A Reason to Be Thankful…..
In my opinion, the Christian life is signing on to a worldview that does NOT include the Good Ship Lollipop, but the Cross. It is dying to self and letting our Savior live in us and through us. It is choosing the life of an ambassador (2Cor 5:17-21) to a hostile world for a Savior who gave everything for us. When one realizes, truly realizes, what Christ did for us, and truly realizes the DEBT we owe Him, it is not acceptable to go acting as if what WE want, for personal comfort, is more important than HIS agenda for His Kingdom and HIS World. Our hearts should instead be grateful and appreciative for what we can know and what we have. We are not our own, we were bought with a price, we are HIS creatures and our purpose is to love HIM and others. It is our purpose to accept HIS love for us and be thankful for that.
When we wallow in self- indulgence and ignore love for others, we spit on the Cross and dishonor ourselves. The Christian life is a self-sacrificing, God honoring way of life that puts Kingdom Shalom first, and others second….it is designed to work that way….like the Trinity, it is a self-giving and other-receiving love. We receive from giving and we receive love from others giving to us; others include God.
Bad things in life often result, in most cases, from a desire to put self first and the others last. Christians are no exception. I will give you a rhetorical question I ask my marriage counseling clients…when the wife loves the husband and the husband loves the husband…WHO loves the wife? The same can be said for Christians. When God loves the Christian and the Christian loves the Christian…who loves God, who loves others?
The Westminster Confession tells us that the chief end of man is to love God and enjoy Him forever, not to love self and use God and others forever. When we choose the Christian life, we sign on to a lifetime of constantly working at that…not just signing on for Christian entertainment and likeminded groups. We are signing on to reconciling a hostile world to a God who is foreign to the world’s WAY of doing things. We are signing on to be different but not cloistered off from the rest of the world! We are to live a life that demonstrates the Kingdom Life (Matt 5; 3-8) and THAT life will be attractive to those who God has chosen as His own.
For those who don’t choose to respond to His call, that is their prerogative. They are fully responsible for the consequences. Jesus didn’t minister to every single person and He also turned some skeptics away when their hearts indicated that they were not genuine. I don’t read hearts, that’s God’s job. I’m just the messenger.
The skeptics who are screaming about whether God is fair, unfair, there, or not there is irrelevant. It’s not my job to save them, that’s between them and God. I’m just supposed to love them the way they are. He says in Romans 1 that everyone can see Him through what was made and that those who don’t are suppressing the truth. I have to agree with Him, He’s GOD…what choice do I have? A person’s belief, or lack thereof, doesn’t change the reality of whether or not a God really exists. It is what it is, and squabbling about whether God exists or not just wastes time. Go find the genuine seekers, shake the dust off your feet, the skeptic’s god is often their own skepticism.
Better yet, be truly thankful this Thanksgiving that He IS for you and that your life doesn’t have to be stunted with skeptics scorn.
Read Romans 1:18-23
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Romans 1:21-23 (ESV)
- In verse 18, what does God say is the reason man does not know truth?
- What does “suppress the truth” mean?
- In verse 19, how are they able to know the truth?
- In verse 20, why are they without excuse?
- Do they need prophets and other people to show them this truth?
- Discuss how one can know truth from what is made.
- In verses 21-23, what does God say that man does with this truth?
- Discuss how man does this in the world. What are man’s idols?
- What would be a better way to live?
- What are some things that are in your life now that you need to get rid of?
- What are some things in your life that you need to acknowledge?
- What are some things that you need to add to your life to love God more?
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Rev. Dr. Cheryl A. Durham, Biblical Counselor, Discipleship Coach, online, via teleconference. The person to call when your faith hits the wall. Sign up for a Free Newsletter! www.abovenbeyonddiscipleship.com
Tags: thanksgiving, faithful, god, knowing god, theism