Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Another year has come and gone and we are faced with not just a new year, but yet another day of discovering who we really are and what our purpose is in life. As we get older, time passes so very fast and in reality it is a reflection of just how short life is here on earth. Since there is so very little time, let’s get started off in the right direction by reviewing our walk and our relationship with our Heavenly Father this past year and see if we have grown to be more Christ like this past year.
There are so many people that carry the title “Christian”, it would behoove each of us all to study GOD’s Word to understand what that word really means. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who authored “Studies In The Sermon On The Mount” and preached at the Westminster Chapel once said “To be a Christian is not only to believe the teaching of Christ, and to practice it; it is not only to try to follow the pattern and example of Christ; it is to be so vitally related to Christ that His life and His power are working in us. It is to be “in Christ,” it is for Christ to be in us”. So maybe a good place to start is the Sermon on the Mount in Matt 5. This points out a few characteristics that define what a true born of the blood of Christ Christian should attain and grow to become. As you will learn, only the hand of GOD can provide a heart that can attain these features. And I might mention this is not something that is totally visible once He has quickened the heart of a soul. I will even go so far as to say there are many that thought they were saved for many years before GOD enlightened them with facts which led them to earnestly seek Him for some sort of peace and assurance of being His. And one of those that carried this burden for years was myself.
As you can see in the title and key scriptures, it’s not so easy being a Christian. One might say as the disciples said in Mat.19:25 b. Who then can be saved? 26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. It’s for this reason that we must reflect from year to year, month to month and yes even day to day on our progression toward this perfection spoken of in the Word. You see, it’s those saints who endure to the end and grow towards this perfection that are the true Christian’s. And we will never fully attain this perfection here on this earth, but only after He calls us home.
As we mature in GOD, we will find this earth and the sin within and around us so troubling that we cry out seeking the presence of our GOD daily to get us through each affliction and trial. David, the Psalmist is a good example in Psa. 63:1,8 “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 8. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me”.
Here are some prayerfully sought out thoughts of being a Christian:
- A Christian’s Calling
Paul also tells us in Eph. 4:1 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”. So if you are His, you were given a vocation of service which could range from prayer or special talents to the actual teaching and preaching of the Word. But remember, we are not His in title only because with this comes responsibilities to glorify Him and to edify the body (church).
- Our Nature
Unfortunately the fall of man adds a twists to our life which we as Christians will battle all of our life. A good example of this can be seen in Paul’s writings in Rom. 7:14-25 in which he concludes with the words “24. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25. I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin”.
2. Our Labor
If there is no labor you can be assured there is a spiritual issue with one that calls themselves a Christian. Let us not be seen as those of Sodom in the sin of idleness which led them to fleshly desires and to decay of life. Eze.16:49 “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy”.
On the other hand one can be full of labor that appears to be from a heart that is after GOD, but my dear reader, please be reminded that these are not labors you do to become a Christian, these are some of the characteristics of a true born again Christian. The cart of labor doesn’t come before the horse.
Also, I can’t really define or quantify the amount of effort, for this has been foreordained before the foundation of the world. But I do think one will hunger and thirst after that that they love.
So always seek the Holy Spirit for direction in your labors to be assured that they glorify GOD and edify the Church. Here are some thoughts based on the scripture as I read it concerning this subject:
There is so much power in the prayers of saints that ask and believe that their prayers are heard. There is also much labor in true prayer because one has to prepare the mind to commune with GOD. Satan will visit the mind and side track us from our prayers. We all face Satan’s darts that can cause one to worry or even think ungodly thoughts that if not stopped will steal from our communion with our Heavenly Father. The best practice for heading Satan off is to boldly go to him and tell him to get behind you and then humbly ask the Master to forvige you. Sometimes, you just have to take a break and think on what’s causing these interruptions and then return with a refreshed reverence to Him.
You know the scripture says, we are to pray without ceasing (1Th 5:17), thanking Him and lifting Him up with praise and making our request known. One might say this is impossible to do. If our hearts are right, we will always have Him on our mind and much communion comes out of this throughout the day. If we take time, we can plainly see His mercy and grace in our walk.
There will be times that we stumble, but He is there to pick us up and teach us through each affliction.
The prerequisite of any study of GOD’s word is prayer. If we don’t pray for the Holy Spirit to be present in our studies, it will be a waste of time.
We see that there is a desire to know more about Him in 2Ti 2:15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”.
Just reading a chapter or two or a specified amount of time daily is not necessarily going to provide you with the meat you need. The closer one gets to our Heavenly Father there is a burning desire to dig deeper into the life of Christ and those true followers to see how they lived. They forewarn us of the slip ups we will face in life.
Again, the prerequisite of worship is prayer. If the Holy Spirit doesn’t provide the words and they are just words from a man, then this isn’t true worship. GOD cares how we worship. If we think of anything other than pleasing Him in our worship, we are setting this up as another god. Example, we have our mind on earthly thoughts such as our job, money or minds that lust after ungodly thoughts.
Our Sunday and mid-week attendance and gathering with others is a very important time of worship, but true worship is something that is part of one’s life and is carried out throughout the week.
We aren’t to be robots who just attend a worship service regularly and expect the pastor to pore everything we need into our minds. Our labor here is to be attentive to what God has for us and this can be a struggle if not prepared. It can also be a struggle for the pastor or teacher if we don’t consider him and his studies to be directed by the Holy Spirit.
So here is how we ought to worship Him: John 4:23-24 tells us “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”.
So each of us should meditate on what God thinks about our worship because the word says in Ex. 34:14 “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”.
d. Daily Walk
Once more, we cannot even start our daily walk without prayer to thank Him for our rest and safety and praise Him for all He does for us. Our morning prayer should seek His presence and His help in being an example to others in our daily walk. We should also ask for opportunities to share what Christ has done and is doing daily in our life. We should also ask Him to give us strength when others mock us and point out our short-comings. Yes, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; But a Christian doesn’t continue in sin and is very self-conscious and is very disturbed and sorrowful for the act and diligently seeking to reconcile this with one offended so that it can be taken to our Father in heaven to for forgiveness.
A true Christian includes GOD every step of the way which means we have a GOD consciousness. He is with us and He is in us. He sees our short-comings and points them out each step and provides us with warnings and the opportunity to turn away from what would be our sinful nature. This warning would be a reminder could be based on our past experience with His anger.
Righteous living is expected of us: Col 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him”. We are to be an example in how we act in front of others. We are to put away those old ways and put on the new man. Please take time to read Col 3:1-6 placing an emphasis on Col 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.
By now you should see that a Christian’s work is more than a name and it carries with it an ever-growing consumption of your life. We see this in Pro. 10:16 “The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin”.
After reading this many will ask, what about what Christ said in Mat 11:30 “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. All we have to do is compare what Jesus Christ did for us and how He died that we might live and we can plainly see how easy our walk has been made.
When we come to the end of our walk and prepare to take our last breath may we be able to say as Paul did in 2Ti 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”.
Till then, there is much labor in the life of a born again believer. My prayer for us all comes from John 6:27 ‘Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed”.