Journal Entry // August 26, 2022
It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. (ESV)
We are all tempted at various points in our life to “make a good showing” with how we present ourselves to everyone around us. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that we will default to this heart attitude if we are not intentionally seeking to daily examine ourselves by the word of Christ through the Spirit that dwells within us. The error we so easily slip into is that we would much rather be accepted than ridiculed. We would much rather be praised than persecuted. We would much rather be seen as modern and enlightened than holy and full of the Spirit. We would never say it that way and we would surely present it as a form of holiness, but nevertheless, we find that it is easier to swim along with the current of modernity than to swim in the current of righteousness. We want to be well thought of and have our name lifted up in the different spheres of influence in our lives and we sacrifice the one thing that can bring us satisfaction and joy. Only Christ knows us and values us. Only Christ loves us and rescues us. Only Christ can bring true acceptance and joy in this life. Is he not worth the struggle against the deception and lies of this world?
Continue reading “Presentation Errors”
Journal Entry // August 24, 2022
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (ESV)
Whenever I come across this verse in Galatians, I typically view the leaven as sin that in only a small amount can affect everything in my life. This is true and rightly teaches about the pervasiveness of unchecked sin in my heart. This morning, as I was reading this passage my mind focused on the leaven representing the Spirit and the pervasiveness of the Holy Spirit to work and act in every area of life. That I only need to be aware of even a hint of the Spirit within me to see the work of righteousness and holiness being spread throughout the whole of me. This is not a passive action though. The leaven does not just disperse itself throughout the lump of dough. You must massage the dough and work at it to move the leaven around and spread it evenly throughout the whole dough. So too with the Spirit within me. The Spirit does the work, but I work in tandem through the power of Christ to see the fruit of the Spirit come alive in my heart.
Continue reading “The Spirit’s Deep Work”
Journal Entry // August 22, 2022
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (ESV)
Having come to this promised salvation through faith in Christ alone, why is it so natural and easy to move away from the Spirit and faith and back into a life of pursuing holiness through the law? Life in Christ is lived through faith and the Spirit that dwells inside my heart and depends on humility and weakness. A life lived through the law is more about my own best efforts done in my own strength and wisdom. Even after receiving a new heart and coming to faith through Christ, I find it so tempting to “do something” for Jesus. This isn’t necessarily bad in itself as I mostly just want to please him and give obedience to him as an act of love. Yet oftentimes I will make these efforts of obedience the center of my walk with Christ. I will point back to all I have done for the Kingdom to justify and rationalize some deeply hidden area of pride and give me cause to celebrate my own strength and ingenuity instead of celebrating the power and glory of Christ alone. I still want to control the details and circumstances of my life, so I continue to lean more on my pride and strength as opposed to my humility and weakness. What I need is to continue in the path of faith. Trusting my Savior not only for the forgiveness of my sins, but the moment-by-moment guidance and direction that only he can provide.
Continue reading “Embrace the Spirit”
Journal Entry // August 19, 2022
And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. (ESV)
It is vital that our convictions line up with our actions and that they do not falter and waffle depending on who is in our immediate presence or whoever we may be trying to impress. Paul confronts Peter for his hypocrisy with this same line of reasoning. Peter knew there was freedom in Christ and exercised this freedom as he associated and had fellowship with Gentiles. Peter’s conviction was that there is freedom in Christ, but when a certain group of men arrived, Peter withdrew from associating with Gentiles. Instead of standing firm in his convictions and exercising his freedom in Christ, he bowed to social pressure and compromised the truth of the gospel. He set his convictions aside to please the important and influential to the detriment of the gospel. Even to the point where not only did the other believers see his actions and take note, but the leadership that look to Peter was then led astray by his actions. Peter’s lack of commitment to his gospel convictions caused him to not only fall into sin, but then also led many others to reproduce this error in their life as well.
Continue reading “Rejecting Hypocrisy”
Journal Entry // August 18, 2022
And they glorified God because of me. (ESV)
A changed life is what Paul is speaking about in this passage. A life that he once thought was dedicated to serving God but was actually persecuting the Son of God. A life that was full of zeal and passion for the things of God but was so full of pride and self-righteousness that then led him to work against the gospel and the Kingdom of Christ. It was not until Paul encountered the risen Jesus and was given a new heart and had become a new creation that Paul was then able to see Jesus as his true and only Savior. His life changed instantly and completely. The man who once sought to destroy the church of Christ was now not only a part of the congregation, but one of its leading advocates. This complete life change, that was only by the hand and appointment of God himself, is the canvas that was used to demonstrate the power and grace and mercy of Christ. And it was this godly life changing picture that encouraged and motivated the people to glorify God because of Paul. Not because of what he had done, but because of what God had done.
Continue reading “Canvas for God’s Glory”