It is easy to get caught up in the dark side of our own natures and begin to wonder how and if God could ever love us. When we come to understand the beauty of the perfection and righteousness of God and the bitter truth of our own fallenness, it is a stark contrast and can lead us to feel as though we are without hope. BUT - that is not what God has said.
They say you should never put off for tomorrow what you ought to do today. this is sage advice for us all, especially wen we consider the fact they not one of us is guaranteed any tomorrows. It is wise of us to consider the fact that at any moment we can be called upon to give an accounting of our lives and therefore focus our lives on producing good fruit.
We often feel far to comfortable thinking in narrow, black-and-white categories in regard to our fellow human brothers and sisters, and this kind of thinking can lead us to miss some very important things - mainly that there exists a stunning and spectacular variety of people in this world, each with something very special to offer. Conversely, in an effort to be universally inclusive, we can abandon all reason and truth and find ourselves intellectually and morally bankrupt. Jesus demonstrates a perfect balance of both and calls us to walk the narrow line between the extremes.
Most don't think of covetousness as a major problem in society or even personally. While we would all certainly consider murder and adultery serious evils, covetousness, while undesirable, is really not that big of a deal. We rarely pause to consider the cumulative effects of covetousness in a culture until it is too late. Are we there yet?
Do you struggle to persevere in prayer? Do you fear that God is wither uncaring or unwilling to answer your prayer for any reason? Prayer can be difficult work and because of our perception of God's delay in answering, we can jump to the conclusion that He isn't interested. Jesus teaches us that we should carefully avoid falling for such temptation, refuse to loose heart in prayer, and instead, demonstrate our faith through prayer until He comes.
It is all two easy for Christian's to get caught up in the trappings of what constitutes an acceptable image of following Christ - that is, outward appearances. We eventually learn a collection of deep sounding spiritual lingo, we know the right "Christian sounding" cliché's to use at the right time (AMEN!), and we know when everyone is looking that we should be on our best behavior. But the real question is what is going on on the inside?
In almost every circumstance, when we are called upon to make a meaningful contribution to anything, we want to know what the expected payoff will be. Followers of Christ are often no different in than others in this respect, and like Peter, we would like to know that we will be rewarded reasonably for our service to Jesus. So, how should we temper our expectations regarding our reward from the Lord?
We all have the dubious distinction of living in a time of great relational strain and division. Both locally, nationally, and globally we are faced with deep and seemingly incurable division and strife. Never before has it been so critical that the people of God understand their calling to "Love thy neighbor," and the intimate relationship that such a practice has in loving God.
It's amazing how often we see examples of people posturing for position and recognition in our culture. It's a human thing; therefore, every human endeavor is a ripe nursery for growing oversized egos and self-aggrandizement. After all, if you want to win the race you have to be first. But Jesus told a vastly different story. If you want to be exalted..by God Himself...humility is essential.
It's so easy to play the comparison game, but far too seldom do we actually compare ourselves to the right person. When we compare ourselves to others we usually develop a self-righteous superiority complex. When we consistently compare ourselves to Christ, it a whole different story.