. What Satan thought would destroy the Son of God actually brought freedom and deliverance to all those who would put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It is because of what Jesus has done that we are indeed free (John 8:36).
Death entered the human race because of the sin of Adam and Eve. It is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that has overcome death and redeemed that which was lost by Adam. God was not surprised by the fall of Adam and Eve. The plan of salvation was put in place before the foundations of the world (1 Peter 1:19-21). Because of Jesus Christ we are able to have our relationship restored with God the Father.
There is coming a day when Jesus shall return . When Jesus returns He will return with the host of Heaven behind Him (Revelation 19:11-18). He will establish His kingdom and bring all His enemies under His rule and authority (Revelation 20:1-6). He shall return to rule the earth with a rod of iron. We who have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ will rule and reign with Him in His kingdom.
Once all enemies have been placed under the feet of Jesus Christ, He will turn all things over to His Father in Heaven. For even Jesus the Son of God is subject to His Father in Heaven. Our great hope is in what Jesus has done at Calvary. Because of His death and resurrection we no longer fear death. Death has been overcome and there is coming a day when death itself will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15). Until that time may we live for Christ each day growing in our relationship with Him. May we keep our eyes fixed upon the Lord in all circumstances. He will always lead us to victory in all things. He is continually producing within us His character and His nature (Gal 5:22-23)
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Salvation is a result of declaring with one’s mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in one’s heart. Salvation is a gift from God and is to be received. It is not based upon works and it is not earned. But works are a result of true faith in Jesus Christ. Because if we have come to truly place our faith and trust in Jesus the Holy Spirit has come to live within us. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.
As the Holy Spirit continually transforms our lives it impacts the way we live our lives. We begin to see the world around us as God sees it and we see the brokenness of humanity. We are surrounded daily by those who are broken and lost and as we have opportunity we must be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Through faith in Christ we are justified before God. Our sin debt was paid by Jesus as the cross and He took our sin upon Himself. The wrath and punishment that we deserved was poured out upon Jesus. Today we are free because what Christ has done at Calvary.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV
Those who are lost and perishing simply see the message of the cross as foolishness. We live in a day and age where few believe in God and His existence. Many have made themselves their own god. During the apostle Paul’s day many worshiped idols. But in our time the focus of people’s worship is simply themselves.
The technology of our day has made life easy and comfortable. Many see no purpose in believing in God because they see no need for Him in their lives. Because if they believe in God they are accountable for the lives they live and few today desire to be accountable for the choices and decisions they make on a daily basis.
But for those who believe in Jesus Christ the message of the cross is the power of God. It is the message of the cross that sets us free because our sins have been nailed to the cross. Our righteousness is found in Christ alone. When our faith has been placed in Jesus Christ, His righteousness if applied to our lives. May our eyes and hearts be fixed upon Jesus and prepare our hearts daily for His soon return.
16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:16
There is a connection between obedience and blessing. If we truly desire the blessing of the Lord upon our lives then we must walk in obedience. Before we come to Christ we are enslaved to the world and its desires. We seek to fulfill the lust of the flesh. But when we come to Christ we are called to repentance. Repentance requires that we turn our back on the world and its desires and we pursue the Lord with our whole heart.
The Lord gave this command to the nation of Israel. Throughout its history, Israel time and again walked in disobedience towards the Lord. They incured the discipline of the Lord. The Lord sent prophet after prophet, but the word of the Lord was ignored time and again until the Israelites were removed from the promise land.
We today who are in Christ are called to obedience. But we are called to walk according to the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us in all truth. As we seek the Lord daily it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out. In following Jesus Christ we are called to make the Lord our priority of our lives. He leads us one step at a time.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Romans 13:8 NIV
We are told time and time again in God’s word to love one another. Jesus exemplified this in the way He lived His life and the way He laid down His life for us. He didn’t have to go to the cross, but He chose to because of His love for us. We are created in His image and the offer of salvation goes out to all people. Those who receive what Jesus has done and placed their faith and trust in Him will spend all eternity in God’s kingdom.
The apostle Paul had to defend the gospel throughout his ministry. Many tried to distort the grace of God; either treating it as a license to sin or falsely teaching that the gentiles had to keep the law. The grace of God does not divorce us from walking in obedience to the Lord. For before we come to Christ we are slaves of this world and the desires of the sinful nature. But when we come to Christ we have been bought at a precious price and become slaves of the Lord and His righteousness. Our lives no longer belong to us. They belong to the Lord.
In loving others we fulfill the law. When you examine the law it is God’s righteous standard and it is impossible for anyone except Jesus to keep the whole law. But through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to walk in love. For when we come to Christ it is the Holy Spirit who comes to live in our hearts and transforms us from the inside out. May everything we do on this earth be done in God’s love and done to glorify His name. For we are called to love God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Repentance is an essential part of our relationship with God. It is not enough to simply believe in God, but when Jesus called anyone He called them to follow Him and repent. We know that God is faithful and just to forgive us if we confess our sins. God desires to pour His mercy and grace upon us. He knocks on the hearts of people and those who respond to the drawing of the Holy Spirit are saved and redeemed.
But it is not by accident that we have come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. We were chosen before the foundations of the earth. The Lord has a specific plan and purpose for our lives. No matter where we have come from we can know that if we have confessed our sins to the Lord that He is faithful and just to forgive us.
8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. Psalms 4:8
The peace of God is tangible. It is not something that is understood by the world. When our faith and trust is placed in Jesus Christ we know that the Lord walks with us where ever we go and He prepares every step. No matter what we face in this life the Lord will work all things together for our good. He uses all things to shape and mold our lives. He uses all things to grow and deepen our faith. But the key is abiding in Christ each day. As we spend the beginning of our day in the study of God’s word and prayer our hearts and minds are fixed upon the Lord.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Salvation is a free gift from God. It is not earned but simply received. It is received by placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and living for the Lord each day. Placing our faith in Jesus is more than just simply believing in Jesus. To place our faith in Jesus means that our life is built upon Jesus, we have turned from our sins and turned fully to the Lord.
The only result of living in sin is destruction and death. Sin is deceptive and it would seem when we are living in sin and pursuing the desires of our sinful nature that we are truly living in freedom. But we are simply bound by sin and we are enslaved to the devil. But when our hearts are given to Christ we are set free from the bondage of sin and are no longer enslaved to the devil and this world. Each day as we abide in the Lord He leads and guides us one step at a time. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out. As we study God’s word each day our minds are renewed and as our minds are renewed our lives are transformed.
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
The scriptures were written long ago by those inspired by the Holy Spirit. All that we have in the bible today is the inspired word of God. Transformation takes place in our lives as we study the scriptures and meditate upon the scriptures. We are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Some will claim that the bible is outdated or simply a book filled with fairy tales. But it isn’t until we come into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ that we come to understand the power of God’s word. The more we study God’s word the more we are encouraged. This journey can be very difficult sometimes and it is easy to become discouraged. But when our lives are spent daily in the study of God’s word our hearts and minds will be fixed upon Jesus Christ.
Understanding God’s word comes as we fellowship with the Holy Spirit. As we seek the Lord in prayer and draw near it is the Holy Spirit who opens our hearts and minds to understand the word of God. It doesn’t require a bible degree to understand the word of God. It simply requires a heart that is hungry to know the heart of God.