Category Archives: Righteousness

Godliness Protects against Stress

wolfNo one has a stress-free life, but having a godly character can be a great buffer against the storms of life.

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

~ Matthew 7:24-25

Godly Training vs. Physical Training

“For physical training is of some value but godliness has value for ALL things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”

~ 1 Tim 4:8

Does this mean that unbelievers don’t have character?  Not at all.  There are many individuals who are refined by great parents or role models who have coached them to success.  They were brought up and molded into capable individuals with much potential to handle high levels of stress; however, while the scriptures acknowledge the value of physical training, it points out that godliness has value for all things, for this life and the life to come. (For the purpose of this article, I am referring to “physical training” as any type of training that does not involve religion.)

What Can We Learn from the 3 Little Pigs?

Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built a house of straw while the second pig built his house with sticks. They built their houses very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day and built his house with bricks.

Many of our problems are produced by the fruit of our character.  If we’re lazy, we do things quickly, often overlooking important details, forgetting deadlines, putting off things until the last minute, letting someone else do it for us, etc.  We like to take shortcuts, but we end up reaping the consequences of our choices because we were not careful in the first place.

“A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.”
~ Proverbs 19:3

If we are diligent, we will take the time to build our house carefully, and we will be patient with the process.

Our house is our life, and we build our house with the choices we make.  Not every choice will be easy (after all, I’m talking about making the right kind of choices that will please God and go against our sinful nature); in the end, if we make it our aim to please God in all that we do, our house will remain standing if it’s built with bricks of righteousness on the foundation of obedience.

Suffering Produces Character

Sometimes I feel like at my age, it’s kind of late to start building character now.  If your life is falling apart and you’re not sure how to put it back together, consider your suffering as an opportunity to produce character in you:

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

~ Romans 5:1-5

Don’t focus on the problems.  Focus on God who pours His love into your heart.  Don’t suffer in vain.  Make your suffering work for you by responding the right way – putting scriptures into practice.

#character #suffering #hope #patience #perseverance #godliness #godlytraining #stress #musingz4life

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Are You in an SWB Relationship?

relationshipYou’ve heard of the term “FWB,” right? As it relates to spirituality, “SWB” is “Saved with Benefits,” meaning you’re saved but there is no commitment to obedience whatsoever. On a personal note, I thought I had a great relationship with God but there were still some areas in my life that were not quite right.

I’ve had an SWB relationship with God — loving the benefits of being a Christian without much sacrifice or suffering. When I say “suffering,” I don’t mean external circumstances or the past over which you had no control. I’m talking about it as in suffering for righteousness because nine times out of ten, obedience does not feel comfortable and it sure feels like suffering when you are denying yourself from what your flesh really wants.

“For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” Acts 9:16

Think not only of Jesus’s sufferings but also of Paul, Abraham, David, Job and other heroes of the faith!  These men are great examples who took their faith to the next level.  Each one is known for his unique love for God but when you closely examine their lives, you will also see how greatly they suffered in order to stay close to God.

“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” Luke 9:24

Intimacy with God requires giving up worldly pleasures for the sake of a healthy relationship with Him based on love and obedience.  No one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).  If you are not serving God, you are serving something else.

We may not always be aware that we have an SWB relationship, but one way I realized this was through a conversation with a friend.  After listening to my complaints and rationalizations, she pointed out that many times we Christians like the benefits of Christ without suffering for righteousness.  To be honest, this conversation opened my eyes to see the countless times when I rationalized my sins in my own head and with other people!

“Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.”  Proverbs 26:12

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.”  Proverbs 3:7

If we are well-meaning Christians, I don’t think we are intentionally in SWB relationships with God, but sometimes we need a little help from friends (especially strong Christians) who will open our eyes to the true condition of our hearts.

#relationships #God #compromise #SWB #musingz4life #righteousness #holiness #obedience #love

Taken for Granted

gods-handsIt’s easy to take people for granted after you’ve known them for a while.  The initial excitement of a new friend or lover wears off after a few months.  The term “Seven Year Itch” refers to the decline in happiness around the seventh year of marriage, but most people I have talked to these days have never had relationships that even made the five-year mark, let alone a year or two!  Divorce rates in Christian marriages continue to skyrocket.  If we cannot fathom what perseverance means in a marriage to another human being whom we can see, how can we understand perseverance in a relationship with God whom we cannot see?

Look at how God pursues us:

“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me;

I was found by those who did not seek me.
To a nation that did not call on my name,
I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’
All day long I have held out my hands
to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
pursuing their own imaginations—
a people who continually provoke me
to my very face…”

 ~ Isaiah 65:1-3

All day long, God holds out His hands to a people who continually reject Him and choose to pursue their own imagination.  I’m not referring to imagination as in terms of delusions, but it’s more like dreaming of your future without including God in your plans.  When you plan for the next 30, 40 or 50 years until you die, do you consider how your life could glorify God in ever-increasing measure, or is it all about you?  God looks for you even though He never crosses your mind for a millisecond.

 11 “But as for you who forsake the Lord
    and forget my holy mountain,
who spread a table for Fortune
and fill bowls of mixed wine for Destiny,
12 I will destine you for the sword,
and all of you will fall in the slaughter;
for I called but you did not answer,
I spoke but you did not listen.
You did evil in my sight
and chose what displeases me.”

~ Isaiah 65:11-12

 How about those who have already tasted the goodness of God and still choose to forsake Him?  Forsaking God is not an overnight process.  It varies for everyone, depending on how much one compromises with evil.  The more you compromise, the faster and easier it becomes to backslide.

 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

 ~ Matthew 13:3-9

 Some who come to the faith last a short time, while others last a very long time and then they fall away.  Very few last until they breathe their last, and that’s why the scriptures say that the road to destruction is wide but the gate to heaven is narrow (Matthew 7:13).  God reaches out to us every single day.  He reaches out to people who don’t know Him yet and extends the same to those who already have a relationship with Him.  Walking with God means having a loving relationship with Him, not only “till death do we part” but for eternity after death.

Have we taken God for granted and chosen the wider path, or will we pray and ask God for help to be obedient so we can stay on the road less traveled?

“In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands.  And his commands are not burdensome.”   

1 John 5:3

#NarrowPath #PleaseGod #love #obedience #musingz4life

Black & White Thinking or Radical Stance?

Isaiah 7 9It’s one thing to say you’re a Christian; it’s another thing to actually walk the walk, especially when another Christian catches you in the wrong and calls you out of your comfort zone.  What if another Christian is calling you to repentance in an area where you don’t think you’re wrong?

Some sins are obvious: sexual immorality, jealousy, gossip, slander, hatred, impurity, murder and the like (Galatians 5:19-21).

These areas are black and white.  As long as you’re not killing anyone or breaking the law, you’re good, right?  What about some gray areas?  Is it ok to have sex before marriage?  Is it ok to smoke if you’re a Christian?  How about a cuss word every now and then, especially when you’re angry?  To a devout Christian, this may be a no-brainer: of course you’re not supposed to do the above-mentioned things, but the mainstream religious culture of our day has so watered down the Bible that it’s as though morality is merely a societally subjective issue.  Is this topic debatable?

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” ~ Ephesians 4:17-19

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what is known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” ~  Romans 1:18-19

“But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are returning back to those weak and miserable principles?  Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”  ~ Galatians 4:9

“For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.  Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”  Romans 10:2-3

There are quite a few gray areas that could turn into controversial debates, but when you really take a stand for what’s right, according to the Bible, then you will be persecuted (Matthew 5:10; 1 Peter 3:14).  When we don’t know God’s word, it’s easy to be swayed and influenced by someone else’s convictions, taking their word for face value.  It’s great to be zealous for God, but is your zeal based on your own depth and breadth of biblical knowledge or are you riding on someone else’s convictions and teachings?  As Romans 10:2-3 suggests, when we don’t know God’s word, we can come up with our own system of morality, making it a subjective issue of what’s right and wrong as opposed to what the Bible actually says.

The Bible is watered down when….

  • We ignore the truth and suppress it with our wicked actions
  • We make up our own rules of what’s right and wrong without basing our morality on the Bible
  • Our dulled sensitivity to sin has darkened our minds so that we compromise our conscience more and more. Our thinking actually becomes useless
  • We conform to the world’s principles of morality

If you are taking a radical stand for righteousness based on your knowledge of the Bible (Galatians 5:19-21; James 4:17; 2 Timothy 3:1-5), people may label your thinking as “black and white,” hurl insults at you or think you’re just plain weird.

To that end, I leave you with this quote:

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Matthew 10:28

#persecution #righteousness #holiness #bibleknowledge #KnowYourBible #morality #subjectivemorality #biblicalmorality #opinion #radicalstance #radical #musingz4life

Meant for Greater Things

“Righteousness guards the man of integrity but wickedness overthrows the sinner.” Proverbs 13:6

Definition of overthrow:  “Remove forcibly from power”

Synonyms: depose, topple, oust, displace, dethrone

The definition and synonyms imply that there was a position of authority and power from which one is ousted when sin reigns in one’s life.

Jesus spoke of this authority that He gave to us (his disciples and future generations of believers):

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.Luke 10:19

We may treat sin lightly, saying to ourselves, “Oh that was just a white lie — completely harmless!” or “Who’s gonna know?” However, when we practice sins such as those  mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21, fully knowing what we’re doing yet dismissing the gravity of sin in God’s eyes (Isaiah 59:1-2), not only are we endangering ourselves eternally but we also forfeit the power we could have on earth.

Jesus promises that you could do great things — even greater things than He did:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these…” John 14:12 (emphasis added)

In Christ, you have the authority to overcome evil and to help turn others to God. Why forfeit that power and jeopardize everything you have here on earth and your eternal future?

#holiness #reign #Christ #power #authority #musingz4life #righteousness #integrity