"IF......."If we live, it is to honor the Lord. And if we die, it is to honor the Lord. So whether we love or die, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose - to be Lord both of the Living and of the dead....Romans 14:8-9 (New Living Translation).
Are you a happy hypocrite or a sour-faced Christian? I asked this, NOT TO BE MEAN, because if you have been reading this, you know Encouragement and Joy in the Journey with Jesus are the underlying themes of this blog. But too many in our churches or many who CALL themselves Christians give us a bad name by their conduct and demeanor.
We honor God by the lifestyles we live, and if our walk does not line up with our talk, we dishonor the Cross and the purpose of the Resurrection - which is to bring many to reconciliation with God. DL Moody, the greatest evangelist of the 1800's, once said "you may be the ONLY Bible most people will ever read." The question is - are they reading, from you, the Full Counsel or a "paraphrase"?
In light of this, think about these things:
* If your smile hides a secret which will find you out - confess it before God NOW.
* If your heart hurts because of a wound of a friend - address it.
* If your speech says "I'm part of the crowd" but you won't say it if Jesus were there - cease it.
* If your eyes tell the ladies, "hey my marriage vows are safe, am only looking" - resist it.
* If your work suffers short cuts and your boss can't wait for you to retire - reevaluate it.
* If your family knows the real you and it's not the Sunday morning saint you profess to be - restructure it.
* If you have no real peace, because your hope is built on nothing else...but your bank account - renounce it.
This may seem like a long way from the verses here in Romans 14:8-9, but the things mentioned above should cause us to constantly take stock ourselves. The Apostle Paul reminds us to always "examine ourselves" to see if we are in the faith...and to renew our minds daily. If we don't, and we allow the world to clog, filter and pollute our minds and spiritual hearts, we grow rusty.
We are called to die to our fleshly desires - most of which, if we think about it - will get us in big trouble.
We are called to distance ourselves from the sinful nature, so as to honor Christ.
We are called to desire ONLY Him, because He is Lord.
His Life, Death, Burial and Resurrection will never be fully explained, this side of Heaven, but He gave us enough to go on, in the Word. Therefore, let is not just think on these things - but live them! Amen
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