“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (Galatians 6:4-5).
God gives each follower of Jesus one or more spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:7). He expects us to use the ability He gives us. And He doesn’t expect us to have the ability he gives another believer. The problem comes when we become envious of what someone else has accomplished.
Jesus gave the same praise to the man who used his two talents as the one who use his five (Matt. 25:19-23).
Apply what we have been given and we’ll receive the same praise.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So, we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we can see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
What do you think the believers were thinking just prior to their beheading by the Isis soldiers? It may have been the above verses. The death they saw coming would soon be over, but the heaven they could not yet see would last forever.
This should be our focus for whatever we suffer, large or small, for our Christian stand.
“You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is good for you. You say, ‘I am allowed to do anything’—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others…So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:23-24, 31).
The simple answer to the question is, yes. Our freedom is limited. Before we speak or act, we should ask ourselves, how will this affect others? We don’t live exclusively to ourselves. Will my actions cause others to shy away from Jesus or be drawn to Him?
The lyrics of the old song, “I lived it my way,” shouldn’t apply to us who are followers of Christ.
“Jesus turned to Peter and said, ‘Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You see things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s'”(Matthew 16:23).
Peter had just previously proclaimed Jesus the Messiah. Now, Peter rebukes Jesus for saying he was going to die.
Before we condemn Peter for being such a dunce, how many times have done the same thing? How easily we forget. We seem to have no problem in walking with the Lord when life is good. But what about the times when life doesn’t seem fair and right and we think it’s absolutely cruel?
From whose point of view are we looking at life then?
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
We are confronted with the behavior and customs of this world everyday. And, if we’re not careful, it’s easy to be pulled in that direction.
Adam and Eve conformed and many since them have too. What are the keys to go from being conformed to being transformed?
First, be born again by faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ. (John 1:12-13)
Second, continue daily putting away the old way of life, and living the new way which is spelled out in God’s Word, the Bible. (Colossians 3:5-11)
“He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like His own” (Philippians 3:21).
The older we get, the more our bodies seem to break down; a reminder that this is not our home.
Wracked with pain, disease, or disability? Take heart and hang on a little longer. We have something beyond our imaginations waiting for us.
“Go up to this land that flows with milk and honey. But I will not travel among you, for you are a stubborn and rebellious people…If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place” (Exodus 33:3,15).
Moses gives us the right pattern to follow doesn’t he. The question that we should ask the Lord before any action, decision, or attitude should be:
“Lord, are you in agreement with this? Is this the action, decision, or attitude I should take? If it’s not, I’m not going.”
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance…strength of character…confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment” (Romans 5:3-5).
People of the world will say, “Be happy about my problems? You got to be kidding!
But those of us who are not of this world believe differently, don’t we.
The world says trials bring disappointment and discouragement. God says they will lead ultimately to hope and rejoicing, and a closer walk with Him. The choice is ours.
I think I’ll put my money on what God says.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin” (Romans 4:7-8).
The apostle Paul, in writing to the believers in Rome, quoted this passage from Psalms to show that faith in the finished works of Jesus is the only way to heaven.
Salvation and real joy is not obtained by our works, but by our faith in Jesus.
Whatever hardships we may face now will become dimmer as we think beyond them to what we have waiting for us in eternity.
That should bring a smile to our face.
“Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years—a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins” (Numbers 14:34).
Twelve men were sent out to spy out the land. Ten came back and said the land could not be taken. Only Joshua and Caleb said it could.
The ten stirred up the people so much so that they complained. They wanted to go back to Egypt, or die in the wilderness. They didn’t believe the Lord was capable of doing what He promised—take them into the land.
So, the consequences of their rebellion was that they died in the wilderness. Does that mean God didn’t love them? No! They were still His people.
The same is true for us. When we ask forgiveness for our wrong choices, He forgives us, but we still live with the consequences.
God has left us His Word so we will be guided in our choices. He loves us! He would rather we reap benefits instead of consequences.