September 23, 2018 Verse Of The Day

Galatians 5_1

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Galatians 5:13 Free To Serve

Serving Others

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

Freedom is usually seen as all about one’s own self. It is the ability for one to be able to not be under the bondage of another person, to be allowed to do what one wants to do. It is having the ability to make one’s own self happy.

The process of making one’s self happy is usually a selfish, and often sinful way. Man’s heart is always inclined to sin, unless God is allowed to change it. Just the fact that it is usually about pleasing one’s self, makes the action sinful because selfishness, in itself, is a sin.

The majority of the things that the world finds pleasure in are sinful. Getting drunk, sex out of marriage, violence, hate, suffering, pornography, greed, and many more things are the things the world loves, yet are sin. Each of these things appears to please self, even though it is destroying self.

God does not want the believer to live in this same way. Paul states that every believer is called to be free, but not to use that freedom for sin. The freedom that is given to a person is not to be selfish, but to serve someone else.

Jesus came to this earth, not for His own pleasure or to serve Himself or be served, but to serve all mankind. He came to give every person a chance at forgiveness and eternal life. Jesus did not have to do it, but He chose to do it out of love. It is only in love for someone else can a person find the power and ability to serve someone else above himself.

As a believer you are free, but you are not free to do whatever you want as the world does. You have been set free from the bondage of sin to live a life for God and to serve God and others. Just as Jesus put others before Himself, you must also put others before yourself.

As you put others before yourself in service to them, God will put others before you to serve you. He will meet your every need. You will then find the joy and happiness that will last for eternity, not the temporary happiness of this world.

I pray today that you will know the freedom Jesus has given you; that you will know the love God has shown you; that you will show God’s love to others; and that you will serve others as Jesus has served you.

1 Corinthians 9:19 The Way To Reach More People

starry sunset

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 1 Corinthians 9:19

Paul had been talking about his duty as a believer to preach the gospel to as many people as possible. It was his goal to reach the lost and see them get saved by believing in Jesus. He knew that he was free in Christ, but did not use that freedom for himself, but to reach the lost. He would become like those he was trying to reach.

Becoming like those was not walking in the sin that they were doing, but understanding their position in life. Some were slaves, some were living under the Law of Moses, others were weak, or other positions in life.

Today there have been people and churches who have worked to become so much like those around them that they are trying to reach, that one cannot see a difference between the two. Believers have started to live in sin, stating that they are trying to reach the lost by being like the lost.

Reaching the lost is meeting the person where he is at in life. What is his position?

A believer driving a high end sports car and making a six digit income will have a difficult time reaching a person who is homeless and living on the street. The same goes the other way around. The homeless person will have a hard time reaching the wealthy person.

One who follows sports closely will be able to reach the lost who follows sports. They can both speak some of the same language. The believer can use analogies from sports to show him who Jesus is.

The entire purpose of living and speaking this way is to reach more people for Jesus. It is not to change the way of living or to step into sin.

Who are you striving to reach that is lost?

What methods are you using to bring the gospel message to that person or group of people?

God can use you to reach the lost in many different ways. You have to be willing to show love and meet the person where he is at, without falling into sin.

Do not limit yourself to just a few people, but open yourself to reach as many as God puts in your path.

I pray today that God will bring people to you who need Jesus; that God will give you the ways to be His witness; that you will not fear being His witness; and that your heart will be to reach as many as possible for Jesus. 

1 Corinthians 8:9 Exercising Your Rights

 

soaring eagle

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

In America and some other countries the exercise of rights is very high on the priority of many people. The majority of the people feel that they have a right to do what they want, when they want, and how they want to do it. It is called freedom.

One of the great challenges with this type of freedom is using it when it can harm someone else or cause another person to stumble.

It is very common to hear people in the public places saying words that should not be said in public. Or they will be cutting another person down. They are exercising their rights to speak freely, but in doing so are harming others.

Believers can have the same problem in their lives. A person who has been a believer for a longer time has learned the freedom that he has in Jesus. He may have learned that there is a lot of freedom in what he says or does. Yet, doing some of these things may cause a younger believer to stumble in what he believes is true.

Paul talked about eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. To a strong believer, this meant nothing, it was just meat. However, to a younger believer, they may still struggle with the fact it was sacrificed meat and focus on the idol, rather than just food. The stronger believer must be willing to not eat the meat around the younger believer, in order to not make him question his belief.

Believers today need to have the same attitude. While some things may be permissible, it may not be beneficial to do around younger believers. Although today people don’t deal as much with sacrificed food, it could be with tattoos, earrings, clothing, the words being spoken, what is watched in movies or on tv, what is listened to,  or some other area in life.

Take a look at your life and see what you are saying and doing. Are the things you are saying and doing building up younger believers? Or are those things causing them to question what they believe?

In everything that you do, seek to build others up. Do nothing that will cause them to question God or the Bible and cause them to stumble in their belief.

I pray today that God will reveal ways to build others up; that God will show you ways you may cause others to stumble; that you will exercise your rights with others in mind; and that you will know the freedom you have in Jesus. 

1 Corinthians 8:9 Be Careful In Your Freedom

 

Lady with freedom

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

During the biblical times, there were many rules on foods that a person could or could not eat as a believer in God. Food was often used as a sacrifice to idols, thus people were not to eat any food that had been sacrificed.

Paul just pointed out that food sacrificed to a false idol was no different from any other food. As a believer in Jesus the people could eat any food as long as they gave thanks to God for it.

Now he states that people should be careful in this knowledge and their freedom to not cause anyone else to stumble.

Newer believers often struggle with knowing what their freedom is in Christ. They are still working on removing themselves from the ways of the world. Doing the things that they have freedom to do, can cause them to fall back into sinful ways, or they may still see them as sinful.

Freedom to do what a person wants to do, regardless of what others think, is a common thought in this world. Believers are not to live like that. They are to be concerned first with God’s thoughts, then for the other person.

In Jesus there is a lot of freedom in doing things. However, they must be done with the proper motivation. They should not be done with the mindset of that it is the person’s right to do it. Rights need to be put aside to build others up.

It is all about love of the other person. That is what God did in sending Jesus and what Jesus did in going to the cross, it was about love. Love builds up, rather than demands personal rights.

In your own personal life there may be things that God has helped break the bondage to. This allows you to work with those things, without sinning or being pulled away from God. One example is drinking alcohol. You may see it as allowable, while another still sees it as sinful or dangerous.

However, there may be others that still struggle with it. Put those things aside to keep them from struggling and stumbling before God.

Be willing to put your own rights aside, so that you may build someone else up. Do not allow yourself, on purpose, or on accident to cause anyone to stumble in any way.

I pray today that you will know the freedom that you have in Jesus; that you will know the love God has for people; that God will guide you in the proper use of your freedom; and that you will not be a stumbling block to anyone.

Lamentations 1:14 A Heavy Weight

“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have been hung on my neck, and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has given me into the hands of those I cannot withstand.” Lamentations 1:14

During the time of the Babylonian takeover of Jerusalem, the people were under much suffering. The Babylonians did not treat them well, though they did allow them to live. The city had been destroyed and the people were in great misery. As Jeremiah sees this, he is weeping, lamenting, because he feels the weight of all the sin that brought on this destruction.

Sin is something that looks and sounds like fun, but it carries a heavy weight to it. People often think that they can handle their own sin, especially those ‘little’ sins.

It is commonly thought that what does it matter if one tells a little lie? Or if one cheats his neighbor a little bit? Or if one just breaks a little rule once in a while? It really does not affect anyone is what most think. And besides, God will understand.

The truth is that any sin, big or small, has a weight that no one can really bear up under. That weight is the weight of death. It will take away all strength from a person, pulling their head down to the grave as though a millstone was hung on his neck. It is bound tight to the person’s neck as a yoke is placed on an animal, that only the master can remove.

Jeremiah had faithfully followed God, but was feeling the weight of the sins of the people. All those sins took a toll on his body and zapped all of his strength.

Even today, if you live in sin, it will take your strength away from you. You will be constantly looking over your back to see if you will be caught in that sin. Fear will keep you awake through the night because death will be knocking on your door. The weight will be more than you can handle.

The good news is that you do not have to bear that weight any more. You can hand it over to Jesus. Turn from the sin and He will get rid of it. He paid the price of death for your sin.

As you turn from your own sin, weep for the sins of others. Lead others to Jesus to get rid of that enormous weight.

I pray today that God will help you turn from all sin; that you will know the freedom Jesus can give you from your sin; and that you will tell others about Jesus.