Once we answer the call to “come and see” and we have “tasted and seen” that the Lord is good, our next step is to follow the Lord. While the plan of salvation is simple and free, following the example that Jesus set for us is not easy and it is not free. He gave up His glory in heaven, came to earth and died for us. Should the created expect to do less than that for His Creator? From the worldly point of view, this is asking a lot, but from God’s point of view, it is the best thing that you can do. The only way to save your life is to let it go.
33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it—Luke 17:33 (NLT)
For our sake, Jesus laid down His life, so that He could take it up again to be our Redeemer and Lord. So, we must lay down our lives for His sake.
23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?—Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)
”Come, follow me”! When we decide to this for Jesus, we find a life that is truly worth living.
From the beginning, God based His plan on showing us love and teaching us how to love. We are commanded to love each other. Then God showed us the greatest example of love by giving His only Son to redeem us from sin. Jesus said that all of the law and the prophets were hinged on two commandments–“Love the Lord your God…. and love your neighbor as yourself”. Then over and over throughout the Scriptures we are reminded to love each other. We are also told that perfect love keeps us from fearing others and other things. The kind of love that God wants us to learn is love that expects nothing in return. God wants us to be like Him and love like He loves. If we follow the love chain throughout the scriptures, we can only come to one conclusion, “God is Love”. Christians should be like good hash browns, served smothered and covered with love and scattered among the people.
In today’s society and in most countries, we no longer have slavery. But in our workplaces, we do have taskmasters that often treat us unfairly. So, Peter’s admonition to endure with patience is directed to us. Just as Jesus is our example of enduring unjust pain and persecution, so are we to do the same. God is our Jehovah-jireh, our provider. He has provided us with jobs so that we can provide for our families. Instead of complaining and gossiping about our bosses, we should be thankful for the provision. No matter who signs the paycheck, God is our provider. We are to set the example for those around by having a grateful attitude and not joining in when others are criticizing the employer(s). Jesus promised us that we would be treated unjustly and offended by the world, so we should not be surprised by the unjust treatment we receive. We have not yet been required to be faithful when we are facing death for Christ’s sake. We should have the same attitude that the apostles had in the First Century.
We know that we are saved “by grace through faith, not by works, lest any man should boast”. We also know that everything we receive while we are here on earth is a free gift from God. So, what is the purpose of “good works” and why are they important? Well, there are at least two good reasons and probably more it you want to break them down. The first is this; now, that we are Christians, Jesus is our example and He went about doing good works.
38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.–Acts 10:38 (NLT)
The second reason is this; doing good works here on earth is how we store our rewards or treasures in heaven.
.20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.–Matt 6:20,21 (NLT)
If we do good works for these two reasons, it will keep our hearts and minds focused on Jesus and our final reward of living an eternity with Him. If we focus on that, it will make the burdens lighter and we can walk the path with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts and a song of praise on our lips!“
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
7 In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. — Titus 2:7-8 NIV
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 us 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.
Paul warns the new converts about idle minds and idle hands. We should show others the love of Jesus Christ by being a good example to them. Paul worked as a tentmaker to buy his own food. He admonishes us to always be a help and not a burden to those around us. We should encourage each other in doing good deeds and helping unbelievers. If there are those among us who are unable to work either permanently or temporarily, we need to help provide their needs. Jesus tell us that when we do this for others here on earth, it is the same as doing it for Him. We should always be working for our Lord and Savior. James tells us:
17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.-James 4:17 (NKJV)
When we see a need, we need to meet that need to the best of our ability. Doing good works here on earth is how we lay up rewards in heaven.
Accepting Jesus as our Savior is the first step in our journey to heaven. The next step is to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. This means being obedient to His teachings and following His example. If our roots are to grow down into Him and our foundation is to be built on Him, then we must spend time getting to know Him. As we study and meditate on His Word, our faith will grow stronger each day. This knowledge of the truth of Jesus should cause our hearts to overflow with joy and our lips to sing His praises. We must guard our hearts and our minds. The world is full of people spouting vain philosophies and nonsense. They are possessed, obsessed or influenced by evil spirits. They speak of religion and try to compare it with Christianity, which is a relationship with Jesus. Religions are based on man’s thinking and can change every time the wind blows. Our relationship with Christ is built on the Solid Rock and will withstand every storm and fiery dart that the enemy hurls at us. We are in Christ and He is in us, so we are complete with Christ as our ruler and authority.