Steadfast in Purpose
Acts 11:21-23 ESV
“And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, not only do we turn away from our lifestyles of sin, but we turn to the Lord Jesus to follow him in his ways, according to his commands for us, his church.
But, this decision to accept God’s invitation to his salvation from our slavery to sin doesn’t end at that point. We don’t “get saved,” then we live however we want, and then one day we go to heaven when we die. For, by faith in Jesus we are delivered from our bondage to sin so that we will now live to Christ and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24).
So, our decision to believe in Jesus, which is a gift from God, and not something generated from our own flesh, is not just so we can be forgiven our sin, escape hell, and so we can go to heaven when we die. Believing in Jesus is a life transformation. We were living in slavery to sin. Now we are living in slavery to Christ/God, and to his righteousness (Rom. 6:1-23).
But it isn’t just about not sinning anymore, and it isn’t just about doing what is right in God’s eyes. For, when we believe in Jesus, he now takes ownership of our lives. We are now his possession, and our lives are to be lived for his praise and for his glory. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, doing what we want to do, with God in the background (2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Co. 6:19-20; Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:14).
Our lives are now to be lived with purpose, which is to glorify God with our lives. And, we are to remain steadfast in purpose and faithful to the Lord throughout our lives on this earth until Jesus comes to take us home.
Faithful unto Death
Revelation 2:10 ESV
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
The Christian life is not what many people in America paint it to be. It isn’t just about being forgiven your sins so you can go to heaven when you die. And, it isn’t about being happy and having fun all the time, either. The Christian life is not one big party, in other words.
Yes, when we are delivered from our slavery to sin and we are given new lives in Jesus to be lived for his glory, empowered by the Spirit of God, there is much cause for rejoicing. But our joy is not based on our circumstances. Our joy is based on our Lord and on our relationship with him.
For, if we are truly followers of Jesus, and we are doing and saying the kinds of things he did and said, then we are going to be hated and persecuted as he was. He said we would. The Christian life, though it is a life of joy, it is also a life of suffering for the sake of Jesus and for his gospel of salvation.
So, we should not be surprised if we are being persecuted for our faith in Jesus. And, we are also not to be afraid of such persecution, either. The Lord is allowing it in our lives, and he will give us everything we need to endure. And, he will mature us in our walks of faith through it, as well.
And, we are to be faithful unto death, which means we are to remain faithful to our Lord throughout our Christian lives up unto the day we die. And, he will give us the crown of life.
As a Good Soldier
2 Timothy 2:1-7 ESV
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are compared here to soldiers in an army, with Jesus Christ as our commanding officer. But this is not an army which fights the enemy with physical weapons of warfare, for this is a spiritual battle, and it can only be won with the armor of God which our Lord supplies to us who are his (Eph. 6:10-20).
So, what does it mean to be a “good soldier of Christ Jesus”? Well, a soldier in the army in the USA is the property of the government, and the soldier must do what his commanding officer commands him to do. And, as believers in Jesus, we are God’s possession, and no longer our own, and Jesus is now our Master, and we are to do what he commands us to do.
As good soldiers of Christ we are not to get entangled in civilian pursuits. Civilians, in this case, would be those who are not soldiers. So, this would mean we are not to get entangled in the affairs or the pursuits of the ungodly world. We are not to get ensnared by them or caught up in them, for it is Jesus we must serve.
In other words, being a Christian or a follower of Jesus means our lives are now surrendered to Jesus Christ. We give up ownership rights over our own lives, and we now surrender to our Lord as our commanding officer. And, we follow his rules, and we do what he says. And, this will mean suffering for him and for his gospel, too. But he will see us through it all to the very end.
God is With Us
An Original Work / June 11, 2019
Based off Psalm 46
God’s our refuge. He is our strength,
A present help to us when in pain.
Therefore, we will not be afraid,
Although the earth beneath us gives way.
Though the mountains be moved to the sea,
Roaring waters abound so free,
And the mountains now tremble so,
We will not fear, God is near, we know.
God is with us and He makes glad
The hearts of all who to Christ have fled.
Christ is in us, so we’ll not fall
When on our Savior our hearts do call.
God will help us, as mornings arise,
To be faithful to His design.
Nations raging, and tempers flare.
Our God is with us. We know He cares.
Come and see the works of the Lord.
He’s armed for battle with His great sword.
He’s the Word, and He is the Life.
He gives us strength in all of our strife.
Be still and know that He is our God.
He’s exalted where’er He trods.
The Lord Almighty, with us still;
The God of Jacob, our citadel.