We must continually remind ourselves of the purpose of life. We are not destined to happiness, nor to health, but to holiness. Today we have far too many desires and interests, and our lives are being consumed and wasted by them. Many of them may be right, noble, and good, and may later be fulfilled, but in the meantime God must cause their importance to us to decrease. The only thing that truly matters is whether a person will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs, a person must have the right relationship with God.
Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe that God can come into me and make me holy? If through your preaching you convince me that I am unholy, I then resent your preaching. The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it is designed to reveal my unholiness, but it also awakens an intense yearning and desire within me. God has only one intended destiny for mankind— holiness. His only goal is to produce saints. God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use, and He did not come to save us out of pity— He came to save us because He created us to be holy. Atonement through the Cross of Christ means that God can put me back into perfect oneness with Himself through the death of Jesus Christ, without a trace of anything coming between us any longer.
Never tolerate, because of sympathy for yourself or for others, any practice that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means absolute purity of your walk before God, the words coming from your mouth, and every thought in your mind— placing every detail of your life under the scrutiny of God Himself. Holiness is not simply what God gives me, but what God has given me that is being exhibited in my life.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. Approved Unto God, 4 R
Is It True? How Can I Know? – 2 Peter 1:16-21 – Skip Heitzig
Let us not neglect our meeting together, . . . but encourage one another.Hebrews 10:25
Denmark is among the happiest countries in the world, according to the World Happiness Report. The Danes weather their lengthy, dark winters by gathering with friends to share a warm drink or a gracious meal. The word they use for the feelings associated with those moments is hygge (hoo-gah). Hygge helps them offset the impact of enjoying less sunlight than their counterparts at lower latitudes. By circling around a simple table with loved ones, their hearts are nourished.
The writer of Hebrews encourages gathering together as a community. He acknowledges that there will be difficult days—with challenges far more significant than the weather—requiring those who follow Christ to persevere in faith. Though Jesus has made certain our acceptance by God through our faith in the Savior, we may struggle against shame or doubt or real opposition. By gathering together, we have the privilege of encouraging one another. When we’re sharing company, we’re able to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” which bolsters our faith (Hebrews 10:24).
Gathering with friends doesn’t assure us of a ranking on a “happiness report.” It is, however, something the Bible offers as a means to bear us up in faith under the common frustrations of life. What a wonderful reason to seek out the community of a church or to open our homes—with an attitude of Danish simplicity—to nourish one another’s hearts!
What kind of life do you think brings contentment? You might assume it’s one with few problems, good health, financial security, and a loving family. But that was not the apostle Paul’s experience. His life was filled with dangers, rejection, personal attacks, beatings, and imprisonment, yet he claimed to have learned the secret of being content in every circumstance. The source of his contentedness was obviously not his situation, and that can be true for you as well.
The secret that he discovered was to focus on and rejoice in the Lord. Paul knew he was spiritually rich and had been given “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). The comforts and pleasures of this life were not worthy to be compared to the eternal glory that awaited him (Romans 8:18).
Contentment is hard to find and even harder to keep. There’s always something newer and better to acquire or a more appealing relationship to pursue. What’s more, the hardships of life can easily drag us down if we don’t keep our focus on the Lord. When you feel unsatisfied, remember all you have in Christ and respond according to these truths rather than your feelings.
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
In His final earthly days, our precious Lord boldly journeyed toward Jerusalem to that “beautiful awful cross.” This was set against the trembling fear of His disciples (Mark 10:32). He confided to them the upcoming tragic events of His last days. He would “be delivered unto the chief priests…and they shall condemn him to death…and they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again” (vv. 33-34).
Although the Master Servant demonstrated selfless boldness on His approaching suffering, James and John demanded that the Lord serve them and grant them dual thrones in glory, one on His right and one on His left (vv. 35-40).
Our Lord’s response was directed to all who are “in Christ.” We must take up that same cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34). Jesus called us slaves of the Kingdom, and said, “Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant [Greek doulos, lowest male slave] of all” (Mark 10:43-44). Jesus came to serve and to pay on the cross the purchase price for our redemption. His life and death serve as an example for believers to follow.
What is our attitude toward those who are spiritually bankrupt and in desperate need of the gospel? Do we intentionally serve those whom God providentially brings into our lives, or do we demand service? Like our Lord, are we interruptible, willing to lay aside the busyness of our all-important schedules to serve even the lowliest person in need?
Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. —Mark 1:11
It is the Spirit of Christ in us that will draw Satan’s fire. The people of the world will not much care what we believe and they will stare vacantly at our religious forms, but there is one thing they will never forgive us—the presence of God’s Spirit in our hearts.
They may not know the cause of that strange feeling of antagonism which rises within them, but it will be nonetheless real and dangerous. Satan will never cease to make war on the Man-child, and the soul in which dwells the Spirit of Christ will continue to be the target for his attacks. WOSO04
Immediately after a person has received the witness of the Spirit,…the adversary charges down upon the soul….It is well for all such assaulted individuals to remember that just as soon as the Son of God received the…baptism of the Holy Ghost on the banks of the Jordan, that He was immediately afterwards driven into the wilderness and there tempted forty days by the devil. He conquered by faith and in the use of the Word of God. We can do the same. SAN066
Honor His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice.—Psalm 105:3
The second fruit of the Spirit listed by Paul is joy (Gl 5:22). It is no mere accident that “joy” follows the first, love. Joy is a byproduct of love. If you concentrate on getting joy, it will elude you. But if you concentrate on getting love, then joy will seek you out—you will be automatically joyful.
The nine qualities of the fruit of the Spirit are not natural attributes, but supernatural ones. You cannot manufacture them—they just appear in our lives as we allow the Holy Spirit to have His way within us. I know many Christians who find it difficult to embrace the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. They not only don’t expect joy—they don’t want it. One grim Christian said to me once: “At the heart of our faith is a cross. This means we ought to be spending our time weeping, not laughing.”
Well, it is true that there is a cross at the heart of the Christian faith and that following Christ involves some rigorous self-denials, but it does not alter—and cannot alter—the fact that the fruit of the Spirit is joy. We cannot deny that there is a good deal of suffering in Christianity, but beneath the suffering is a joy that will, if we allow it, burst upward through everything. I am bound to say that if there is no joy, there is no Christianity, for Christianity is inherent joy. The empty tomb takes away our empty gloom. We have an Easter morning in our faith, and that means there is always a reason to rejoice.
Father, I am so thankful that Your Holy Spirit applies redemption right to the roots of my being. Thus I can be glad even when I am sad. Thank You, dear Father. Amen.
The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you abandon Him, He will abandon you.—2 Chronicles 15:2
Our response to God greatly determines His presence in our lives. If we seek God with all of our hearts, then we will find Him (Jer. 29:13–14). The Lord wants to have fellowship with us, but He will not force a relationship upon us. We cannot reject fellowship with God and expect Him to remain near. He does not merely follow us throughout our day in case we need His assistance. If we continue to forsake Him, a time will come when we desperately need Him and He will not be near (Isa. 59:1–2).
It is an affront to sovereign God to treat Him like a servant who should wait upon us. God will relate to us on His terms, not ours. God desires a close walk with us. He will make His presence real and personal if that is our desire. If we repent of our sin and seek God on His terms, we can look forward to intimate fellowship with Him (James 4:8–10). We are to continually seek Him, not content to enter a new day without the assurance that God is walking beside us.
Do you say you want to experience God’s presence while your actions reveal otherwise? If you say you want to know God better but neglect studying His word, are you truly seeking Him? Have you regularly forsaken the place of prayer? If your actions reveal that you are genuinely seeking God, then He promises that you will find Him (Matt. 7:7).