True faith in Christ and a changed heart will first be exhibited in the home through the relationships with the people who know us best. As a father of three, Ephesians 6:4 speaks loudest to me, Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in training and instruction of the Lord. As parents we sometimes turn into mini dictators trying to control every aspect of our children’s lives. But here Paul tells us to raise our children through Christ’s instructions. What is good for our lives is also good for our kids. If they do not live through the instruction of the perfect teacher, then we are a poor alternative.
We are supposed to live in communion with one another, but there are times it feels like there is more separation than anything else. This is not just believer/non-believer relationships, it exists within the body of Christ’s church as well. In Ephesians 4:25 Paul reminds the Ephesian church to get past the areas of false teaching and disagreement and remember we are all part of the same community. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Nothing bothers me more than Christian believers arguing with one another. We need to stop majoring on the minors and find where God truly wants us to focus our attention and efforts for His kingdom.
The knowledge of Christ and a relationship with Him are two separate things. In Ephesians 4:21 Paul reminds the Ephesians of this, Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. As believers who have a relationship with Christ, and who study His word, we are taught the truth of who Christ is and how we are to be a reflection of Him. We have no excuses when we believe in these truths. If we fail, it is because of a conscious decision to rebel against what we know is true.
God’s plan is perfect. When we trust in Him to walk us through life and we follow His will, we accomplish a fulfilled life through God’s perfect will. Ephesians 1:11 says, In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will. When the chaos around us feels overwhelming, we can rest assured in the truth that God is in control.
At the end of this Psalm, David asks God to search for any wickedness in his life. In Psalm 139:23-24 David says, 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. David is not challenging God to find him perfect, he is challenging God to identify sin and make it known so he can fix it. Too often we justify our sin and make excuses for the choices we make. If we are honest and open our hearts and minds to God, He will help us.
As the body of Christ here on earth, we should live in unity and encourage one another to build a closer relationship with God. Unfortunately, too often we focus on minor differences of opinion. Psalm 133:1 says, How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! When we live in harmony with one another, we can spend more time focusing on Christ rather than ourselves. I believe disharmony is the greatest tool Satan has at his disposal. When we are focused internally on simple disagreements it becomes easy to lose focus on what’s really important.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It is a beautiful Psalm whether you break it into small chunks or take the time to read it all the way through. The major theme of the Psalm is to remind us God’s word is wonderful and true. If we remain obedient to God we have the ability to achieve real happiness. Psalm 119:1-2 begins with 1 Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. If we remember the Bible is the only real source of truth, we will find everything we need to live a pure life. Everything else is opinion and ways people find to justify their sinful choices. Don’t be fooled.
When we acknowledge God as our true source of wisdom we become truly wise. Without God, our foundation is shaky and are likely to make mistakes and foolish choices. Psalm 111:10 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise. “Fear” in this passage means reverence or respect for God’s authority. Too often people think they can gain wisdom from life experiences and academics alone. But without God’s wisdom in our lives, we skip an important step and fail to take advantage of the true source of all wisdom.
As we grow closer in our relationship with God, we learn to love what He loves and hate what He hates. Psalm 97:10 says, Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Let us learn to love God’s ways and hate evil in every form just as He does.
Today is Good Friday and I always wondered why we refer to this day as “Good” since it was the day Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. While historians debate many things about our faith, there are three things all historians agree on: 1) Jesus Christ really existed; 2) Jesus Christ was baptized; and 3) Jesus Christ was crucified. Christ’s crucifixion was an agonizing and torturous death. Matthew 27:50 says, And when Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. This was a brutal death and His suffering is hard to imagine. But when we take time to think through what Christ’s crucifixion represents and the transformation it has caused to the course of each of our lives, we realize it really was a “Good” day. Today reminds us that Jesus took on the sin of the world and died because of it. And more importantly, it is “Good” because Sunday is coming.