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3/20/2008

 Daily Devotions

 Daily Devotions Podcast

 Truth In Real Life

 Truth In Real Life Podcast


God Is Honest with Us about the Christian Life

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (2 Timothy 2:3)

What if you were sitting at your desk one day and your teacher said: "Class, tomorrow you will have a test. Be sure to study hard and be prepared for it." That would be a good enough reason for you to start some serious thinking. But what if the teacher stopped her announcement right there? What if she would not tell you what subject your test would be in? How would you know whether to study Math, English, Science, History, or Geography? How would you know what books to take home or what chapters to review?

If your teacher announced only that you needed to prepare for a test, but she did not tell you important things about that test, her announcement would not really be very helpful to you, would it? In fact, it might be scary and frustrating!

I'm so glad that God tells us exactly what is expected of us as His children. First, He honestly tells us that the Christian life isn't easy. In James 1:2 it says to "count it all joy when you fall into various trials." It doesn't say IF, it says WHEN. That tells us that we should expect difficult times. But praise God that in verse 5 He says that if we lack wisdom, we can ask Him for it and He will give it to us! He doesn't just tell us what to expect: He also helps us to be prepared for what comes!

The apostle Paul often used illustrations to help us picture what the Christian life is like. He gives at least two examples: the soldier (who must fight in battles) and the athlete (who must work and train very hard for competitions).

Here are a couple verses that show us that the Christian life is not for lazy or goofy people, but that it requires us to be consistent and focused, like an ATHLETE:

"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1c)

"If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." (2 Timothy 2:5)

In modern terms, 2 Timothy 2:5 basically means this: If someone wants to compete in athletic games, he cannot win unless he plays by the rules. An athlete who wants to win a race in the Olympics has to train every day for months and even years. He usually also has to give up some things. He might go without things like soda pop, pizza, and cake. He might give up his favorite TV shows and time with his friends. He follows the instructions of his coach or trainer very carefully, so that someday he might win that gold medal.

And here are verses that show us that the Christian life is not for weak or cowardly people, but that it is full of hardship and danger, like the life of a SOLDIER:

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." (2 Timothy 2:3)

"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12)

We can understand these examples. A soldier's life is hard. An athlete's life is hard. When God describes the Christian life in the Bible, He does not just say, "Oh, you'll have to take a test, so be prepared." No. He tells it to us straight. He explains that living for Christ is a fight and that to win, we have to be disciplined and faithful.

Once again, God tells us what we need to hear about the hardship we can expect in living for Christ. But He also helps us to be prepared. He equips us with what we need to fight sin and to endure hard things with patience and faith. At least if the Christian life is going to be hard, it is comforting to know that God is on our side and ready to help. If you keep reading in Ephesians 6, you will read all about the "armor" God provides to protect us and help us fight. If you keep reading in Hebrews 12, you will see very clear instructions from God about how to run a race--laying aside sins and weights, and looking to Jesus as our best example. If you keep reading in 2 Timothy, you will see that God calls us to keep from getting tangled up with distractions and to live before Him in trust and obedience. In fact, we find in all these verses that God expects us to read His Word, to trust Him, to pray, and to stay away from worldly things. Those are some very clear and encouraging guidelines to help us prepare for the hard tests in the Christian life!

God explains what He expects of us, and tells us what we ought to expect in our lives as Christians.

My Response:
» What does God expect of me?
» How can I show that I trust God and want to obey Him, in spite of hard things in my life?






Truth In Real Life


Description of God

The Light of Men
John 1:4 "In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

 

Question & Answer

QHow can we clearly see Christ's love for the Church?

AChrist refers to the Church as His "bride," for whom He laid down His own life. Ephesians 5:26-27 – That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

 

BIG Christian Word

Resurrection - (rez-a-rek'shun)

Resurrection means a rising from the dead, or coming back to life. Jesus rose from the dead but he came back with a new kind of human life. His body was made perfect, no longer a body that would age, become weak, and die. His resurrection gives us hope for eternal life. (Luke 20:36) "Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection..")