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Adam’s Pattern

Adam’s Pattern

In my last post we saw that death has ruled the earth since the fall of Adam. If you remember, the Scripture had something interesting to say about him.

Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

Romans 5:14

This verse says that Adam was the pattern, or literally, the sample or shape of the one to come. The question that I had to ask was; how was Adam the pattern of Christ?

The answer to that is found throughout the New Testament and I think it will surprise you.

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22

I had a problem with this. How does Adam get all the blame? Why death only come through Adam? It was Eve who ate the fruit first, then she gave it to Adam.

Paul even admits this.

And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

1 Timothy 2:14

If that’s true, then how does Adam get blamed for the start of death’s reign? Actually, it all comes down to the pattern.

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit…

1 Peter 3:18

When Eve ate the forbidden fruit, she became a sinner. Adam wasn’t deceived at all. He knew that she sinned, and the penalty for that sin was death. At that point he was righteous and she was unrighteous.

We have to ask ourselves; what was God’s plan when this occurred? I believe that the answer to this is also found in the pages of Scripture.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

Ephesians 5:25

First of all, Adam should have refused the fruit and retained his righteous position. Then, he should have stood by his wife as she went before God for judgment.

Then, as the sentence against her was pronounced, he should have stood up and done what Christ was willing to do.

“Father God, I understand that Eve was deceived and fell into sin. She made a wrong choice. But I love her and I’m going to take her place.”

If Adam did that – the righteous taking the death penalty for a sinner – then the problem of sin and death would have been dealt with right there in the garden.

Adam would have died in his wife’s place. Then, because of his righteous state, God would have raised him from the dead.

I believe if that took place then humanity would have went straight into a perfected state. We would never have had a problem with sin. But Adam didn’t make that choice. Instead, he chose to serve death, not Satan.

Of course, now we have to make this same choice daily. As believers, we’re called to lay down our own lives in order to experience the life of Christ in us.

Question: What does laying down your life look like in your situation?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2021 in Relationships, Spiritual Walk

 

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God’s Love at the Right Time

God’s Love at the Right Time

We’re going through the book of Romans together.  Here in chapter 5, Paul is still getting us acquainted with his teaching on the Christian walk.

We’ve seen the progression of how God wants to bring us into the manifestation of His love.  The Lord wants this love to empower us in our work for Him.

Now Paul is getting to the heart of the matter.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

This Scripture is clear.  God did His greatest work while we were still without strength.

But that brings us to an important point.  God brought this about at just the right time.  That literally means Christ died at the appointed time.

This is something that we frequently get hung up on.  I have a problem differentiating between God’s appointed time vs. when I think God should have answered.  I assume God is late or ignoring my problem.  Of course, that’s foolish thinking.

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2

I’ve learned that God is always on time.  In my limited understanding, I think that there’s no way out.  God, however, shows up at the right time and the right place to show Himself strong in my life.

The fact is that Jesus Christ gave His life for us.  He’s not going to ignore us now.  He wants the best for us.

According to the first passage above, He died for the irreverent.  That means those with no spiritual aptitude.

It’s hard enough, difficult enough, to die for someone we consider good.  I’m glad to say that this isn’t how God demonstrates His love.

That word, demonstrates, is a Greek word that means to introduce.  This is how God introduces His love.  While we were still actively missing the mark, Christ died for us.

In writing this letter to the Romans, Paul was addressing a people to whom this was very true.  When Christ died, the people of Rome were totally clueless to what was happening in Jerusalem.

Their salvation was being purchased at a great cost.  Yet, it would be years before they would hear the Good News.  It’s good to know that I didn’t need to see this work being done in order to receive the benefits of it.

As a Pharisee living in Jerusalem, Paul may have met Jesus or heard Him speak.  Paul might have even been one of those at the foot of the cross, ridiculing the Lord.  But at Paul’s worse, Jesus was dying for this Pharisee’s salvation.

How could we ever think that God would abandon us now?  Put your trust and hope in the love of God.  Never let the cares and problems of life overwhelm your knowledge of His great love, concern, and care for you.

Question: How have you experienced God’s loving concern for you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, The Gospel

 

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Love Pressure

Love Pressure

In my last few posts about the book of Romans, I’ve been talking about the power of God at work in us.  We’ve seen that there’s a process that begins when it’s initiated by our faith in God.  It brings us from faith to an experience of God’s glory.

Paul continues this thought.

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Romans 5:5

Paul now brings us to the greatest power in the universe – love.  That’s the place the Holy Spirit is bringing us to.  His desire for every believer is for us to walk in love.

Love is the spiritual pressure placed upon us to produce change.  It was what compelled Christ to minister the way He did.

Actually, I can’t think of any more powerful force in all of life other than love.  For the love of God, or another person, we’ll do things that we might never have done under ordinary circumstances.  Love is a driving force in many of the things we do.

God’s love that He pours into our hearts is the source of our spiritual power.  The same love that drove Christ forward is now placed within us.  When we had no power, God saved us by the death and resurrection of Christ.  He has plugged us into His power source.  The very love that pressures Him can now drive us forward to bless others.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

It’s Christ’s love that should empower everything that we do.  We need to take inventory of what drives and motivates us.

Do you feel a pressure that drives you to reach out to the lost?  Does love compel you to be a blessing to those around you even when you don’t feel like it?  Do you have a compassion for those who are in need?  If not, then you haven’t tapped into the love of Christ.

It’s so easy to say, “I love the lost and I want to see them saved.”  But if there’s little or no pressure to do something about it, then that’s a sign that there’s little or no manifestation of God’s love.  The verdict is simple, no love, no power.

If you want to see this principle in action, just look to the early church in the book of Acts.  They felt the pressure of God’s love to the point where they were willing to die, if necessary, to bring salvation to those around them.

In my last post, I talked about our faith being proved as genuine.  I believe that walking in the love of God is one of the proofs of a genuine faith.

We don’t talk very much about God’s approval of life and ministry.  We seem to think that we can just do what we please and ask God to bless it.  After all, we’re doing it for the Lord.

No.  On the contrary, it’s God’s standards that we need to aspire to.  It’s found again and again in Scripture, if we look for it.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15

We must do what it takes to live in intimacy with the Lord.  Only in this way will His love increase in our hearts.

Question: How much of the pressure of Christ’s love do you feel within you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2021 in Anointing, Faith, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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God’s View of a Sinful World

God’s View of a Sinful World

I’m continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Roman church.  We’re now about to enter one of the most controversial sections.  I have to be careful in how I explain it.

This passage of Scripture is not controversial because we argue over what it means.  On the contrary, the meaning of the words is very clear.  We argue over whether or not to believe it as God’s Word.

Personally, I choose to believe everything in the Bible as written.  That being said, I also believe that there’s no place in the Christian life for self-righteous hatred, bigotry, or condemnation.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Romans 1:26-27

The first thing to note is what this passage is and is not saying.  Too many Christians grab this verse and run with it to attack others. That’s not the purpose.

We have to remember that everything in Scripture is based in God’s unfailing love.  There’s no one outside of God’s love.

Even in this section I see the grace and patience of the Lord.  There’s a phrase that’s repeated three times – here, in verse 24 (which we looked at in the last post), and in verse 28.  It reads, God gave them over.

That literally means that God surrendered or yielded to their desires.  In other words, God allows us to do what we want to do.  He doesn’t stop us, even if we head in a wrong direction.  He gives us the freedom to choose our own path.

Another issue we need to understand is that sin is about actions and not desire.  In my flesh, I may want to do wrong, but the spiritual battle isn’t over until a final decision is made.

Of course, that brings me to an important point…what exactly is sin?  When people hear that word they immediately think, “Evil”.  But the truth is that sin isn’t always evil or bad.

The literal definition of sin in both the Old and New Testaments is to miss the mark.  God holds up the ideal of the perfect life.  We strive to reach it.  But, when we miss God’s best, even by a little, that’s sin.

The Bible is clear that all sin is the same in God’s eyes.  It all comes with the spiritual death penalty.  There’s no grading on a curve.  A white lie and murder are equal before the Lord.  That’s why we need a Savior who carried all of our sin to the cross.

As human beings we like to assign different values of severity to sin.  We think some are worse than others.  Because of this, we’ll vocally attack some lifestyle choices, while we nurture others.

Case in point – before the pandemic you would have to stand in line to get in a buffet restaurant on a Sunday after church services conclude.  We would happily join someone with a gluttonous lifestyle, as they satisfy that craving.  (I can say that because this is one of my personal battles I’m trying to overcome in my life.)

Finally, we have to realize that we’re all under God’s grace.  There’s no condemnation until the final judgment when Christ returns.

STD’s are not God’s judgment on alternate lifestyles.  Just as heart disease and cancer aren’t God’s judgments on overeaters and smokers.

Yes, as Christians we need to know what actions the Bible labels as sin.  But we also need to walk in the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s what our dark society needs right now.

Question: How do you show Christ’s love to those who are not living by God’s standards?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2020 in Spiritual Walk

 

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Giving by Desire

We’re continuing to look at Paul’s exhortation on giving in his letter to the Corinthian church.  A while earlier they had promised to give an offering to the churches in Judea who were experiencing a famine.

He’s now encouraging them to continue with their plans.  In my last couple of posts, Paul gave testimony about the giving of the Macedonian churches.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
2 Corinthians 8:8-9

In listening to Paul’s words, we can get a fresh perspective of how offerings work; or at least how they should work.  Remember, he’s talking about offerings and not tithes at this point.  (Tithes are the first 10%; offerings are over and above that point.)

What we have to realize is that Paul is an apostle, called by God to establish and maintain the churches under his care.  As such, he had the authority to command them, if that was God’s will.

However, he made it clear that he was not commanding them.  Offerings must be given out of love, not obedience or guilt.

He wanted them to prove themselves.  Paul wanted them to see their love in comparison to others.  According to the apostle, the true test is the speed at which you fulfill your promise.

But now we come to the verse that brings on many arguments.  Paul uses Christ, Himself, as an example.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9

The words used for poor/poverty and rich are very important.  First, both the words poor and poverty means being absolutely and publically impoverished.  I believe that hanging naked on a cross is the definition of this.

On the other hand, rich means to be abounding in money and possessions.  That’s where the problem comes in.  I can hear it now.  “Oh no!  Another prosperity preacher.”

I do believe that God wants His people to prosper but listen to the Biblical definition.  True Biblical prosperity means that God abundantly supplies all I need to fulfill what He’s called me to do.  Then, on top of that, He blesses me with even more so that I can be a blessing to others.

But I digress.  The issue is about the willingness to give.  Paul gives a summary of this thought.

And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so.  Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.  For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
2 Corinthians 8:10-12

Question: What are your attitudes toward the giving of offerings?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Ministry Qualities Part 3

This is the third in a series about the earmarks of a godly ministry according to the Apostle Paul.  He wrote about them in his second letter to the Corinthian church.

…in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left…
2 Corinthians 6:6-7

My last post ended with patience.  Now we’ll continue on…

Kindness – This is a quality that most believers don’t understand properly.  For a detailed explanation, click here.

Simply put, kindness is not just a matter of doing nice things for people.  In God’s eyes, the definition of kindness is; doing good to those who absolutely don’t deserve it.

Our problem is, when someone is doing wrong, we want to see them punished.  Of course, when we do something wrong, we want to be forgiven.

We need to spend time with the Lord so that we can pick up the same heart that he has.  In that way we can show the love of Christ to all people – even those we label as “undeserving”.  We must see others as the Father sees them.  They all have great potential in Christ.

In the Holy Spirit – This is probably the most important one.  Many of the qualities we’ve looked at so far are impossible to maintain in our own strength.  We need the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

That’s how the fruit are produced.  We must remain in the vine – Christ Jesus.  Time spent praying in the Holy Spirit is never wasted.  It changes us more and more into the image of Christ.

Sincere Love – This is a big one!  The literal Greek reads love without hypocrisy.  How can we do that?

This verse is talking about agape-love.  This love is a choice; there’s no emotional involvement.

So if I show love – doing something good – for someone I really don’t like, isn’t that hypocritical?  Good question.

Actually, that’s not being hypocritical; it’s being obedient to the Lord.  Hypocrisy would be to do something nice for them now, then gossip about them when they’re not around.  We’re to show people love and respect whether we like them or not.  This also includes whether they’re physically present or not.

This is another reason why we need the power of the Holy Spirit active in our lives.  Without His influence, we could never hope to live up to these godly qualities.

Question: How have others treated you with kindness and love in the past?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 

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A Return to Fellowship

As we continue in the epistle of 2 Corinthians, Paul deals with a subject that was started in his first letter.  At that time he told the church to bring discipline upon a member who was unrepentant in an obvious sin (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent — not to put it too severely.  The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him.
2 Corinthians 2:5-6

Apparently, the church at Corinth followed Paul’s command to break fellowship with the believer who was in sin.  After hearing the letter, they became grieved over this problem.

The way Paul describes this discipline process is very interesting.  The phrase, punishment inflicted, is actually a word that comes from a tax being levied.

The only people who are taxed are the citizens.  By using this word, Paul affirms that even though they broke fellowship with this person, he still belonged to Christ.

Now, because of their obedience, this man repented.

Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.  I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.
2 Corinthians 2:7-8

Now we come to the most important part of the discipline process.  Three things are required so that the repentant believer will not give up through self-blame.  This is especially needed in the body of Christ where we are so often rightly accused of “shooting our wounded”.

The first is thing is to forgive.  The word Paul used is not the normal one for forgiveness.  It actually means to show grace toward.  We need to bestow the same grace God shows us when we repent.

Next, we need to comfort.  The closest English word to this is the idea of coaching.  Once they repent, mature believers must come alongside them to help them back to their rightful place in the church.

Finally, we need to reaffirm our love for them.  This is the most important step.  The Greek word translated as reaffirm, actually means a public reinstatement to right standing.

This is usually what we ignore in the church today.  Someone falls into sin.  They’re confronted by it and they respond in humility and repentance.  We coach them back to spiritual health.  Then, they quietly fade into the background and are never heard from again.

That’s not right.  If someone was publically rebuked and disciplined, they should also be publically acknowledged when they are restored.  I’ve seen many ministries destroyed because these steps were not followed in the love of Christ.

The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.  If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven — if there was anything to forgive — I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us.  For we are not unaware of his schemes.
2 Corinthians 2:9-11

The apostle closes this section by emphasizing the importance of this step.  Even when someone repents, the devil can still outwit us if we don’t respond correctly.  Too many ministries have ended prematurely by an unforgiving church.

We must be a blessing to those who truly repent.

Question: How has God shown you grace in your repentance?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2020 in Fellowship, Relationships, The Church

 

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Tough Love

As we continue to look at Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we can begin to see his heart for them.  His first letter was very bold and authoritative.  He dealt with many of the sins and failures of the church.

I’m sure that many who read that letter were convicted and sorrowful over their actions.  Paul understood this and now he addresses this issue.

I call God as my witness that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.  Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.
2 Corinthians 1:23-24

The first thing Paul does is to let the church know that he understands his place in this process of correction and renewal.  It’s something that modern church leaders need to follow after.

He essentially says that “I am not the lord over your faith.  Instead, I’m a fellow worker with you.”  That’s an important concept for all leaders to grasp.  There’s only one Lord in the church – Jesus Christ the Son of God.

It’s not up to me, as a church leader, to make people do what they’re supposed to do.  All I can do is instruct in the way of Christ.  Then, the choice is theirs whether they’ll follow or not.

I can’t make them stand firm in their faith.  Faith is personal.  Everyone needs to stand on their own as they trust in God and His ways.

So I made up my mind that I would not make another painful visit to you.  For if I grieve you, who is left to make me glad but you whom I have grieved?  I wrote as I did so that when I came I should not be distressed by those who ought to make me rejoice.  I had confidence in all of you, that you would all share my joy.
2 Corinthians 2:1-3

Now Paul bares his heart to them.  He’s overflowing with love for them.  After all, it was Paul’s ministry that gave birth to this church (See Acts, chapter 18).  How could anyone ever think that he was out to hurt them?

Usually, Paul is lifted up when he’s with his spiritual children.  But as he was going through that area, he knew that they had just received his letter.  He also knew, by the Spirit, what the effect upon the church would be.

He assumed that there would be much sorrow and guilt.  He also knew that as it ran its course, this sorrow would produce the repentance necessary for the church to get back on track.

Paul was operating in wisdom.  He knew that if he showed up too early, he might short-circuit the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  So Paul made a painful choice to put off his visit until a later time.

For I wrote you out of great distress and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know the depth of my love for you.
2 Corinthians 2:4

This final thought lets us know what Paul was going through as he wrote First Corinthians.  First, he says that he felt under great distress – literally pressure – to write his letter of correction.

Also, he had great anxiety.  This word means that he felt like everything was falling apart.  It was through his great love for the Corinthian people that he forced himself to write a strong word to them.

It took a tough love to help them to get back to their first love for Christ.

Question: How have you experienced someone’s tough love for you?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2020 in Leadership, Ministry, Revival

 

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God’s Armor – Using the Breastplate of Righteousness

In my last post, I showed how the Breastplate of Righteousness was given to us to protect our hearts.  That’s the good ground of our life.  It’s where we plant the good seed of the Word of God.

In Scripture, we’re told to put on the full armor of God.  That means it’s a choice I have to make.  The first thing we need to understand is what this righteousness is.

In the Bible, we’re told about two kinds of righteousness and both of them are important.  First, there’s the position of righteousness.  That means I’m declared righteous simply because I’m in Christ and He’s my righteousness.

Because of this position of righteousness, I can go into the presence of God whenever I want.  Whether I need forgiveness, or simply want to praise and worship the Father, I have 24/7 access to God’s throne.

I praise God for the position of righteousness that we’ve been granted in Christ.  However, that’s not the righteousness that protects our ground.  The breastplate speaks of the walk of righteousness.

How does the walk of righteousness protect my heart?  In the natural, Scripture talks about the enemies that invaded Israel and ruined their fields.  Fire, drought, foxes, stones, salt, weeds, locust, and hail were all causes of crop failure.

In our walk with God, we’re warned to be careful not to form intimate relationships with unbelievers.  We’re told that bad companionships corrupt good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).  By becoming intimate with the world you’re opening up yourself for a broken heart – rocky, stony soil.

When your walk is not right before God, you have an open, unprotected heart.  If you remember, a few posts ago I showed that the armor wasn’t Paul’s invention.  There’s a word picture of God wearing His armor in the Old Testament.

Knowing this, Paul described what the breastplate consists of.

But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
1 Thessalonians 5:8

The first thing Paul talks about here is self-control.  You may not want to hear this, but it takes self-control to put on the breastplate.

The word, self-control, in this verse, is not the same as the fruit of the spirit.  This Greek word means to be sober, not drunk.  We can’t be so intoxicated with the world that we miss God’s best.

Then, Paul gives us a closer look at this breastplate.  He tells us that it’s comprised of a combination of faith and love.  Walking in faith and love is the completion of your righteousness before God.

It should be obvious how this works.  I must choose to trust God.  I must choose to love God.  This is a daily choice, to walk in righteousness.  It’s a faith-love walk.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
Galatians 5:6

In the New Covenant, circumcision is all about the rules of men.  The reality is that in Christ rules don’t count for anything.  Only a walk of righteousness matters.

This verse talks about being in Christ Jesus.  That’s where you have to be to use the armor.  This passage literally says that in Christ…the only thing that has force is faith, energized and made effective, through love.

How does this protect my heart?  When you walk in the combination of faith and love, you’re placing a “force field” of righteousness around your heart.  Your ground is protected, and you can expect your spiritual seed to grow unhindered by the enemy.

Question: What evidence do you see of faith and love working together in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Encouraged to Grow

As Paul nears the end of his first letter to the Corinthian church, he gives a series of exhortations.  I think that we would do well to live by them.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

These five simple statements are the foundation for a growing walk with the Lord.  If we would make it a point to see these activated in our lives, we’d be a lot better off.

Be on your guard.  This literally means to stay awake.  I think that too many Christians are spiritually asleep in this generation.  What do I mean by this?

When you’re asleep, you’re unaware of what’s happening around you.  Spiritual sleep is the same.  There are Christians who are totally unaware of the spiritual aspects of their life.

They think that everything revolves around what they see in the natural.  It’s all about satisfying their wants and desires.  They never ask, “What’s God’s will for my life?”

I need to seek what God has destined me for.  Then, with His strength, I can start heading in that direction.  I want my spiritual eyes to be open.

Stand firm in the faith.  This simply means that once you know what God’s Word says, you don’t waver or move from believing it.

Believing means taking action.  If I believe something is true, then I’ll act on it.  If I believe that a chair is strong enough to hold me, then I’ll sit on it.  If I believe that God’s my Provider, then I’ll move forward in what He’s called me to do.

Be men of courage.  This is the second step of faith.  If I believe that something’s true, then I won’t be afraid to let people know that I believe it.  I think that all too often, courage is the missing ingredient in many of our lives.

We are a part of a culture that tells us that it’s offensive to believe in Jesus Christ as a Savior.  So in order to accommodate them, we keep silent.  At the same time, every other belief is allowed to take center stage.

We need to be vocal about what we believe, while at the same time being sensitive to walk in love.

Be strong.  This actually means to be strengthened.  We shouldn’t be stagnant in our spiritual growth.  There are things we can be doing to build ourselves up.

Prayer in the spirit, meditation on the Word, and fasting are just a few ways to become stronger.  Just like in the physical, we can’t neglect our spiritual health.  If we do, then the consequences could be devastating.

Do everything in love.  This is the one that ties everything else together.  Our lives should reflect the love of Christ in all that we do.

This is the agape-love.  It’s the non-emotional desire to treat others as if you like them, no matter how you actually feel about them.  And also, whether you know them or not.

This love is a choice that we make to walk like Jesus did.  Our love is what will draw people to the cross.  That should be the goal of all that we do.

Question: How well is each of these characteristics visible in your life?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 

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