The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the word ‘effort’ as a serious attempt at something. Other online dictionaries define the term ‘effort’ as a result of an action, or a strenuous physical or mental exertion. Either way, an effort is a result of an attempt or action. Some efforts are successful, some efforts are unsuccessful. When unsuccessful, we use terms like persistence. After all, a serious attempt would, by definition, imply a decision has been made to accomplish something. Therefore, any decision we have made must have been worth making.
Anything worth achieving in this life requires some type of effort. Schooling requires an effort of focus, studying, time, and energy. Physical conditioning requires physical exertion, training, disciplined eating, and commitment. Living a life for Christ is no different. It requires an effort.
God’s instructions to us are written in the Bible, and since we need to know these in order to live a life for Him, wouldn’t it make sense for us to make an effort to read the Bible? It’s difficult to properly represent God when we don’t read the instructions.
So often, we seek results without putting in the effort. I guess you could say we are self-serving. We know what we want, we just don’t want to make the effort. Our end goal is eternity with Christ, but learning is a life long process and the effort is worth it.
Matthew 7:13-14 states the following: (Jesus talking)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Jesus is talking about making an effort, a serious attempt, at following His lead. Live a life for Christ! Make that effort! Read the Bible. Spend time in prayer. Live out the calling He placed on your life. Love Him and others. Remember, “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Be one of the few! Your eternal position is worth the effort.
Let us know how we can help you make that effort!
These are three words, and I’m sure that there are many more we could include in this entry, that are NOT synonymous with Christianity. In fact, I can guarantee you that they are in direct opposition to our New Testament instructions from Jesus- to LOVE!
Over the last week, I have personally experienced all three of these “strategies” from those claiming to be followers of Christ. My intent for this blog entry isn’t to “shame” or “guilt” any of these individuals, but rather address this very important issue. This needs to be addressed.
As a church planter, I get to experience all types of comments and stories from others. Some are good, but many are negative experiences others have had in the church. And generally, they use this experience to justify their avoidance of anything church related. I understand their position. Our approach to engaging others for Christ can have long lasting implications. Negative experiences can deter others from experiencing the joy we have in Christ. This should be the motivation for making sure we accurately reflect the image of Christ! I do not want to be the one responsible for turning someone off of Jesus.
Guilting someone into going to church won’t work. It won’t last. They might attend a few services, but most likely won't continue attending. Shaming someone for the way they live in an effort to reach them won’t work either. Bullying? Well, that never works. But, you’d be surprised how often these unbiblical strategies are exercised. Please stop them. They accomplish only the opposite outcome.
We are to lead by example. Not bully. Not shaming others. Not guilting others. WE ARE TO LOVE! This is a fundamental building block for living a life for Christ. Once we fully understand how much God loves us, and the love Christ showed on the cross for us, we’ll begin to truly understand how we are to show that love to others.
God doesn’t shame us- He humbles us. God doesn’t guilt us- He convicts us. God doesn’t bully us- He loves us. Let’s try to be more like how God wants us to be- Love! Let’s spread that love to others! That's true representation!
Routines are often implemented subtly. Life happens and before you know it, you're doing the same thing day in and day out. This routine soon becomes the pattern by which we live our lives. This can be good. This can also be bad.
Many of us, if not all of us, incorporate compromise into out lives. We are encouraged to comprise, especially in marriage. In this context, compromise is good. But, we often compromise in our jobs and various aspects of our lives. We tend to compromise enjoyment over money, for example. Have you ever said or heard, “I don’t have to be happy at my job as long as it pays me well.” Many will endure dissatisfaction with their employment as long as the financial return outweighs. Hence, compromise is experienced every day.
The Christian life isn’t about compromise. Yes, it is about giving up a way of life that we used to live for a better life in Christ. But, it isn’t a harmony of two lives. We are called to renounce our former way of life, renounce not compromise, and become a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Being a follower of Christ is now the filter in which we live our lives, not just part of our life. But when compromise is a strategy we incorporate into our everyday life, and are used to doing, it becomes difficult to change. Instead of looking at our job as a compromise, it now becomes a mission field. Instead of ‘settling’ or ‘compromising’ on a purchase, it now becomes a way to be grateful for God’s provisions; and, developing a heart of contentment.
We are not to compromise what it means to live a life for Christ. That would be watering down our commitment, purpose, and Christ’s redemptive work. The Bible is full of instruction on how to live the life we are called to live. It outlines how we are to represent Christ in this world. Compromise should be turned into commitment. A full commitment.
Make that commitment! Live a life for Christ! He deserves that commitment! Jesus led by example by His commitment on the cross! Let us keep that in mind the next time we are feeling like compromising our beliefs.
From time to time, Rev D posts random thoughts about life as a Pastor and Servant of Christ. He has a unique perspective. Blog entries are posted randomly.