Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.
“In each case, there is a clear connection between keeping the commands of Christ and showing affection to Christ, between loving and obeying Jesus. By repeating himself so many times, Jesus added triple exclamation marks to this principle. This helps to ensure that we do not miss what he is saying: one of the best ways for us to show our love for Jesus is simply to do what he says.” [Ryken, Philip Graham. Loving Jesus More (Kindle Locations 777-780). Crossway. Kindle Edition.]
Love is found in action; it’s that simple! Love is not love until it is demonstrated. We can show our love for Jesus, by simply doing what God has said. In Psalm 119:1-8, the psalmist expresses his desire to be steadfast in obedience to God. Spend some time praying through these verses likewise, that we would also be steadfast in obeying the ways of the Lord.
Inˈsist/– verb – demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal.
Titus 3:8,14 (NLT) – This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone. Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.
Titus is a very interesting letter, in that Cretans had quite the reputation of being lazy gluttons. But Paul is calling for a counter cultural approach. The display of love for Jesus is the doing of good that is entirely “not normal” to their context, and there is an aspect of urging, an insistence (3:8). This will be beneficial to the church and for the people of God to become productive, in contrast to their current culture (3:14). Our M.O. as Christians is to live in the calling of the people of God according to what is “normal” in God’s kingdom. Paul insists and demands we live this way, and no other way.
Today, may your faith grow, as we trust in God, and devote ourselves to doing good, building one another up. As you pray, worship with this song “Your Love is Strong” (click here)written by Jon Foreman, for His love is strong, and He knows what we need to live as his people.
Galatians 6:8-10 (NIV) – Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Walking by the Spirit, life in the Spirit is doing good; a harvest of eternal life comes by the Spirit, these two are inseparable. Life in the Spirit not necessarily “feel good” moments, but don’t let it stop you from doing good. As Pastor Mark shared the example from Sunday – in learning to be a servant leader and allowing others to be served first – eating last may be painful, but do not lose heart! Don’t let it stop you from serving others as we are living for the kingdom!
Let us pray, “Lord, lead us more in doing good, so it can flow out of me to others. Thank you that your Spirit lives in me and I can love you like this with my actions and my lips.”
“I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken”
These lyrics from the song “Build My Life” speak of the ultimate demonstration of love, which is shown in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the same love that flows through our veins, that we can live upon and trust in, and not be shaken by anything we face in this world.
Today, let’s pray and worship to “Build My Life” (Click here) as you believe and build your life on Jesus’ love!
James 1:22-25 (NIV)– Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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.
“But Jesus calls us to receive this grace by exercising faith — by making behavioral demands on us. He does this because (1) our behaviors are the external demonstrations of our true internal desires, and (2) our behaviors themselves become a means of sanctifying grace. ‘If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them’ (John 13:17). Holy habits actually work to deepen our beliefs, increase our affections, and intensify our desires. Do what Jesus says. Do whatever it takes to want what’s right. And then, with that new heart, do what you want.” [Bloom, Jon. “Passive Christianity is a dead Christianity.” www.desiringgod.org]
As we see in James and the article above, action and blessing are inseparable fruit of the Christian who remembers what “they look like.” Today, let us pray and receive afresh faith in line as those who have been loved by Jesus. Let this prayer lead you to exercise faith in action to love Jesus today, for you will be blessed!
Luke 7:44-47 (NIV) – Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
What was Jesus pointing out for Simon to see? This woman’s beautiful and loving actions of broken and passionate thankfulness were evidence of the forgiveness she had received. She loved much because she was forgiven much.
What was Simon so blind to? His great need for forgiveness.
John Newton expressed, “I once was blind but now I see,” and it became evident throughout his life and till the very end as he expressed, “although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”
Through the Holy Spirit’s ministry, let’s pray that we would continue to humbly see who we are before the Lord and know deeper “Christ is a great Savior!” Let’s also pray that today that we will live victoriously in our forgiveness reality, closing with this song, “Raised to Life” performed by Elevation Worship.
Luke 15:11-14, 17-18, 21-22, 24 (NIV) – Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father…
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ “
Though so undeserving and lost, our Father in Heaven saw us from a long way off and was filled with compassion and found us. Let’s prayerfully remember in thankfulness our Father’s heart for us as we listen to this song, “Prodigal Son,” by Keith Green.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 (NIV) – I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
God’s grace was abundantly and powerfully at work if it could save the “worst of sinners” like Paul to becoming a servant of the Lord. For John Newton, he was saved from being a “wretch” to becoming a minister of the Lord. How great is our God’s salvation that he would not only save us from sin and death, but also, include us to participate in his salvation plan.
Let’s thank the Lord that he would save and call us out to be his very own servants. And for today, let’s pray for his kingdom to come and for his will to be done as we close with this song, “As It Is In Heaven” by Matt Maher.
Luke 7:37-38, 47 (NIV) – A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.
“She had discovered that with Jesus there is enough forgiveness for all our sin, even if we are the biggest sinners in the world. All of this was proven by the woman’s love. Jonathan Edwards rightly said, ‘All gracious affections that are a sweet aroma to Christ, and that fill the soul of a Christian with a heavenly sweetness and fragrancy, are brokenhearted affections. A truly Christian love, either to God or men is a humble broken-hearted love.’” [Ryken, Philip Graham, Loving Jesus More,Kindle Locations 696-700]
As we have experienced the sweetest “sound” of God’s forgiveness, let’s pray that our lives will also be a “sweet aroma to Christ.” Because our “many sins have been forgiven”, may our lives also show great love for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9 (NIV) – But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved…For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
“Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind but now I see”
These lyrics from the first verse of John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace” speak of his testimonial experience of God saving a “wretch” like him. The fact he referred to himself as a “wretch” reflects how he was fully aware of how “dead” he was in “transgressions.” But, because of God’s great love, John experienced the richness of God’s mercy after he cried out to God for mercy when he was nearly shipwrecked in the storm. How else could he describe it but as “Amazing Grace!”
We were once dead in our transgression, but it is the gift of God that we were saved through faith by His grace. This is amazing grace!
Let’s close in worship and prayer to the simplified version of John Newton’s hymn, “Amazing Grace,” sung by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.