Friday, June 27, 2008

# 254: Advantages of Living Godly Lives

This will, no doubt, be the most encouraging post so far in this blog. Most often, I report on the shortcomings of traditional religions, which is truly needed. Without a doubt, there are many advantages that are derived from conforming to the ways of Jesus Christ, in comparison to the good things which are offered and taught by this “me-first” world. There are so many advantages that I don’t know where to start. By all means, the greatest advantage is that genuine Christians have complete confidence in a hope that is sure; that hope is for life in the hereafter, which is immeasurably superior to what this world offers. Hope is an attribute that makes life worthwhile. The greater and more certain the hope, the more meaningful and enjoyable life will be.

One emotion the people of this world lack is a joy that overrides all of the disappointments that are bound to come. They may have happiness, but happiness always depends on good events that are happening or have happened. The permanent joy the Lord gives through His Holy Spirit has its sights on what good things are to come: seeing Jesus Christ face-to- face. By not depending on “good things” in this world, we automatically have the advantage of looking forward to eternal treasures and pleasures. This type of joy must be experienced to even start understanding what is being said.

In America, not much, if any, physical suffering will be inflicted on Christians by others because of our freedom of religion. What we will experience is being a pariah and treated with scorn by those who think we are religious nuts (out of our mind). That type of suffering I enjoy; in fact, it brings a euphoric blast to my heart.

In countries where the Christian religion is looked down on, or outlawed, the physical suffering by outsiders may be extreme. Still, joy will be in their/our hearts with the blessed possibility that we will be in the presence of our Lord and Savior because of our pending martyrdom for Jesus Christ.

Even though God loves all people and desires all to be saved, we are taught by Scripture that God has a very special love for His children. As He is the Father of all obedient Christians, it brings confidence to those who are proud of having such a powerful and influential Parent. Also, it feels great to know that we are in His care at all times. Is there a better joy that anyone can experience than to know for certain that he/she is loved and cared for by the most powerful entity in the whole universe? There is no doubt there are many more advantages for disciples of Christ. Here are a few more.

Having a road map for life is one of the most valuable assets in the Christian life. And that is exactly what we have. That guidance comes in two forms from the New Testament and the guidance we receive from God’s Spirit. They are never in conflict.

John 16:13. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

Luke 1:78-79. “. . . because of the tender mercy of our God . . . to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

That is a great advantage God’s children have over the people of this world. Only one thing, we must make sure the inspiration we are listening to is not the spirit of this world. Just remember, that evil spirit comes with sweet words and presents himself as an angel of light. Most often we can tell who he is because his inspirations are not in accordance with New Testament Scriptures. That is an excellent reason to be thoroughly familiar with our holy instruction book; that is, if we wholeheartedly desire to do what is right, and thus please our Savior in every way.

By the way we live, we will bring the Word of God to life. Then, and only then, will those who also desire to live a holy life have us as their model and mentor. That is the best, if not the only, way to propagate the life of Jesus Christ. The holy life Jesus Christ lived and the words He taught will be our guide to God’s blessed eternity.

One of the most misunderstood advantages we have is that we can avoid, with little or no effort, the main thrust of this materialistic, self-centered world, which is that Christians don’t need or desire all the material trappings the pagan world goes after; for instance, things that impress others, like shiny new motor vehicles, big homes in upper-class neighborhoods, always going places and doing things, having more than enough money to blow on anything and everything to show others that they are better than them, etc. We will be content with the least of everything; all we need is the minimum amount of clothing, shelter and food. If we have these, we will be more than content with them. We carry very little worthless baggage. For certain, at the same time, we must work and do all we can so as not to be in need and burden other Christians.

1st Timothy 6:8. “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

Those who get entangled with an excess of worldly things such as a desire to get rich, etc. are on a path that leads to destruction.

1st Timothy 6:9-10. “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Not having a desire to compete or trying to put ourselves above others is one of the greatest advantages we have over non-Christians. We are not concerned with what people think of us; their opinions mean absolutely nothing to us. Rather, we at all times desire to please our commanding officer: Jesus Christ.

Much of my adult life, I was a man of the world. Whatever standards the world set for success, I attempted to follow. I was in a trap that could not be satisfied until I came into the path of freedom that God alone can give. The reason is that materialistic attitudes or things, be what they may, cannot satisfy the spirit person inside us all. Unknown to most humans, we are spirit beings with physical bodies.

The ways of the world are cruel. The reason they are that way is because it is a dog-eat-dog world, regardless of how much one dresses it up as wonderful or paints it pretty.

I don’t often use Bible verses that are made infamous by traditional churches by being over-quoted and under-practiced. Nevertheless, these two upcoming verses say much concerning this post and the advantages we have by living a Godly and holy life as taught by Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:28-29. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Did you notice that these verses do not include the wealthy or the wannabe wealthy?

In conclusion, regardless of how modern Christians present themselves, for the most part, they are living lies. What I mean is this: It is difficult, if not impossible, to separate or tell the difference between atheists and run-of-the-mill Christians, either by their appearance or casually visiting with them. That is an indictment that may tell on them at the resurrection. Our advantage is to have the desire and power to live and speak as the New Testament teaches, which has benefits not only in this world, but also in the world to come.

The following is a comment worthy of being read by all the bloggers.

JC, I have come upon your blog this evening, as I was putting the final touches on my Sunday School lesson for tomorrow. My church is currently without a senior minister, and I am concerned we are heading in the direction of “fluff” Christianity or Christianity “lite” where God’s grace and forgiveness are thrown out as a “get out of jail free” card instead of something to be earned and respected. I do not believe Christianity should be a meaningless love feast, like Woodstock In Jesus’s two greatest commandments, He instructed us on how to love with purpose. Christianity was never designed to be a “feel good” religion where anything goes. As you stated repeatedly, there are instructions - and awesome ones, at that on how to be a proper Christian that God gifted to us through his son Jesus Christ.

I am probably preaching to the choir here. I just wanted to tell you that I will visit your site often and am going to give our the web address tomorrow in Sunday School. While I haven’t read everything you’ve written so far, you are speaking what is in my heart and putting a finger on my disappointments in churches, as of late. The other side of “Christian lite” are the churches that ignore Christ’s commandments on loving our neighbor and absolutely are missing the ball on loving Him first and foremost, as they slyly breed hate toward those whose behaviors they do not understand (nor try to). Half the Christian churches are pushing many far from Christ and the other half are forgetting all about Christ I want to see us put Him back in the center and gravitate toward Him rather than leaving Him in a backroom somewhere prior to entering the pulpit.

I appreciate what you are doing and think it is extremely timely and necessary. I look very much forward to reading more of what you have to say.

Thank you


jc said: Rachel, thank you very much for your encouraging words. jc


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your encouragement!!!

Anonymous said...

thanks for this nice post 111213