If you missed Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog, you can go back and read them here:
Part 1- http://bit.ly/2xVrsZ0
Part 2- http://bit.ly/2hBNy8G
- Faithfulness (Proverbs 20:6)
Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?
It is much easier to boast in our own accomplishments, than to simply be faithful. This Proverb looks straight to the heart of man and cuts to the core of the matter. Personally, I crave affirmation and compliments from others, and being faithful is often times a struggle. Being faithful in the things that no one but God sees. Faithful in the service and the obedience. But that is what truly matters and has eternal implications. Faithfulness to the Lord goes a long way.
As a Christian, this faithfulness can vary: spending time with the Lord every day, opening a door for someone, giving up our seat so that someone else can hear the gospel, actually praying for someone when we say we will, sharing the Gospel, putting our spouse above ourself, etc. It’s trusting the Lord with our finances, time, resources and relationships. God has been so faithful to us in keeping his promises and sending his son Jesus to take the place and sacrifice for our sins. This is something he did not have to do, but he willingly chose to do so. He was faithful in his mission and purpose.
One day we will be judged on our lack of faithfulness but also rewarded for the faithfulness that we have demonstrated. How many likes on Facebook or re-tweets we received from others will not matter. What will matter is our faithful hearts to the Lord.
Reflection: How do you need to shift your attention from being self-focused to being faithful to the Lord?
- Gentleness (Galatians 6:1)
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
Although this passage is about approaching someone else in a state of gentleness for their sin, everyone can relate to this personally as well. I know in my life when I have had a close friend or accountability partner call me out, but do so in a state of gentleness, it has actually served me well. I respond to correction when the person giving it is gentle, yet bold. Jesus knew that this was most effective, so we must in return demonstrate this gentle approach to others, but always be ready to receive it from others as well. There is a time and place to be aggressive, but the standard and aim is gentleness.
Jesus owes us nothing, yet he still reaches out to us in gentleness. We could be condemned and punished each and every time we sin, but it’s the gentle nudge and reminder that Jesus gives us at times that compels us to seek Him even more.
Reflection: How do you respond to others when they speak gently to you? How often do you demonstrate this gentleness to others?
- Self-control (2 Timothy 1:7)
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.“
Self-control is the antidote to giving in. Thankfully, God gives us the power and the ability to say “no” to sin. In this passage, Paul is challenging young Timothy to not be fearful, but to tap into the power that God has given him to be self-controlled and ready to take his ground. Paul is reminding him to “fan into flame the gift of God”. In order to do this, Timothy MUST not be fearful. Being fearful does not have to be our fallback. God has given us a spirit of power, love and self-control.
Every Christian needs self-control. This may look different for everyone and manifest itself in different ways. We all have different weaknesses and things specific to us that we must stand against, using self-control. But this is a freeing thing, to know that Christ fully equips us for this and it doesn’t rest on our own abilities.
In Christ, we have all that we need to actively fight off and against sin. Praise the Lord that he helps us!
Reflection: How does self-control need to be demonstrated in your life on a daily basis?