Posts Tagged ‘life’
“And He[Jesus] died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:17
This has always been one of my favorite Bible verses about sacrifice. It’s so poetic and simple. Jesus died for you so that you could be reconciled to God and have eternal life. Our response should be that we try and live for Him and for becoming more like Him. So many of us, myself included, want to just add God into our lives as just another thing that we do. We don’t want God to take over our lives and surrender control to Him. But if we really understood what grace was all about and how much better life is when allow God to be the potter and us the clay, we can’t help but want to live more and more for God’s plan for our lives.
But fear often gets in the way. I’ve experienced more than my share of fear and apprehension over God’s plan for my life. No one likes uncertainty, and we’re all afraid of what God will do with our lives if we really surrender and strive to live for Him who died for us and was raised again. That fear is something that each of us has do deal with. In my own life, I finally came to the realization that when I spend all my time striving after my own ambitions and desires, that I end up miserable. I have no peace, no contentment, no meaning in my life. It’s during those times that I realize that God could do no worse than what I’ve done for myself, and I fight through the fear and surrender control of my life to Him who died for me and was raised again. Fear is just something that each of us has to deal with. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll be more afraid of what will happen if you spend all of your days striving after your own selfish ambitions and come to the end of your life and feel regret over how things turned out. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and feel regret. I know that the more I surrender my life and my plans to God, the less likely I’ll be to regret the choices and desicions I make.
“Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me[Jesus] will find it.” Matthew 16:25
This Bible verse on sacrifice often scares people. No one in their natural selves wants to lose their life or give up all of the things they enjoy. But is that what the verse is really saying? Is it telling us that the best Christian will give up everything and go off and live in a monastery somewhere? I don’t think so. So let’s see if we can go through it theologically and uncover exactly what the verse means. It says in Ephesians 2 that in our original state we are by nature objects of wrath who just want to follow the cravings of the sinful nature. God obviously doesn’t want to leave us in that state once we accept grace. It also says in Ephesians that once we accept grace that we crucify the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
I believe that when the above verse says that when a person loses his life for Jesus, what they’re losing is their sinful nature, those parts of them that find pleasure in corrupt things. There’s definitely a possibility that we’ll have to give up a lot of the things that we really enjoy. But are those things really worth anything at all in the end anyway? Is it really worthwhile to be a person who does nothing but seeking to gratify the cravings of their own sinful nature? The part of this verse that we really ought to be focusing on is the part where Jesus says that a person who loses his life for Him will actually find his life. That should be inspirational. I want to find out what real life is all about — who I really am, and what kinds of things I was meant to do. To me, that kind of life is worth the sacrifice of not being able to chase after petty pleasures and wants anymore.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
This is a famous Bible verse about sacrifice. It’s also one of the most convicting Bible verses I’ve ever read. The reason is because denying yourself to take up your cross daily is a very difficult task, and it’s required if we are to claim that we follow Jesus. Anyone who thinks this is easy is probably deceiving themselves. Let’s break this verse down into its two commands. The first command is to deny oneself. This is the lifelong struggle of anyone who has given their lives to the Lord. But when the verse says that we must deny ourselves, it’s not saying that we need to move into a monastery somewhere and deny all physical pleasures and desires. When the verse says that we must deny ourselves, it’s really talking about the sinful nature. The Bible says elsewhere that we need to crucify the sinful nature with its passions and desires. We need to deny our sinful nature so that our redeemed nature can come out and shine.
The second part of the verse talks about taking up our cross daily. This can have multiple interpretations, but since this is my website, I’ll give you mine The Bible says that all of God’s laws can be summed up in one single command: Love your neighbor as yourself. The Bible also says that we ought to bear one another’s burdens in love. This, to me, is what it means to take up my cross daily, to love my neighbor and try and help him bear his burdens. The reason why I think that is because of the nature of what the cross is. When Jesus was on the cross, He bore our burden of sin. If I am to take up my cross, to me it means that I need to help bear the burdens of my neighbor and help lead him closer to God. But that’s just my interpretation. Either way, this is a great Bible verse about sacrifice and what we need to do to be selfless and grow closer to God.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24
This is my favorite Bible verse. I’ve had it memorized for many years. As a young man, I often thought about perseverance and what it meant to run in such a way as to win the prize. I wanted to live my life well and throw off all of the things that often hinder. Perseverance has always been something very important to build into my character, and when I read Bible verses about perseverance like this one, I realize that I don’t yet have it. I don’t run in such a way as to win the prize. For short periods of time I do. I throw of my hindrances and I run with perseverance. But then I get discouraged. I get entangled in something meaningless or I get bound up in sin. And during those times, I care little about really living my life to the full and running with perseverance. During those times, all I want to do is settle for good enough.
That’s why I love verses like this one that convict me that good enough isn’t really good enough. If God were to come down to each of us and reveal His specific plan for our lives, all that we were meant to be and the good works we were meant to accomplish, I’m convinced that it would be so amazing and so inspirational that we would instantly throw off our hindrances and the sins we’re entangled in and strive to become the types of people we were meant to be. God desires that we be people of character — confident, humble, wise, compassionate. He desires that we really care about people and that we be people worthy of other people’s respect. Our own selfish desires want us to just sit back and take life easy, to not excel, but to find what satisfaction we can from simple pleasures and sins. The choice is ours about how we live. Shall we run with perseverance, trying to get the prize? Or shall we be content as we are and live a life of good enough?
“Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Whenever I see the words “Be very careful” it definitely grabs my attention. This is a very interesting and unique Bible verse about wisdom. When I first read this verse, I pondered what Paul meant when he said that the days were evil. Was it something specific to that time because there was so much persecution happening to the church back in Paul’s day? Or is it something that still happens today? Are the days just as evil today as they were back then? I think in some ways, the days are more evil and opportunities slip by even easier than they did back in Paul’s day.
You don’t have to look very hard to see that the days are evil. Just flip on the TV or walk through a public high school and you’ll probably hear 1 good thing for every 50 negative things being said. I must confess that in my own life, I’m very guilty of not making the most of every opportunity. I get so focussed on my ambitions and work that I rarely take the time to find out what God is trying to do in my life and in the lives of those around me. I often let opportunities pass my by because I get so focused on my own problems and ambitions. It is wisdom to slow down and take the time to find out what God is doing around you.
How sad will it be if, when you die and go to Heaven, you see a huge amount of missed opportunities that you were too busy to do anything about while you were here on Earth. Wisdom requires that we slow down and take the time to really think about our lives. That’s why, in a previous post, we talked about how the wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways. People very rarely like to sit down and give genuine thought to their lives and the opportunities that the Lord is constantly laying before each of us. I don’t want to come to the end of my life and realize that I’ve wasted the opportunities that the Lord has placed in front of me. I hope you feel the same way.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
Not many people like to think about the idea of God actively opposing them, especially if you are a Christian. But one thing my pastor once said has stuck with me. He said that pride is something that survives salvation. Even though you became a Christian, your pride hasn’t been eradicated. In fact, some Christians seem to become more proud once they accept salvation. Self-righteousness starts to take hold. And God hates it. He actively opposes it. In the original Greek, one of the meanings of the verse goes as follows, “God goes to war with your pride, but gives grace to the humble.” That’s pretty startling.
So often in church, I’ve heard people say how the Devil is really harassing them and bringing them a lot of hardship. But how do we know that the Devil is responsible for the hardship a person is experiencing? What if God is gently trying to break down a person’s pride and teach them how to rely on Him? In Hebrews it says to “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.” Why, when we go through hardship, is our first thought always that the Devil is responsible? What if God is opposing us because of our pride or else allowing hardship in order to work on our character?
“The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways.” Proverbs 14:8
This Bible verse about wisdom has always really struck me. It seems so simple. Can just thinking about your life and where you fit in the grand scheme really be called prudence and wisdom? But everyone does that, don’t they? Or do they? Who among us takes the time out of their busy lives to just sit down and think about their lives. Most of us get so busy with the mundane day to day, that we never really stop and think about why we’re doing what we’re doing. Something that my favorite author, Henry David Thoreau, once said, goes along well with this verse. He said, “We ought to be men first and citizens afterward.” I agree with him. Before I just go off to be a productive member of society, working for 40 years at a job and buying a nice home, shouldn’t I spend some time thinking about what it really means to be a man, and how to live my life in a way that I can be proud of?
Because of Solomon’s words in the verse above, I often try and take time to just sit down and think about my ways. I like to know that I’m living intentionally, that I’m not just doing what I have to to survive, but that I’m really trying to become a better man and live a life that I can be proud of. I hope this Bible verse inspires you to take some time out of your busy day and just reflect on your life as a whole and where you really fit in in the grand scheme of life. You won’t be sorry you did.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
This is an often quoted Bible verse about wisdom. I’ve often thought about this passage and have done my fair share of asking for wisdom. It’s so cool that a promise like this exists in the Bible. There aren’t any other character traits that I know of that the Lord has said to expressly ask for and it will be given. It doesn’t say anywhere else in the Bible, ask for patience and it will be given to you, or ask for perseverance and it will be given to you. It’s really quite amazing that God wants to give wisdom to all who ask, because the Bible says that wisdom is the supreme virtue. If you read the last post on wisdom, you saw that Solomon said that nothing you desire can compare with wisdom.
I love how accessible God makes wisdom. All we have to do is ask. This is really relieving to me, because wisdom often seems like a virtue that’s out of reach. When I consider my life and how I often live, wisdom seems like something that’s far off. But that’s why I take such comfort in the verse from James. If I ever get down on myself that I’m not a very wise person, all I have to do is ask God and He will give it to me. All He requires is that I eagerly desire it and that I believe that He’ll give it to me and not doubt.
“For wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 8:11
This Bible verse about wisdom astonishes me. It’s essentially saying that the greatest thing a person can desire is wisdom. That’s very surprising to me at first glance. I would have expected that the utmost thing a person could desire would be something like loving relationships with God and with others. But then it struck me that wisdom is really a path to every other good thing in life. A truly wise person naturally has healthy and loving relationships with other people. They realize that simple worldly pleasures, selfish ambitions, and all the other things that corrupt us and stand in the way of becoming the people we were meant to be. Truly wise people desire all other good things, things like peace, contentment, and love. That is, to me, why wisdom is the utmost thing that a person can desire, because wisdom is a gateway to all other good things a person can desire. Without wisdom we are fools, getting trapped by foolish desires that won’t ever bring us to the happiness, satisfaction, and meaning we thought we’d one day find. Without wisdom, can we ever really desire things like peace and love and contentment? Without wisdom, how can we ever overcome the selfish desires that so often come to trap us? Nothing you desire can compare with wisdom.
“In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” Psalm 10:4
This is a really interesting Bible verse on pride. When I first read it, it confused me. I didn’t know how pride could be responsible for keeping a person from even thinking about God. But then I began to think about how the Bible also says that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” At that point, things began to make more sense. Pride keeps a person from understanding their true relationship to God. Pride makes a person think that they are the most important thing on the planet, that their hopes, dreams and happiness are all that matters. When you think that your own happiness is all that matters and you don’t have any fear of the Lord, how then can you ever really have any meaningful thoughts about God? Will God even be willing to relate to a person who isn’t willing to stand reverently before Him?
Verses like this make me really analyze my own life. I sometimes can go long periods trapped in my own small problems, so wrapped up in my own life that I seldom turn my gaze upward and consider God’s hand or will for my life. In all my thoughts, there is no room for God. I don’t like living like that. It’s stupid getting so wrapped up in the problems of the day that I never stop to think of the bigger picture or whether or not the problems that seem so big are even really all that important.