8-9 For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing.— Eph. 2:8-9 The Voice
We, as Christians should always remain humble realizing that we did not do anything to earn our salvation. It is impossible to earn or pay for a free gift. God loved us so much that He became as a man and died for us paying our sin debt in full. And that is just the beginning of the story. If we follow His teachings and become a disciple, there is much more that we can enjoy here on earth. God is all about the present and eternity. We are told in John 10:10, that Jesus came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly. And we can do nothing to earn those gifts, either. He gives them to us of His own free will. We receive peace, security, and joy from the same benevolence that brought us salvation. This was mentioned as far back as Isaiah in Chapter 12, Verse 2: Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yahweh, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’” And He freely gives us all things that pertain to life and Godliness.
In several passages of scripture we are instructed to pray for those in authority over us. This is true for the leaders in the body of Christ, the workplace and in the political arena. Right now, our nation is at a major crossroad. Each of us should spend time each day praying for our nation’s leaders. We should also pray for direction as to whom we should vote for in the coming elections. God has given us a great country with great freedoms. With those freedoms come great responsibilities, one of those responsibilities is to vote. Sticking our head in the sand or turning away from hard decisions is not the an option for Christians. As we are told in the book of James:
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. — 2 Peter 1:5-11 NIV
If we put in the time studying the Scriptures and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we will add all these things to our faith. As we learn God’s Word, we will be able to access more and more Godly wisdom and power. These attributes of Jesus will not only confirm our calling but will also makes us effective and productive disciples of Jesus. If we don’t spend the time we will never be able to see beyond our fleshly desires, thus appearing nearsighted and/or blind. Then we will not be able to lead others to Jesus Christ, which is the ultimate goal of any calling that God has placed on our lives. Unless we continue to study the Word, we will soon forget that we have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb.
So, we need to be diligent and we need to be smart.
Study the Scriptures
Meditate on the Scriptures
Always pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
Repeat the story and rehearse all the blessings God has given us
Tell others about Jesus and what He has done for us
Then others will say about us the same thing they said about Jesus.
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. — Luke 2:52 NIV
Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. 4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. 5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy–1 Timothy 6:2b-5 (NLT)
In our modern society, we have access to so much information that contains all kinds of doctrines and teachings. We must be aware of deception in every area of our lives. Every message we hear, every word that we read must be crosschecked against Scripture to be sure of its authenticity. Any person teaching the truth will not be offended if you question them on their stance. True Godliness will stand up to any test that man can devise. Every lie has just enough truth in it to make it believable. Every religion offers doctrines and rewards that appeal to the flesh. But Christianity (which is a relationship, not a religion) is the only belief system that claims to have a living God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If anyone preaches any message that offers a different way to get to heaven than through the blood of Jesus Christ, that person is deceived. We preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified as the only way to heaven. We attempt to live holy lives to lay up rewards in heaven, not here on earth. Everything that we receive here on earth is a gift from God, not a reward for good works.
1 Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers. 2 Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters. 3 Take care of any widow who has no one else to care for her. 4 But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God. 5 Now a true widow, a woman who is truly alone in this world, has placed her hope in God. She prays night and day, asking God for his help.–1 Timothy 5:1-5 (NLT)
If we all followed these instructions, our world would be a much better and happier place. We need to treat everyone with respect and love, particularly those that are older and/or less fortunate than we are. If each of us practiced this and handed down a tradition of helping to our children, God would be much more pleased with our lifestyles. Jesus said that not feeding the hungry, not clothing the naked, not giving drink to the thirsty, not visiting the sick and in prison, was the same as not doing it for Him. 45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’–Mathew 25:45 (NLT)
The only way that we can show love and kindness to Jesus is to show love and kindness to those around us.
1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.-1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NLT)
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul instructs and encourages us to pray for all people continuously. We should intercede for family, friends, neighbors, and enemies that God would draw them to Himself through the Holy Spirit that they may be saved. We should especially pray for those in authority over us. Not just governmental authorities, but we should also pray for those in authority over us in our family, church, and workplace. Because it is God’s desire for everyone to be saved, it should also be our desire and our prayer. Jesus is the only Mediator between us and God because He loved us enough to be obedient, even to death on the Cross.This plan was put into place before the foundations of the world were laid. God was never surprised at the evil of humanity and knew even when He created us that He would have to give His only Son for our redemption. How magnificent and awesome is the love of God toward us! Our lips should be a source of constant praise for His goodness and mercy!