The Bible says the easy life isn’t worth living. Somewhere along the way people bought into the idea that life is supposed to come easy and we became allergic to hard work. God tells us to take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Jesus. We want all the pleasures in life without working through the pains along the way. Before you leave your Christian faith because it’s not as easy as you thought it would be, let’s lean into the difficult things and give God the glory for the grind of life. Let’s be more grateful.
We are born with a sinful, selfish mindset… Me first. It takes a relationship with God, through Jesus, to be more generous and giving in life. When you encounter the living God, you grow in faith and in awareness of others, so much so, that you want to give to others, more than receive from them. What kind of mindset do you have? Are you stingy and selfish, or thoughtful and generous with your giving? We want to grow in God and become generous like his Son, Jesus Christ. This happens when we let the Spirit of God lead our lives and lean more into Godly living.
Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him. We like the following part, but find it harder to do the “deny ourselves” part. Sometimes when we give of our time to others and serve them, we reap a reward of God’s blessing. We walk with God to learn how to give more service away and honor God by blessing others.
All of us talk boldly about what we believe strongly, already. But many followers of Jesus don’t share their personal faith with others. For some reason we feel inadequate, or incapable, or not compassionate enough. Whatever your reason, it’s easier to share your faith than you realize. All we need to do is “meet a need” for someone today. Maybe they sense distance from God and don’t need a lecture, rather, they need love from someone who cares for them. My prayer is that you would learn to share your faith more boldly, by meeting someone’s need today.
The women go to the tomb of Jesus to prepare his body with spices, and they find the stone rolled away, the tomb empty and angels approach. The angels said, “Jesus is not here. Why do you look for the living among the dead?” What did you expect to happen? Jesus wasn’t expected to die, and then once dead, Jesus wasn’t expected to come back to life. How does your life relate to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead? You no longer need to live a “dead” existence. You can have life today, with the same power God gave to raise Jesus from the dead.
Hebrews 12:1-3 says to lay aside the things that distract us from God, and run the race marked out for us in faith, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author of our faith, so that we don’t grow weary and lose hope. How do we fix our eyes on Jesus? What sort of things take away our sense of hope? The boys in the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 found themselves up against a rock and a fireplace. They chose to follow God, no matter the cost … “even if”. Can you say that in your life? Even if God doesn’t save me from this situation, I will still trust him.
We are in a series on the Heroes of the Faith in Hebrews 11, and the author of Hebrews names the prophets as heroes of faith. We wanted to cover what the prophetic books were about in relation to today’s culture. If you were asked to speak for God as a prophet to your culture, what would you say? Would you have a message of love for today’s generation of people? How can you help people grow in their faith with God, today? What message would you give?