Warning: this post is not for those who think they have arrived at a state of permanent humility:)
I've just been through a sad experience and wish it weren't true. I’ve been visiting a new congregation for the past few weeks and have been astounded by its culture. Their scriptural/spiritual understanding regarding church life and brotherly love has floored me by its non-existence! Instead, I found that power and position dominate the carnal mind set, and clique games are played for advantage. It seems that the Lord has been absent here for far too long. I wonder what He would have written to this church? It got me thinking about the sadness of it all and the waste of spiritual potential ... but then I should not be astonished because I have seen it all too often. Satan has the right people in the right place to destroy (or at least hinder) the Lord’s work.
Christians have no excuse for behaving so badly because they have all the tools they need to glorify the Lord: His word, His admonitions, His encouragement, His tools of warfare. But tools are no good if they are not picked up and used. How about turning remarks like, “Don’t tell me anything!” (in response to a well-meant, encouraging suggestion) into, “Thank you for your brotherly concern.” How about obeying Romans 12:2-3 (NIV): “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
The apostle Peter concurs in 2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV) and tells us “to make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”
Did you know that the word add in Greek is epichorēgeō , a composite from Strong's G1909 and G5524 meaning to furnish besides, that is, fully supply, (figuratively) aid or contribute: - add, minister (nourishment, unto). In classical Greek this word was used to describe the benevolence, generosity, largeness and bounty of rich citizens with which they fitted out a war host in preparation for battle. It pointed to the abundant supplies furnished to complete a mission. If you think of that little word add in this context, you can grasp the abundance of each grace that is to be piled on top of the previous one. What a picture!
And then consider Paul’s instructions in Philippians 2:1-5 (NIV): “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” In other words, be humble!
I sincerely hope that your congregation does not reflect the one I have been visiting. But if it does, please pray for change and ask the Lord to show you what you can do to help bring about that change!
Everyone agrees that being healthy is good. It makes you feel better and allows you to do more with your life. But did you ever expect getting a health tip from the apostle Paul?
When a bible study group focused on Romans 13, one of the members walked in with a brilliant smile on her face. "I have a health tip for you!" she announced. "Do you want to hear it right now or wait until we have read the chapter?"
The consensus was that we read the chapter - but no one could find the health tip! Open your Bible and look through the whole chapter to see if you can find it … Did you read? ... Did you find it?
Here's a clue: the apostle Paul wrote, Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves... Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. Rom.13:1-5
And there it is ... our health tip ... a clear conscience! I am sure you have heard about the mind-body connection God has blessed us with. A good conscience gives peace of mind, and a peaceful mind reduces stress levels and muscle tension, to say the least. A health tip straight from the mouth of God!
Let's follow Paul's motto, always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men (Acts 24:16) - and live healthier lives.