Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Perfect God

It is good to strive for perfection.

No matter what we are trying to do, anything less than perfect leaves room for improvement. Whether you are playing a sport, working on your GPA, or busy about some occupation, perfection should be a goal.

But please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that we are failures if we don’t become perfect, because the truth is that we will never become perfect. We might have a perfect game, get a perfect test score, or have a perfect day in the office, but we will never be perfectly perfect every day.

But an inability to become perfect does not mean that we lower our standards. Does your boss not want you to strive for perfection? And your teacher? And your coach?

In heaven we will be perfect, but until then we can only make perfection a goal. As imperfect people we should still strive to live as if perfection were achievable rather than throwing in the towel and saying, “What’s the use?”

The only exception to the reality of imperfection is our perfect God. Moses was so moved by the knowledge of God’s perfection that he burst into song in Deuteronomy 32. Listen to how Moses described God:

"The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He. (v.4)”

Isn’t it refreshing to know that we serve a perfect God—a God who is just and upright, who is faithful and without sin? Moses sure thought so.

In a world that is used to being let down and disappointed, Christians should shine like stars in the sky, beaming with radiance that comes from a perfect God. He never breaks a promise, always forgives sin, and will do what is right.

Praise God for His perfection!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Redeeming the Time

Think for a minute about how you spend your time. Is your time spent, wasted, or invested?

I am not opposed to playing video games or watching TV, as long as the content is appropriate. The Bible is clear (and science has confirmed) that rest and downtime are important. But those activities should not be all that we do.

Too many people get home from school, pick up their controller, and play video games until they fall asleep. Likewise, people get home from work, grab the remote, and watch TV until late into the night. This is the daily routine for millions of people.

A life lost in games and shows is an example of time wasted. Each hour wasted staring at a TV is an hour you can never get back. Are you proud of how you chose to spend that hour, which was a gift from God?

We should be more interested in investing our time—spending it in a way that yields a reward in the future. Ephesians 5:17 says, “Redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Another way of saying that in today’s English could be, “Invest your time wisely because we live in an evil world.”

 We invest our time through prayer, reading God’s Word, and attending church. Time spent in those areas is an investment because they can produce future results. Answered prayers are worth the time spent in praying them; and when a verse or concept comes to our minds at just the right time, we know that the time spent in reading and listening was worth the investment.

We also invest our time wisely when we share the gospel with a nonbeliever. If they choose to put their faith in Christ then there is an eternal reward. Even if they reject the message, a seed was planted that can grow over time.

Another way to invest our time wisely is to spend it with other believers. Whether learning from people who are older than us spiritually, or teaching those who are younger than us spiritually, we are investing time in other people. This is called discipleship, and it was a command of Christ.

Remember, we live in an evil world, so how are you investing your time? 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Firm Foundation

I have done very little construction in my lifetime, but one thing I know is this: a firm foundation is essential to the success of any structure.

Whether you are working with toy blocks or building a skyscraper the same concept is true. We all know the result of an unbalanced, weak, or cracked foundation. When the storms come the structure will be destroyed, even if the walls, windows, and roof were all strong. A firm foundation is vital to the vitality of any building.

Paul compared the truth of Christ’s message to a firm foundation. II Timothy 2:19 says, “But God's firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’”

To better understand Paul’s point we need to keep the context in mind. In the preceding verses the apostle mentioned two men by name—Hymenaeus and Philetus—who he called “gangrene” because they had “swerved from the truth.” Understanding that context would allow us to restate verse 19 this way: “God’s truth stands as a firm foundation…”

The truth of God’s message is the strong structure upon which we can build our faith, theology, even our very lives. When the storms of life come the building (us) will stand strong because we have a firm foundation.

There are loud voices today saying things like there is no hell, Jesus affirmed homosexuality, the Bible has flaws, and God used evolution to create the world, among other things. Those voices are gangrene, swerving from the truth. If they continue on that path then eventually they will crumble apart because their foundation is based upon wishful thinking or manmade theology.

Make sure that your foundation is firm. Keep building on the whole counsel of God’s inerrant Word

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Growth Chart

When I was younger I was always concerned with being taller. I wanted to grow—I wanted a longer wingspan, I wanted to be at least 6’4, and I wanted to put on weight.

My love for basketball was responsible for my desire to grow. I was a big fan of Nick Anderson, who was the first player ever drafted by my favorite team, the Orlando Magic. My brother and I had a life-size cutout of the shooting guard in his white #25 jersey, and I remember charting our growth progress next to him.

As a shooting guard myself, I knew that my measurements had to be close to Nick Anderson’s 6’6, 205 lb. frame if I were going to make it to the NBA. I surpassed my desired height (barely), and eventually eclipsed the 205 mark; unfortunately, there is more to being a professional athlete than just the measuring tape.

But the truth is my height came as the result of my genetic makeup—my dad is 6’4—and not the result of my will or determination. No matter how hard I tried, I could not add an inch to my stature.

But that is not the case when it comes to growing spiritually. Colossians 2:7 tells us to be “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Being “built up” refers to growing; we may stop having growth spurts at some point, but we should never stop growing in the faith. The difference here is that the amount we grow in the faith is totally up to us; this is not left up to genetics, but to the amount of work we are willing to put in.

We need to have the desire to grow—the same desire that makes an NBA-driven kid want to get taller. With that desire, we can pray for God’s Spirit to lead us into truth, then open His Word and begin to learn. We also need to be faithful to our local churches and anywhere else the Gospel is taught. And don’t be afraid to ask questions from those who are more spiritually mature.

I hope you will hit a growth spurt today.