Deduction

“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; but it is the scriptures which point to me! Yet you refuse to come and have eternal life.” (John 5:39-40)

It is incredible that mankind will do anything to escape death. Yet it is not altogether unreasonable, either. After all, death is number one on the list of human fears across-the-board, not unique to any demographic. Furthermore, it is inescapable that man has a 100% mortality rate.

So it is not surprising that anyone would want to cheat death and avoid it at all costs. No, what is surprising is that so many people are determined to avoid the one way in which it is possible to do so.

The Bible tells us that “anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will have eternal life” (John 3:15). Jesus goes so far as to clarify this for us in the simplest of terms: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

No one?

No one.

Yet there are many who simply refuse to accept this. Why? All God is saying is to put your faith in Jesus and to let Him take care of things.

But no. People would rather swear up and down that they’re in control of their own lives, that all paths lead to heaven, or that heaven (and God) don’t even exist.

Others will scoff at the practice of prayer, and then consult a horoscope or a palm-reader. Still others believe that when you die, you come into life anew, either better or worse off, based on how you lived your previous life (yet without any knowledge of this previous life, and therefore a complete possibility of remaking the same mistakes which set you “worse off” in the first place).

There are many different religions, many different theories as to the afterlife, and many different ways to live your life here and now. Who can say which one is true or which is best?

But…

There is a guy who lived long ago, who did incredible things that no one else could do, who made incredible claims that no one else could make, and ultimately died because of his unshakable belief that he was the son of God. He predicted his death, and then he proclaimed that he would rise from the tomb thereafter. And he did.

It seems to me that this guy knows something. His advice just might be worth taking. After all, what have you got to lose? It’s only a life.

Amen.

Being Perfect

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Perfectionism is a problem that plagues a lot of people. But perfectionism and “being perfect” are two subtly, yet vastly, different cups of tea. perfectionist judge themselves by their achievements, but that is antithetical to the premise of salvation, which is by grace – not by works, lest any man should boast. To God, being perfect means being in Christ, and being able to say, “By the grace of God I am what I am!” (1 Corinthians 15:10)

The problem with perfectionism is that you will never know if you have done enough. Enough to be saved, enough to be loved, enough to be accepted. Nothing is ever enough and no one can live up to your standards. The perfectionist can never forget his or her failures, and often procrastinates on projects because they are waiting for the time to be “perfect,” which it will never be. (It will never be a perfect time to become the person you want to be. Start now.)

To all those perfectionists out there (and I used to be one), remember that you do not have to be the best; just do your best. It is absurd to strive for an unattainable perfection that doesn’t exist.

Instead, strive for excellence.

Ask yourself: Do you resent criticism or do you learn from it? In striving for perfection, you will most likely reject and resent criticism of your work as an affront to your character. But this is not the case. You must learn to detach from your work and not take things personlly; while at the same time pouring maximum effort into your work as you strive for excellence.

Grace is God’s acceptance of us. Faith is our acceptance of His acceptance. Accepting God at His Word for the truth that it is, is what allows us to be perfect.

Amen!

Eager Volunteers

“Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom shall I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’ I said,’Here I am. Send me.’ ” (Isaiah 6:8)

The eager spirit of the prophet Isaiah is both wonderful and contagious. As well as a striking example of the attitude that we ought to have to do the work of the Lord.

“Therefore, beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, for you know that in the Lord your labor is never in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

The work of the Lord isn’t limited to preaching sermons or teaching Bible classes. It embodies everything believers do. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3:17)

Clocking in early is the work of the Lord. Crunching numbers or filing folders is the work of the Lord. Wiping tables, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, raising your children, mowing the lawn, and walking the dog are all works of the Lord. And your work for the Lord is never in vain.

Furthermore, there are always openings for those who seek to do the work of the Lord. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Luke 10:2)

As you go about your normal daily routines, consider that everything you do is an opportunity to praise the Lord through your work. Consider Isaiah’s eagerness to volunteer to do the work of the Lord, not knowing what that would entail or if it would pay off.

Understand that the Lord sees all, and that He will reward even the most obscure work, if done eagerly.

Amen!