13 02 2019

heart clouds rays

All of us who have experienced the life of faith know that Christianity isn’t just a list of dos and dont’s. Unfortunately, too many Believers are known to their Family and Friends for all the things they don’t do and not enough for their many positive accomplishments. Following Jesus is so much more than just doing the dos and avoiding the don’ts. That’s much too shallow an approach for the genuine, deep, virtuous, free, Spirit-empowered living that we are called to live in Scripture.


Being filled with the Holy Spirit produces so much more than just staying away from what we shouldn’t be doing. God wants to ignite within us a whole new way living. He empowers us to conduct ourselves in such the manner that never would happen without Him calling the shots within our soul. Holy Spirit-filled living that is defined for us in Galatians 5:22-23 should make us stand out in the midst of a world that likes to fit in. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. God will never tell you to cut out the loving kindness. There is no stopping the flow of gentleness and self-control. We need to be constantly urged on to faithfulness and fruitfulness and warned against settling into the trap of faithlessness and fleshliness.


How can you evaluate whether someone has good character, possesses an active faith, is virtuous, and has a servant’s heart? When God evaluates a person’s soul, He looks for evidence that we have been with Jesus. Human Beings are susceptible to becoming like the company they keep. If we hang out more with the world than we do with the Word, then we shouldn’t be surprised when we come up short in walking tall. Compromise clouds our ability to see straight! Avoiding what is wrong doesn’t go far enough. Pursuing after Jesus keeps us in step with the Coach. I want to be known more for being like Jesus.    


Our English word for “character” comes from the Greek word “cherax” or “cherasso,” each of which refers to the chiseling that is done by a metal engraving tool. Character refers to things that have been etched so deeply into our soul that they become lasting marks, not easily changed or removed. Character is manifested in our holiness, honesty, morality, temperance, and commitment to the Lord. When we look into the mirror of our faith, do we see the masterpiece that He is making? When we are around others who don’t know our Jesus, are they intrigued by what they see or just plain turned off? Like all humanity is drawn towards a Museum of Art to observe the portraits of the Masters, I wish crowds would be drawn to church to see the miraculous work of our Christ.


People go to the local Gyms because they are impressed by what they see in others who are in much better shape after they have been there for a while. Others go to see Movies because of the glowing reviews they receive from those who have seen the show. We need to make it worth others while to worship God because of how they have seen it making us better. More often than not, religious experts come off as nothing more than individuals who are always bitter about something. There is not a person reading this who has reached perfection. None of us are sinless and everyone needs the marvelous grace of our loving Lord. If somebody were to observe you for a week, would it make them hungry to know more about what makes you tick or would they be hurrying for the door? 


And they will know we are Christians by our love. It’s Valentines Day week. Krispy Kreme is celebrating the day by making special donuts with words of romance sprinkled all over them. Sounds delicious to me! Lovers will spoil each other with candy and flowers. God will unleash wave upon wave of unconditional attention that none of us deserve but all of us should cherish. What are the specific ways you will say, “I love you” this week? Words are nice but instead of just practicing what we preach, maybe it is time we be more intentional about preaching what we practice. When I want to communicate my love for my wife Terri, I am not emphasizing the negative, I am accentuating the positive. I want her to see, hear, taste, touch and even smell evidence of my affections. I want God to experience the same senses from me. Whatever fills me, spills from me. If it isn’t love, then what will it be?


Church for too long has kept much too much to itself. What happens within the walls of worship should not stay there. We are walking billboards of what we believe. A while I ago I went up on the roof of the Lighthouse Church to make a point. I took a bullhorn with me and began to yell at the cars driving by on Route 9 to come on in and hear about Jesus. I literally cried out, “Hey You in the Ford Focus, we’ve got a chair with your name on it right through those doors!” I looked kind of ridiculous because that is no way to get the word out. The better method is to just show people Jesus! And when I flop and fail–to admit that I am still under construction.


God so loved the world that He came! He didn’t send us a Hallmark Card. He showed up. He brought us exactly what we needed. He told us the truth to set us free. He showed us the way to stop us from living lost. He made it real and we should do the same. Are you ready to love? Be creative in the ways you express your devotion. Do something beyond the norm? Make even yourself surprised. Let’s not just go to church. Let’s be the church! Let’s start now!    



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