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Remember, Someone is Always Watching

Remember Someone is Always Watching

Hebrews 10:24 NIV: And let us consider how we may spur one another toward love and good deeds.
My original plan for this post was to discuss Hebrews 10:25 NIV, “Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching”. But in speaking with my husband, Kevin, and my twenty year old daughter, Denah, we looked at Hebrews 10:24 and started discussing what it means to “spur one another toward love and good deeds”. Denah said that she sees good deeds being behaviors or actions displayed by believers that encourage those who don’t go to church or who don’t believe to want to know more about the faith. And she is absolutely right! When I meditated on this verse, I see that Paul is telling believers to truly give thought to how we are perceived by others because what they see in us can either spur them on “toward love and good deeds” or drive them away from Christianity and the church. 1 Timothy 4:16 NLT states, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you”. This verse reminds us to keep in mind that there are always people watching and judging, not only you, but Christianity as a whole. And as ambassadors for Christ, every thing we say and do should be righteous in order to win people back to God (2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT). No matter how much good you’ve been caught doing, the bad is what is most remembered.
The best thing a nonbeliever can witness is a believer acting out his or her faith, not just being a mouthpiece for the Gospel (which is a good thing!), but we have to always back up our words with our actions. To be completely honest, someone who does not believe is going to be spurred more towards love (which is God) by what you do and the integrity and joy in which you do it than by any speech you give. You are a new creation, remember to show it! Not only are nonbelievers watching, so are other Christians. There are still some skeptical Christians, who are less mature in the faith, and they are watching you even more closely because they need holy models to keep them encouraged and keep them digging deeper into their relationship with Christ.
I have mentioned in a previous post that I am an advocate for domestic violence survivors and work in a domestic violence shelter. The organization that I work for is a non-religious based nonprofit, so I cannot freely proclaim the Gospel to my clients. But as a Christian, it is my job to let my “light shine before others, that they may see [my] good deeds and glorify [my] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV). So my good deeds are: always being kind, being nonjudgmental, being someone that they can trust, a shoulder to cry on, going above and beyond to be helpful, and always give them 100%. It is truly amazing, because without me ever saying a word about my beliefs, many of my clients come to me and assume that I am a Christian. And they slowly start asking me Biblical and Christ-related questions. I consider it an honor, and although I cannot cross professional boundaries by saying everything I want to say, I can tell them where they can find better explanations to the questions than I am able to provide. The point is that my clients are watching me, and by my actions I am able to spur them towards love and good deeds. I don’t want to misrepresent my clients, so I will tell you that there are some of my clients who are already Christians. But I get these kinds of interactions with clients who are Christians and clients who don’t know what they believe.
 
I love the illustration in Titus 2:3-5 NIV
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Did you read what I just read? Only after the older women displayed godly behaviors are they THEN able to urge, or spur, the younger women to have the same godly behaviors. I’m going to leave you with this reminder…Remember, someone is always watching.

 

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New Creation

New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV).
 
That is the verse that I cling to on a daily basis. Make no mistake, I am a work in progress. There are days where I don’t feel like a new creation, the days where I’m not feeling especially friendly towards others. Sometimes I don’t want to extend grace to my clients because I’m frustrated with problems that I feel are no big deal, but are very big problems to them. There are days I yell at my kids because I’m short on patience and I forgot to ask God for His peace. I also have moments where I become upset at my husband because I expect him to read my mind, not realizing that while most of the time we are in tune with each others thoughts and feelings, that is not always the case. I have so many examples that I should be ashamed, but God continues to extend His grace to me when I don’t deserve it.
 
Just a few days ago, Kevin (my husband) and I were talking and he said something along the line of “Just because we are new creations does not mean that all of our thoughts are righteous thoughts, that’s why we have to continually take our thoughts captive”. Our conversation continued from there, but I knew that I wanted to write out my thoughts on that for this blog. I know that Kevin’s statement would have made a world of difference to me when I was newly saved, and it is still a good reminder for me. God does not expect us to no longer make mistakes, He does want us to repent and take the necessary steps to not repeat the same mistakes. Eventually we should get to the level of Christian maturity that we auto-correct our thoughts before they become our actions.
 
Let’s take this conversation to scripture. Becoming a new creation is not just a one-time event, it is a daily task. In Luke 9:23 (NIV) Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Every single day of your life you must deny your flesh and your will and choose to follow Jesus and strive to do the perfect will of your Father. Once you become born-again, the enemy’s attacks become more targeted and more frequent. Just know that these attacks are intended to make you feel unworthy of your calling in Christ Jesus. Jesus was tempted by Satan and gives the disciples wisdom on how to overcome temptation from the enemy. In Matthew 26:41 (NIV) Jesus says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.If Jesus was tempted by Satan, know that we will be tempted as well. If Jesus had to pray to not succumb to temptation, you better believe that we do too!
 
Satan is not your only problem as a Christian, your flesh is problematic as well. Galatians 5:17 (NIV) says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:19-21 goes on to name some of the things we battle within the flesh such as, sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfishness, and drunkenness to name a few. Just because we received the Holy Spirit when we were saved and became new creations does not mean that the flesh dissolved, in fact, it’s just as sinful as ever. But we have to be on guard and practice denying ourselves and accepting the Holy Spirit’s lead on all matters in our lives. The more we do that, the more disciplined we will become and the closer we get to being a true disciple. James 1:2-4 (NASB) states, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
 
So what can us Christians do daily to achieve our goal of denying the flesh and letting the Spirit lead? Well, I’m glad you asked! First, we need to realize thatwe have the mind of Christ, according to 1 Corinthians 2:16. Since we have the mind of Christ we can combat any attack that comes our way, whether the attack is from Satan or our flesh. Having the mind of Christ means that we can resist temptation, we can say no to sexual immorality, jealously, hate, judging others, and selfishness to live righteously. We have to renew our minds as it says in Romans 12:2 (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.” When situations arise that can easily lead us into an ungodly place, renew your mind that immediately. You have to be quicker than the flesh, that is why I always say stay on guard. Most bad decisions happen in a split second. That bad decision can be as simple as speaking negatively about another or lying to someone to stay out of trouble.
 
Being a Christian is not for that faint of heart, but the benefits of righteous living far outweigh anything that I had before I was saved. The joy alone is worth the journey. Knowing that I am living for God allows me to put away my selfish desires and do what I enjoy most, which is helping and empowering others. And having God work everything together for my good gives me a peace that truly helps to eliminate worries and fears. Add that to the fact that I’m going to Heaven, there is no greater goal that I have than being with my Father one day. Those are just some of the benefits that are impactful to me, you have to figure out what the benefits are to you. When you know how being a Christian is beneficial to you, then you can hold on to those benefits when times are hard and when things are falling apart but you don’t understand why.
 
I know that we have already looked at a lot of scripture today, but I want to leave you with two more to meditate on, in addition to the ones mentioned earlier, that you can recall when the enemy is attacking you or when your flesh and the Spirit has a battle.
 
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Conversations

Wisdom Comes From The Strangest Places

A few days ago, I responded to someone’s Facebook post. In the post, I used what some would call a derogatory term to describe a political decision. And although it was not a curse word or a word that I ever use to describe a human-being, the original poster and another respondent found the word to be offensive. I respected the fact that they found fault with the word and me using the word and told them so, but I left it at that. When I was reading the responses I was also listening to a sermon by Dr. Bill Winston. In this sermon, Dr. Bill Winston said, “Christianity was never meant to be dictated, it was meant to be demonstrated.” And as I pondered this profound statement, I became convicted about my use of the word in my Facebook comment. And although I as not calling any person out of their name, I can see why these two people were offended that I even posted the word.
I began to think about Dr. Bill Winston’s statement and how I demonstrate Christianity. I realized that demonstration is not all about the words we say and the behaviors we exhibit, demonstration is also about what we do not do and words we do not say. As a Christian, I must model appropriate actions and words because I am called to be the salt and the light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-14). Just because I have been saying this word since I was a kid does not make it okay for me to keep saying it, especially knowing that I am unintentionally offending others. The original poster’s comment was that she found the word to be offensive and does not use the word. I could have became defensive, and possibly would have had I not been listening to that sermon. Proverbs 19:20 (NCV) says, “Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise.” Even though the no one specifically told me that I should not use the word, I could tell that they would rather I not. And though I cannot say that I typically find wisdom on Facebook, in my Christian walk I desire to be a reflection of Christ and I cannot do that if I am too foolish to grab each opportunity to learn how to demonstrate Christianity to a world that seems to reject Christ.
Have you ever had to accept correction from an unexpected person or place? Or do you have trouble accepting correction from unlikley teachers?
Chime in below! I cannot wait to chat!