Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic One: Being A Believer.
Our reading for today: Ephesians 2: 7-10 (MsgB)
Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
It’s always been a mystery to me why so many people shy away from, or completely reject, a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.
The reason I say that is this…
If any reasonably minded man or woman would fully understand the amazing, free gift that is waiting for them in the gentle hands of Jesus, I’d think most would consider it utter nonsense to ignore it.
You see, true Christianity, as presented in the New Testament, contains a night-n-day difference that truly sets it apart from any comparable religion on the planet.
Religion, my friends, is the human pursuit of God.
New Testament Christianity, however, is God pursuing humans.
Now, I must quickly admit that one of the major reasons so many people do reject Christianity and its founder, Jesus of Nazareth, is because the Church which represents the Master has so very often failed to present this free gift of God’s pursuing love in such a way that it is believable (or even digestible!) to the unbeliever’s heart. One quick look at the history of Christianity and we find generation after generation of well-meaning cross-bearers crusading throughout the world, warring both within and without, attempting to stamp out anyone or anything that might dare to believe just a bit differently than the status quo.
It’s been said that E. Stanley Jones, Christian missionary to India, once asked the great Mahatma Gandhi…
“Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is it that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming His follower?”
“Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.”
Thanks, Mr. Gandhi, my Americanized-Christianity that so often acts like a religion on human steroids needed to hear that!
My prayer: Father God, sadly, we, Your people, have so very often, forgotten the basic message of agape love that flows freely as a gift from You to us, through the words and works of Jesus, Your Christ. Forgive us, Lord. Holy Spirit, restore the words of the New Testament, words like what Paul wrote here to the early Christian church in Ephesus. Allow us to once again freely present to the world the free gift of God’s love. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How have I added to the primary Gospel message (God’s free gift of agape love) by bringing a basket of religious add-ons to the table…insisting upon good works, right hearts, and clean lives prior to receiving the Good News of Jesus? Am I willing to go back to the original “free-gift” message found at the core of the New Testament?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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