Thursday, February 28, 2008

Whose are You? (Part 3 in the "Check Yourself" Series)

Who do you belong to?

To some people, that's going to sound like a very weird question. After all, we live in the post-Civil War era. In America, at least, nobody owns anybody anymore.

But, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about another person owning your body, I'm asking: Who owns your soul? It's a multiple choice question with only two options:

(a) God (b) Satan

For the Christian, the easy, obvious, and beyond a shadow of a doubt answer is (a). The Bible tells us:

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." II Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)
"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For you
have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"
The Spirit Himself
testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,"
Romans 8:14-16 (NASB)

If you're struggling to answer, you probably fall under category (b). There's no convenient "none of the above" escape hatch. It's one or the other.

"Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." John 3:18 (NIV)

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Romans 8:9 (NIV)

Going back to my previous entry, this is the first "Whaddaya want?" question we've all got to ask ourselves. Who do I want to belong to? Deciding not to make a decision is deciding for option (b), because that's the default (see John 3:18, above).
If you can't say right now that you belong to God, but you want to, scroll down the sidebar at the left of this page until you get to "Know Jesus" and click on the link.
If you are a Christian, you belong to God. Are you living like it? Does your walk match up to your talk? Do people know who you belong to by your actions and example?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whaddaya Want? (Part 2 in the "Check Yourself" Series)

My husband's late uncle had a great little saying: "You do what you want to do."

Now, I don't know about you, but I feel like I do a LOT of things I don't want to do: the dishes, the laundry, breaking up fights between the kids, getting up early in the morning, pretty much anything that doesn't bring me immediate happiness or satisfaction. So why do we do all those things that we don't want to do?

Because we do want to do them.

I want my family to have clean dishes from which to eat and clean clothes to wear. I want my kids not to kill each other. But, we don't live in a "magic wand" world where the things we want just happen with no cost or inconvenience to us. Everything is a package deal. The cost comes along with the desired outcome. Sometimes you pay up front; sometimes you pay later. The question is, how badly do you want what you say you want, and are you willing to pay the associated cost?

When it comes to faith, these are the most basic and important questions to ask ourselves. A non-Believer needs to decide for herself, "Do I want to have meaning and purpose in life and go to Heaven when I die?" If the answer is "yes", she's got to be willing to pay the cost of dying to self, submitting her will to Christ, and living obediently. Pay now, benefit later. If the answer is "no", she will "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25), but the cost will be eternal damnation.

The question the Believer needs to ask herself is, "Do I really want to know God better, have a vibrant relationship with Him, see my prayers answered and be strong in my faith?" (If the answer is "no", you need to do some serious praying and determine if you are actually saved. Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;" (John 10:27) If you are a Christian, you will have at least some desire to follow Christ.)

Most of us would answer "yes" to that question, but are we really doing what it takes to make it happen? Do we want it badly enough to turn the TV off and spend time in the Word every day; get up on Sunday and attend church; set aside plenty of time to pray; deny self and stop doing things that are disobedient? At the very least, are we asking God to give us the desire to obey Him and help us to do these things?

What do you really want?

Check Yourself (Part 1 in a series)

Too many of us go through life on autopilot. We get up, have our morning coffee, and go to work. We finish work, have supper, watch TV and go to bed. The next day, we get up and do it all over again, never stopping to think, I mean really think, about our lives. What am I doing with my life? What purpose does it serve? Is this all there is?

Socrates said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." So true. When is the last time you sat down and honestly examined your life? I'd like to challenge us to examine our lives by looking at the following questions:
  • What do I want?
  • Whose am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • Who am I?
  • Where am I going?

Over the next few days or weeks, I'll be writing entries that address, and help us explore, each of these questions.