Personal ambition and servant-hood aren’t always compatible. In fact, they are often at odds with each other. A servant’s goal is to please his or her master in whatever way is required, but personal ambition strives for self-advancement. Jesus’ words from today’s passage must have sounded foreign to the disciples’ ears since, according to the thinking of their culture, greatness was acquired by striving for it, not by serving.
Like them, we live in a world where many people are seeking to make a name for themselves. They set goals, make plans, and do whatever is necessary to achieve what they’ve set out to do. But as Christians, we’re to live by a different standard: exalt Christ, obey His commands, and serve Him faithfully by doing His will, not our own.
We’re not called to gain fame and fortune by leaving our footprints in concrete for all to admire. Our task is to humbly follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Whether our lives have a large or small impact is up to God, not us. The greatest acts of service are not usually flashy displays; more often they’re commonplace gestures like being kind to strangers, ministering to fellow believers, and praying for others.
Jesus humbled Himself, surrendered His rights, and obeyed God even to the point of death on the cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Being His servant begins with the same attitude. It requires helping others when it’s not convenient, doing tasks that are not glamorous, and obeying the Lord even if it’s costly. We aren’t on earth to build our own kingdom but to faithfully serve God as He builds His.
“God is strong and can keep you from falling. He can bring you before his glory without any wrong in you and give you great joy”— Jude 1:24 NIV
On what basis can we make it all the way to the glory of the next life and everything it includes? Does it all depend on us? Does it all depend on our ability to do what is right and avoid doing what is wrong? Not according to our verse for today.
According to our verse, it all depends on God. It all depends on God’s strength. We will make it through to the end because God is strong. He is the awesome and almighty Lord of heaven and earth who controls the destiny of all things and He can make sure that we stand firm to the end. He can make sure that we receive the three things promised in our verse.
First, He can keep us from falling. That is, God can keep us from falling away from faith in God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is the one who predestined us to be conformed to the image of His son and He can keep us from falling away from the son (Romans 8:29). Even though we may still sin, we will not abandon the faith. Although we may stumble, we will not fall, for the Lord upholds us with His hand (Psalm 37:24).
Second, God can bring us before His glory without any wrong in us. That is, God’s glory will be revealed on Judgement Day and He can make sure that at that time we are “blameless and holy” (I Thessalonians 3:13) and “without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:22). Our righteousness before Him will not be due to anything we have done, but because He has sustained our faith in Jesus Christ.
Finally, He can give us great joy. On Judgement Day we will have great joy because we will be found acceptable in the sight of God. As a result, we will inherit all the blessings of the next life. We will have great joy knowing that we have been rescued from sin, sorrow, and an eternity in hell.
If you have stumbled, don’t forget that God is strong. He will keep you from falling all the way down.
“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”— James 5:16
Given the righteousness that we have in Christ Jesus, anyone in Christ may come before God in prayer with a clear conscience and without fear of condemnation. In point of fact, anyone in Christ may come before God with the expectation of good results.
Hebrews 4:16 says “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” We don’t have to grovel before God or get someone better than us to get what we need. Every Christian may come before Him with great confidence.
I started writing this blog some time ago. How long to be exact I’m not sure. I started out with the intention of writing uplifting messages that show God’s love and care for us. I felt like a lot of people needed to read these stories. But, much to my surprise, my daily statistics show very few people visit my blog. Therefore, I am prayerfully considering to “continue writing anyway.” That’s right, I’m not giving up just yet.
You see, numbers in the grand scheme of things aren’t important. It’s the message that’s important. I believe with all my heart that someone out there will stumble across my blog one day and be saved by reading it’s messages. That’s why I continue to write each day.
I will not give up on that one individual who desperately needs to hear about Jesus and His soul saving action of dying on the cross. Many people don’t know who Jesus is and what He did for mankind. In my opinion that is sad. We as believers have the responsibility of sharing the “good news” with others. What “good news” you might ask?
The “good news” is that Jesus died for our sins so that we may have eternal life in heaven after we die. There is only one way to an eternal life in heaven and that is through our belief that Jesus died for our sins. Take the time to tell others about this great act and the free gift given to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ. Your gift of the gospel may be the one thing that saves that person from eternal damnation. So, give it away. It’s your free “Good News” gift to those around you.
In the 1990s many Christians joined the trend of wearing small wristbands bearing the letters W.W.J.D., which stood for the question “What Would Jesus Do?” Although the fad has passed, the question is still valid. It’s designed to prompt us to consider whether our words, actions, and attitudes are an accurate reflection of the life of our Savior.
However, before we can accurately assess whether we are doing what Jesus would, we need to have a comprehensive understanding of what He said and did, as recorded in Scripture. It’s easy to take a few verses and come away with a simplistic view of the Lord. Most people are tempted to make Jesus into an image of what they want Him to be instead of trying to see the whole picture. Yes, He responded to people with love and compassion, but He also told them to stop sinning and warned them about the dangers of hell.
If we truly want to respond like Christ, it will take more than a reminder from a bracelet. We must yearn to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” Rom. 13:14. This means we must learn who Christ is through daily Scripture reading and pray for Him to transform our heart. That will help purify our life from sin and align our thoughts and desires with His.
Then, as we not only show His compassion and concern for the lost but also warn them of the danger they face by rejecting Him, some may be drawn to our Savior. And since “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” Luke 19:10, we know our actions are in line with what He would do.
“Not everyone who calls out to me, Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”
— Matthew 7:21 NLT
Some self-professed athletes can “talk” a great game, but that tells you nothing about their athletic skills. And not everyone who talks about heaven belongs to God’s kingdom. Jesus is more concerned about our walk than our talk. He wants us to do right, not just say the right words.
Your house (which represents your life) will withstand the storms of life only if you do what is right instead of just talking about it. What you do cannot be separated from what you believe.
“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Can you relate to Paul’s statement from Romans 7:19? Although sin’s power has been broken in the Christian’s life, it can still exert influence. That’s why the apostle tells us not to let sin reign in our bodies—otherwise, it could lead us away from the Lord and hinder His transformative work (Rom. 6:12-13).
Divine discipline is one of the means God employs to halt the progress of sinful behavior in His children. But it doesn’t always have to come to that. Paul suggested that the Corinthians examine their hearts prior to participating in the Lord’s Supper. Then they could correct themselves before coming under the Father’s discipline.
We can adopt the same practice of self-examination in our daily life by asking God where we might be harboring wrong attitudes or hidden sin. Then as we pray and read the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will help us see where we have gone astray. If we truly desire to mature in our faith, we will honestly confront the problem areas He reveals. This is done by confessing our sins and turning from them in repentance. But if we delay in this process, we are inviting His discipline.
Sin is not something that we can sweep under the rug and ignore. Unless we put it to death, it will grow and poison our life. The heavenly Father knows this, and because He loves us, He may forcefully intervene with divine discipline so we can be forgiven and restored to fellowship with Him for eternity (Heb. 12:6).