11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands.When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. –1 Cor. 4:11-13 NIV
Paul expands on the difference in attitude and lifestyle that he, Apollo, and Peter have as compared to the Christians in Corinth. They have given up all their earthly possessions and now they do not have an extra set of clothes nor a home of their own here on earth. They work hard physically so that they will not be a financial burden on the new converts. They respond to cursing, persecution and slandering with blessings, kindness and patient endurance. They are willing to be treated as the lowest form of life here on earth so that God might be glorified. Is it necessary for all of us to go through this kind of treatment? No, but we must have the attitude and the willingness to do it, if that is what Jesus calls us to do.
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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 5:3-5 NIV
18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.—Romans 8:18 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. — 1 Peter 2:11,12 NIV
As sons, daughters and heirs of God, we should act accordingly. Jesus gave up all of His glory in heaven, came to earth and lived as a human and an exile here. He did this so that He might become the first born of the new covenant and the head of the church.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. — Col. 1:18-20 NIV
As the first born, He is our example to follow. He lived a sinless life. We, as humans, cannot obtain perfection as long as we live in these fleshly tents. We are in a daily battle to overcome our fleshly desires. It should be our hearts’ desire to get as close to that goal as we can. Not only are we foreigners and exiles, but we are amassadors of God and our home country, heaven. Our thoughts, words and actions should reflect the character of the leaders of that country. If we strive to do that on a daily basis, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, God will be glorified. When we do this with humility and love, it will cause others to want what we have. As souls are added to the Kingdom, God will receive more and more glory. When a soul is saved, it is as if God has visited us because there is a little more of heaven on earth.
1 Tell believers to live the kind of life that goes along with accurate teachings. 2 Tell older men to be sober. Tell them to be men of good character, to use good judgment, and to be well-grounded in faith, love, and endurance. 3 Tell older women to live their lives in a way that shows they are dedicated to God. Tell them not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of virtue. 4 In this way they will teach young women to show love to their husbands and children, 5 to use good judgment, and to be morally pure. Also, tell them to teach young women to be homemakers, to be kind, and to place themselves under their husbands’ authority. Then no one can speak evil of God’s word.–Titus 2:1-5 (GW)
In Matthew 28:19-20a, Jesus told us this: 19 So wherever you go, make disciples of all nations: Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach them to do everything I have commanded you.(GW)
Paul is encouraging Titus to do the same thing. We should all be mentors to those that are younger in the faith then we are. We should be teaching younger Christians starting with those in our household and then those that God puts in our path. There is no such thing as coincidence or a “chance meeting”. God has a plan and the people we meet are a part of God’s plan for us. God has put each of those people in our lives for a season and for a reason. The season could be as short as a few minutes or as long as a lifetime. The reason is for us to spread the Gospel and introduce others to Jesus Christ. If they already know Christ as their Savior, then the reason is for you to teach them or for them to teach us. Be attentive to the Holy Spirit, when He says speak, He will give you the correct words. Don’t be afraid of failure, God never fails and we are working for Him
9 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.–Phil. 1:9-11 (NLT)
The way we keep on growing spiritually is to keep meditating on God’s Word. We must spend time alone with God each and every day. Reading God’s Word, meditating on it, praying and practicing what we have learned is the way we grow and attract others to Christ. We can only attempt to live pure and blameless lives, but it would be totally impossible without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The time we spend in study will help us to live lives filled with the righteous character of God. This will bring praise and glory to God, which is our primary purpose for being here.
15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”–1 Peter 1:15,16 (NLT)
14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 John *testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.–John 1:14-16 (NASB)
Continuing yesterday’s thoughts on living a holy life: In some of us who have always tried to live by what the world considered “good” rules, there may not be a noticeable change in our personalities and our activities. After all, God did design us with those particular personality traits and talents. But, then, there are those of us who have misused and abused those traits and talents that will have to make major adjustments. That will be necessary to bring our lives in alignment with what God wants us to be here on earth. But whether there is a minor or a major change in our personalities and activities, the areas that all of us will have to make adjustments are our attitudes and our perspectives. Now we must start to look at others through the eyes of Jesus. We must love the unlovable, pray for those who mistreat us, be merciful (full of mercy) and graceful (full of grace) and truthful (full of truth). That is a process that will continue as long as we breathe. We must strive to reflect the character of Jesus in all that we do and say. Salvation was the easy part, now the remodeling begins in earnest.