CAN WE REALLY LIVE FOR JESUS?
There are those who teach that it is not possible for human beings to live up to the standard of godliness that Christianity demands. The devil would like for us to accept that heresy so as to discourage us from even trying to live for God. Do we have certain propensities within us that prohibit a closer walk with God? Did our Creator make us with an inbuilt spiritual deficiency that makes it certain that we shall fail in our pursuit of holiness? Or, are there helps along the way that enable us to glorify the Savior? In the language of Rom. 4:3 we sincerely ask: "What saith the Scriptures?"
In the beauty of Psa. 119:76-80, we find some wonderful
sources of consolation and joy. (Take time to read this passage). From this we
take comfort in the following:
1. God's judgments are right.
2. God's merciful kindness comforts.
3. God's law is my delight.
4. God's precepts are my meditation.
5. My heart rejoices in His statutes.
Jesus taught, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).
Do you know why most of the world is lost? It hinges on Matt. 6:33. Instead of seeking first the kingdom of God, the vast majority of people all over the world are seeking food, clothing and shelter first and putting God last. As a result, they don't come up very well on food, clothing and shelter! Jesus challenges us and gives us the best insurance policy ever issued, now or to the end of time, in Matt. 6:33. Not many people take the Lord seriously on that promise. It is a tragedy how that high ethical standard is ignored!
WE HAVE THE PROMISE OF HELP FROM HEAVEN. It is challenging to live a life of purity and spiritual integrity, but we get substantial help from the God of heaven. When we live such a life we receive many benefits and blessings: God's promises, provisions, protection, providence, power, prayer and propitiation. Once these matters are explored in the sacred text, we can fully see that Jehovah has not asked us to do the impossible, but rather enables us to follow in the footprints of our Redeemer!
PROMISES: The wonderful promises of the gospel age surround us. Peter writes, "Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue" (2 Pet.1:2,3). These promises encourage us to know that the Lord will never forsake us (Heb. 13:5) and will bless us with all spiritual blessings in Christ (Eph. 1:3) as long as we continue to walk with Him.
PROVISIONS: When our lives are lives of purity and spiritual integrity, the Lord will provide us with all of our needs. James wrote, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights" (Jas. 1:17), and the apostle Paul added, "And my God shall supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19).
PROTECTION: When we walk with God, we can look for and expect constant protection from above as long as the world stands: "Lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20). He will be with us in all situations (Psa. 91) and provide avenues of escape, regardless of severe trials adn the chicanery of the devil. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10:13). The psalmist wrote, "Our help is in the name of Jehovah, Who made heaven and earth" (Psa. 124:8).
PROVIDENCE: Those who live a life of spiritual purity and integrity are in the hands of One who is able to deliver us (Dan. 3:17). While we are upheld by His arms, no harm can befall us: "The eternal God is thy dwelling-place, And underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrusts out the enemy from before thee" (Deut. 33:27). Under His wings, we are kept safe: "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings" (Psa. 17:8). In the constant care of God, we are continually sustained adn granted peace and spiritual success (Isa. 26:3). We are caused to soar as eagles, regardless of earthly problems and human failures: "But they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint" (Isa. 40:31).
POWER: The power of God motivates us to holiness and sanctity that gets the attention of an unbelieving world (Heb. 7:16). In Acts 4:13 we read of the reaction of unbelievers to the lives of the apostles: "Now when they beheld the boldness of Peter and John, and had perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." And the apostle Peter caps it all when he writes that we have "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet. 1:4,5).
PRAYER: The tremendous concourse of prayer keeps us close to the throne of God and gives us confidence. The Scriptures say, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us" (1 Jno. 5:14). We understand that the door of heaven is always open to us when we ask according to the will of God: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matt. 7:7).
PROPITIATION: The propitiation of the blood of Jesus Christ has the efficacy to cleanse us and to draw us near to the great reservoir of strength that motivates and cheers us on to higher ground. "My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin. And if any man sin, we have and Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world" (1 Jno. 2:1,2). Those who teach that it is not possible for people to live up to the standard of godliness that Christianity demands are wrong. Yes, we can live the life the Bible sets forth because we get so much help from the Savior. May we never turn back.
THE POWER OF A LIFE OF PURITY: Christianity demands our very best because it is demonstrated by purity of life. The basic, fundamental values of the religion of Christ can best be seen in His life: "One that hath been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin...Him who knew no sin he made (to be) sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him" (Heb. 4:15; 2 Cor. 5:21). It was said of Jesus, "He went about doing good" (Acts 10:38). So do His followers, because Christ "suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Pet. 2:21).
The same values seen in the life of Jesus are seen in the dedicated demeanor of His fervent disciples. Too many times the world receives a faulty impression of the way of the cross because of our failure to portray the ethics of godliness. In Paul's letter the the Philippians, we learn anew of the intense value and power of a life that magnifies Christ and shares the message of the Redeemer with others (Phil. 1:20,21). Oh, what demands the gospel places upon devotees of the Savior! There is an enthralling stanza of a seldom-used gospel song that ought to ring in the ears of every Christian: Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All His wonderful passion and purity, May His spirit divine, All my being refine, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
THE POWER OF A LIVING HOPE. Christianity is great because it brings hope, optimism and joy into the daily walk of children of the heavenly Father. Trusting in the Creator (Prov. 3:5), instead of earth's vain trinkets, gives us the enrichment that only the hope of heaven can bequeath to us. Hope includes faith, but it also is assurance. We have that because of the resurrection of Jesus: "God...begat us again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Pet. 1:3).
Christians never look back to a life of sin, but ever press on to the beautiful home of the soul. As parents, we choose early in life to etch indelibly into the mural and fabric of our children's lives that we, "Look for the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God...look for a better country, that is, a heavenly" (Heb. 11:10, 16).
A careful man I ought to be,
A little fellow follows me.
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear he'll go the self-same way.
Let us all rise up to meet the challenge of Christianity. With a firm commitment and deep resolve, we will one day, by the grace of God, when the saints go marching into glory, join in that heavenly chorus.
By - Johnny Ramsey in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 50, No. 35, August 31, 2001.
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