For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.—Colossians 2:5
Christians generally associate faith with when they received the Lord as their Savior and rightly so. By believing in Christ, we enter into a relationship with Him. But that’s not the end—after our initial decision comes a lifetime of walking with Him.
The word walk is used to describe behavior and conduct. We may mistakenly conclude that after salvation, the Christian life is all about doing things for the Lord. Colossians 2:5-7 clearly state that we walk with Christ in the same way we received Him—by faith. This means we place our trust in Him for every circumstance of life.
Remember, God does not grade our daily life and performance on a salvation scale. He looks at one thing, as I’ve said. He’s looking at our faith in Jesus Christ and our desire to walk with Him daily. Pull out all the stops and let faith be your guide.
2You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.—Matt 10:22
Standing firm is not a way to be saved but it is the evidence that a person is really committed and devoted to Jesus. Endurance is not a means to earn salvation either; it is a by-product of a truly devoted life for Christ. Endurance grows out of commitment to Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10:22, Jesus predicted that his followers would be severely persecuted by those who hated what he stood for. In the midst of terrible persecutions, however, they could have hope, knowing that salvation was theirs. Times of trial serve to weed out true Christians from false or fair-weather Christians.
When you are pressured to give up and turn your back on Christ, don’t do it. Remember, the benefits of standing firm and continuing to live for Christ far outweigh anything the enemy has to offer.
Remember to praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Jericho was the first city the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan. When sending a pair of spies to check it out, Joshua probably didn’t realize that he would receive a glimpse of the Lord’s impressive behind-the-scenes activity.
We must remember to look at every obstacle through the lens of God’s unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power. Just because we don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean He’s inactive. God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arranging the details and bringing His plans to fruition.
When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord. The stage was set for the conquest, though by that point, Joshua hadn’t done a thing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the opposition by instilling demoralizing fear.
For the Christian, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement. Although much of the Lord’s activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our life. When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.
Every Christian is answerable to Jesus for how she or he chooses to live. But we will not stand before the great white throne of Revelation 20:11—that is where unbelievers will be judged. Instead, we will go before Christ’s judgment seat and give an account of ourselves.
If it seems like a contradiction to say believers won’t be judged but will stand before Christ’s judgment seat, look at 2 Corinthians 5:10. The Greek word used there for “judgment seat” is béma, which means “a place where justice is administered.” Those who believe in the Savior won’t be condemned to death, because they are saved. They will live and be accountable to Him.
Do not confuse accountability with giving a defense. We won’t defend our ungodly actions—those things we said and did that brought no honor to the Lord or His name. God likens our selfish works to wood, hay, and stubble, which are items fit only for the fire (1 Corinthians 3:13). The valuable thoughts, words, and deeds that serve the Lord are exchanged for rewards in heaven.
What we’ll be judged on is the quality of our work. God has given every believer an individual purpose, along with the personality, talents, and spiritual gifts needed to fulfill it. The question that will be answered at Christ’s judgment seat is, Did I live out my purpose to honor and glorify God?
Standing before Christ’s judgment seat is something to look forward to. We need not fear, since believers are co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Rom. 8:34). Because of His sacrifice, we have a right to the treasures of heaven. And the Lord is eager to bestow them as a reward for faithfulness and obedience.
“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for”—Ephesians 1:11
A person can be religious and yet lost. Attending church won’t make you God’s child. You must accept his offer. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”(1 Peter 3:18).
It makes no sense to seek your God-given strength until you trust in his. “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for” (Ephesians 1:11). Take a few moments and talk to God. Whether you are making a decision or reaffirming an earlier one, talk to your Maker about your eternal life. You might find this prayer helpful:
Immanuel, you are with me. You became a person and took on flesh. You became my Savior and took on my sin. I accept your gift. I receive you as my Lord, Savior, and friend. Because of you, I’ll never be alone again!
Worship adjusts us. It lowers the chin of the haughty and straightens the back of the burdened. It bows the knees, singing to him our praise. It opens our hearts, offering to him our uniqueness. Worship properly positions the worshiper. And oh, how we need it! We walk through life so bent out of shape. Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King. Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1).
We worship God because we need to. But our need runs a distant second to the thoroughbred reason for worship—God deserves it. God would die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior? You lift up your gift in worship!
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself”—2 Timothy 2:13
Have you ever doubted God? At some point in life, every one of us could probably answer yes. Doubts come when our expectations are not met—for example, when we believe that God will act a certain way, but He doesn’t. Then we start to question His love and wonder whether He truly has our best interest at heart.
The most famous doubter in the Bible is Thomas. He wasn’t with the other disciples when the resurrected Jesus appeared to them. Later, when they told Thomas that they had seen the Lord, he refused to believe. He’d left everything to follow Jesus, but the crucifixion had dashed his expectations of a glorious messianic kingdom. In his doubting state, Thomas demanded proof before he would believe.
Have you ever considered how bold Thomas’s ultimatum was? No human being has the right to demand anything of the Son of God. Yet the following week, the Lord appeared to the doubting disciple and graciously offered the proof Thomas wanted. Jesus knew this wasn’t a case of rebellious unbelief, because Thomas belonged to Him (John 18:9).
When we are the Lord’s, we never have to fear that He will cut us off. Remember Scripture’s words of assurance: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Our doubts should be a reminder that we have much more to learn about God. So let’s think of them as a challenge to dig deeply into His Word to discover why our expectations have led us astray. The more we grow in our knowledge of our Lord, the more we’ll trust Him.