But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.— Acts 1:8 NLT
Power from the Holy Spirit is not limited to strength beyond the ordinary—that power also involves courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability, and authority. The disciples would need all these gifts to fulfill their mission. We need this power to fulfill our mission of making disciples throughout the world.
If you believe in Jesus Christ, you can experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. If you have yet to invite Jesus Christ into your life and heart, today is the day to take advantage of His awesome gift of salvation and have the Holy Spirit empower your life.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.— Romans 12:9
In Romans 12:1 the Apostle Paul beseeches the members of the church at Rome to present their bodies as a “living sacrifice.” A living sacrifice is a life lived in surrender to the will of Jesus Christ, rather than a life lived for its own sake. Most of the rest of the book of Romans gives us some idea of what it means to be a living sacrifice. Romans 12:9, for example, gives us three items that should be part and parcel of the sacrificial life of a Christian.
First, our sacrificial life should be a life of love without hypocrisy. Hypocritical love is love that is two-faced. On the one hand, there is the feigning to be what one is not a false impression of love given to another person. On the other hand, however, there is the real motivation of the heart a hatred and contempt for the other person. Paul’s teaching is that our love should not be like that. It should be sincere, not fake. The sacrificial life of love surrenders its masks.
Second, our sacrificial life should be a life that abhors evil. Perhaps this seems to some as an “It goes without saying” proposition. Of course the true Christian should abhor evil. However, we live in a world where that which is good is said to be evil and that which is evil is said to be good. It’s not always easy to go against the spirit of the times and abhor evil. Our sacrificial life of love, therefore, must conform itself to the word of God and the mind of Christ so that we will have the courage of right conviction to help us obey Paul’s command.
Finally, our sacrificial life should be a life that clings to what is good. We must not just abhor evil; we must also cling to that which is good. Once we conform ourselves to the word of God and the mind of Christ and come to know the difference between evil and good, we should abhor the former and cling to the latter. The sacrificial life of love is not allowed to be half-hearted in these matters.
The sacrificial life is, indeed, sacrificial. We don’t get to do what we want, but what Jesus Christ the King wants.
Why is it so easy to lie? Telling a falsehood is something we all did as children, but lying can trip up even longtime Christians. The underlying motive for giving in to deception is usually a desire to protect ourselves in some way. We lie to get out of trouble, to avoid an unwanted situation, to profit financially, to receive acceptance, to bolster our image, to hide our flaws, or for other self-serving reasons.
Are you willing to commit to speaking truth even when it’s costly? Altering income tax information, falsely enhancing your image on social media, or ignoring a miscalculation in your favor on a receipt isn’t worth the loss of character that comes with deception. Seeking to please the Lord and letting Him handle the consequences will always be the best course of action.
Today we live in a society that is convinced there are no absolute moral truths. It not only considers the Bible outdated and irrelevant to contemporary problems but also sees each person as free to decide what is right. As a result, our culture is ungodly, immoral, violent, and self-centered. How are we as Christians supposed to live in such an environment?
We need look no further than the example of a teenage boy named Daniel, who had the courage to stand for his convictions in the midst of the depraved atmosphere of Babylon. Despite his immersion in Babylonian culture, he committed to following the Lord faithfully, even if doing so would cost him his life. The issue of diet may seem trivial to us, but Jewish people of his day believed eating meat that had been offered to idols was an abomination to God.
In the modern Western world, we may find it hard to relate to Daniel’s example. Few of us are willing to take such a bold stand even though we have no fear of losing our life. It’s the threat of rejection, ridicule, or being seen as narrow-minded or judgmental that keeps us silent. Or worse, it may be that we don’t have any strong convictions because we haven’t let God’s Word develop them within us. Ignorance of Scripture may let us live comfortably in a sinful culture, but it will never please the Lord.
God is looking for people like Daniel—followers of Christ who will stand by their convictions, regardless of threats or the temptation to compromise for the sake of profit or acceptance. Are you such a person?