Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 15, 2015
Guest Writer: Meet my friend Shana Schutte. We are blessed to have her as our guest writer.
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it–not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it–they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:25
A couple of years ago I felt as if the Lord was inviting me to graduate from spiritual kindergarten, when I thought I had already received my diploma. For over twenty years, as I have walked with Christ, my understanding has often been like that of many believers who have been told, “Just ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll go to heaven.”
Certainly Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (ESV). But a couple of years ago, I realized that confession is the beginning of belief. Then comes discipleship. This means following Christ. Perhaps this is why Matthew 7:21 says…
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
Whoa! Talk about heavy words! In this scripture, we are reminded that Christ isn’t here to serve us; we are here to serve Him. We are here to do His will. And it’s not just about saying we believe while we live our own lives. It’s sobering to think that Jesus asks those who know Him to live for Him—and nothing less. So it’s not about God making all my dreams come true and making me happy, healthy, and wealthy. It’s not about just saying I believe but not backing up my words with action that proves my love. It’s about Jesus being Lord.
I wonder if in our attempt to emphasize grace—which of course, is critical—we have missed the seriousness of “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). We must remember that yes, we are saved by grace. We can’t do anything to earn our way into heaven (Ephesians 2:9). It’s only Christ’s gift on the cross that has justified us by washing away our sin so we can be with Him forever in eternity.
But we must also remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). In any relationship—including the one with Christ—action doesn’t prove love, but true love is always proven by action. That said, all genuine works for Christ begin with the motivation of the heart, in relationship with Jesus. Or, they are just dead works. The condition of our heart is central—and the beginning of—true discipleship. Knowing these things, is God asking you to graduate from spiritual kindergarten too?
“Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” (Mark 1:18)
Prayer: Oh, Lord. Your call for those who believe is serious. Help me to grow up into greater and greater faith so I am more and more willing to live for you and let you be my Lord.
Related Readings: Matthew 7:24; Matthew 16:24; Matthew 4:20
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