The Power of a Good Example

The Bible clearly teaches that we will be judged by our actions. Revelation 20:12 tells of judgment where “…I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” The books (Old Testament and New Testament) reveal the standard of what we must do in order to please Him (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 1:3). Paul clearly links our actions to eternal punishment or reward (Romans 2:6-11 – note the variations of “do” and its direct relationship to the results). Jesus says that we will even be called into judgment for every careless word (Matthew 12:36). What we do and say impacts our eternal life.

Our actions also enrich our earthly life and the lives of others. I think the scripture makes it clear that God does not want us to live holy lives to prepare for a grand accounting, but rather to share in His holiness and to be like His righteous Son. Jesus lived the life of a servant and had a tremendous impact on the lives of those He touched. When we live like Him, we will make our world a better place.

When you are young your example can influence young and old. Young people who stand against the filthy and impure activities common with “sins of youth” may embolden other young people to make the tough decision to life holy in an ungodly world (Titus 2:11-14). Their righteousness encourages older Christians who are distressed with the wickedness they see in so many youth. Young people living active Christian lives make choices they can be proud of throughout their lives. I have talked with so many people who lived with much shame and regret for time spent in youthful lusts and opportunities to serve God that were squandered so they could wallow in the mud.

I hope you are choosing such a life. Your Creator knows what is best for you and wants you to enjoy your youth and if you follow His commands you truly will.

Does Your Facebook Activity Betray You?

Guest post by Aaron Beard

 It was a highly pressurized situation.  Jesus had been arrested on the way out of the Garden of Gethsemane and was in the process of going through one of a series “kangaroo court” hearings.  He had been mocked, spit upon, and struck with a staff on his head while wearing a crown of thorns.  During the last of these illegal hearings held by the Jewish leaders, Peter was standing outside in the courtyard.  He was there warming himself at the fire andwas surrounded by a group of people who were hostile to Jesus.  At that moment, people started asking Peter questions about whether or not he was one of Jesus’ disciples.   He likely assumed if he was identified as afollower of Jesus that he too would be arrested, beaten, or even killed.  At first Peter politely denies his association.  Then Peter gets even more adamant in his denial of his relationship with Jesus. At this point Matthew records these words:   “After a little while the bystanders came upand said to Peter, ‘Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you'” (Matthew 26:73).   Sadly, Peter begins to curse and swear saying that he did not know Jesus.  Perhaps Peter began to curse and swear because he was angry and afraid.  Perhaps it was an added effort to cover up the fact that he really was one of the disciples ofJesus.  Peter did tried to cover up who he was, but he could not hide the truth forever.  Eventually it was his speech that gave him away.

 Does Peter’s behavior during the trials of Jesus shock you?  Perhaps it should, but considering the behavior of those who profess to follow Christ today, the less surprising his actions are.  When around the world, it is not uncommon for Christians to either hide their faith or to behave in such a way that their actions betray them.   One place where such contradictory behavior and speech is common is the internet networking blog called Facebook.  Facebook can be a usefultool to glorify the Lord and spiritual things. This is very refreshing, especially with the sinful garbage that dominates the internet.  But sadly, the Facebook activity of some who are supposed to be Christians does more to glorify sin and this world.  Some profess to be Christians, while their Facebook activity tells a much different story.  Whether we realize it or not, what we do on Facebook speaks volumes about us.   When you look at a person’s profile, pictures, updates, and comments you learn much about their life – their family, job, hobbies, dislikes, food preferences, daily activities, goals, dreams, relationships, and so much more.  So if a person is trying to please God, would that also not be evident in the things they do on Facebook?   It must be! Paul writes, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).   If this is true of us, Jesus will permeate all aspects of our life.  This would certainly include what we do on Facebook.

 Consider some ways people who profess to follow Christ can be betrayed by their Facebook activity.   Some will post pictures of themselves and others in clothing that is immodest.  Personally speaking, I have been saddened and even sickened by having to see way too much of some of my friends who are supposed to be Christians.  Our clothing should be consistent with that of a person confessing godliness with good works (1 Timothy 2:10).  Based on some people’s pictures on Facebook, they are certainly professing something but it sure isn’t godliness!   Occasionally you will find posts to links forvideos that are unrighteous in nature. Many times the video is supposed to be funny, but its humor comes from sinful behavior or speech.  Have we forgotten the admonition, “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9)?  It is also fairly common to see people using language that is ungodly.  Sometimes it is suggestive words about a person’s picture, sometimes it is a vulgar joke,and sometimes it is the use of profanity or euphemisms.  Perhaps one wouldn’t dare type a curse word or take God’s name in vain, but they will use abbreviations like “omg” and evenworse without a second thought.  Paul writes, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving” (Ephesians 5:4).  There are some who would not do any of these things, but they show their approval of those who do.  On Facebook you can leave comments under people’s posts and pictures as well as clicking that you “like” something posted.   Perhaps what we really need is a “dislike” option!  Remember how Peter’s speech betrayed him, making it impossible to hide that he was really one of Jesus’ disciples?   Christians need to carefully consider if their Facebook activity betrays their confession of faith and fellowship with Jesus.

 This Facebook problem is a reflection of the problem of conforming to the world. Romans 12:1 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  It is a great struggle to live in the world while still living above the world, but this is our duty and our goal.

What Do You Do For Fun?

Author Unknown

Several years ago a Christian girl told me about an incident with a young man who had been trying to date her. He was not a member of the church, and they just did not have anything in common. She had turned him down twice and now she had said “no” to attending a rock concert with him. In a kind of mock exasperation, the young man asked, “What do you do for fun?  You don’t dance, you don’t drink, you don’t attend rock concerts. What do you do for fun?”

She replied, “For fun, I get up in the morning without feeling embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about what I did the night before.” The young man had nothing more to say. She was right; it is not fun to feel guilty for your actions the night before. There are many things in life that are fun. For example, the Christian girl is now married to a fine Christian man. They have a little girl and are building an outstanding Christian home together. Think of the fun she is having.

She is having fun every day living without the scars of fornication, drugs, alcohol, or regrets from her past. She is having fun getting ready each afternoon to receive a husband home from work; knowing that he will not be stopping off at the local bar for a few drinks with his friends. She is having fun knowing that her little girl will never see her father in a drunken stupor or experimenting with drugs. She is having fun knowing that while he is away from her, his Christian conduct will not allow infidelity or even flirting. She is having fun watching him hold his little girl on his lap with loving, protective arms. She is having fun living with the assurance that the home will be led by a spiritual leader who will guide each family member towards heaven.

The list of fun things for the Christian is endless.

What do you do for fun?

Stand Strong At School

first day 2009 bNo…I’m not talking about getting your paper, pencils, backpack, or clothes. Are you ready for the new school year. It will be a year of great opportunities but also challenges. Whether in school or when we’re older, we are often challenged to defend who we are.

Pressure from others to conform to their accepted standards is sometimes open and forceful such as bullying or taunting. The pressure is exerted to press someone to conform to a standard or punishment for ignoring or rebelling against the standard.

Pressure may be subtle such as avoiding someone or talking about them. Ignoring sends clear signals of rejection of  the behavior and may be more painful than bullying.

What should a godly teen do?

  1. Following the principle to “esteem others better than self” (Philippians 2:1-10), godly teens should never be involved in bullying, taunting, gossiping, or ignoring others. Every soul is precious in God’s sight and we should see their value as well.
  2. Jesus was a friend to the friendless. So many people want to do great things for the world: cure diseases, save the planet, make changes in government, etc. You can do something greater in someone’s world by being a friend to them. You might be the person who helps them find the answers to the big questions in life they are looking for or to be that friend in their greatest hour of need. Very likely, they will be the friend who will stick by you when others might forsake you.
  3. Embrace your uniqueness! Do you really want to be just like everyone else? When you live as a child of God you reject the foolish and life damaging choices that so many of your “wise” friends make. They will think you are foolish for not following in the path of destruction but the wise will avoid their folly (1 Peter 4:1-5; Psalm 1)
  4. Stand proud and thank God if you are persecuted for your faith because you are in good company. The apostles, prophets, and Jesus Himself was mistreated because of their dedication to God. Pray for them that they may become wise (Matthew 5:10-16; 1 Peter 4:12-19)

“If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you… if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” (ESV)

Do You Follow Jesus or Just Admire Him?

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He was often followed by great crowds. The numbers were so great that at times he had to withdraw from them to have time with His Father. However, Jesus challenged the motives of His followers on certain occasions and some “turned away and followed Him no more,” (John 6:66). On such occasions Jesus did not change His message to be more acceptable to the crowds. He let them depart. Wise followers, such as the apostles, did not cease to follow Him. As Peter said, “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,” (John 6:68).

Today God wants men and women to follow Jesus. Just as in His earthly ministry, Jesus has admirers and followers. The philosopher Sorën Kierkegaard wrote “It is well known that Christ consistently used the expression “follower.” He never asks for admirers, worshippers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching but followers of a life Christ is looking for,(Provocations. P.85). The admirers left Jesus when His message became uncomfortable; the followers changed their lives for the better.

Kierkegaard continues, “What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strive to be what he admires,” (Provocations. P.86). Admirers can be seen wearing religious shirts, attending church, or even teaching Bible classes. They like “God things” and can be very excited about the teaching of Christ–until they hear something that they don’t like or condemns a practice they like. Admirers will leave the teaching to Christ or only follow what agrees with them. Followers will say “thy will be done” and change their lives to conform to eternal principles. Being a follower requires complete submission to God and investing ourselves completely in Him.

If you want the truly fulfilled and exciting life with God, learn how to be followers of Christ: not admirers, adherents, or simply worshippers who are around God but not with God.

%d bloggers like this: