To know Christ and follow His teachings is more easily said than done. Any change that has taken place has required both the working of the Holy Spirit and a surrendering of my life to Christ alone, despite the circumstances. Where has God worked in my life so far? Which scriptures have inspired change in a sinful life such as mine?
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father punishes the son he delights in.”-Proverbs 3:11-12
Discipline through hardships is not uncommon for Christians to go through. Just like a parent teaching his/her child to do what’s right through punishment, it’s similar to how God teaches His own children to do what’s right and best. This is for their good no matter how hard it really is.
These verses are an ongoing truth in my life. I seek God, but I know that I still deal with so many of my sinful ways. I have had trouble trusting Him with every aspect of my life for a very long time. For example, even since I was a young teenager, I had trouble trusting God with singleness.
I envied those who were in dating relationships so early in life. I was so frustrated about it. I wondered if God just favored them more than me. I wondered if God, or anybody, would ever love me. It was so many years later when I started to see things much more clearly.
Being in a dating/marriage relationship doesn’t give anyone worth. In fact, it can mean being a subject of a continual selfish act or vice versa. I’ve seen people get hurt from this type of thing. Many of those relationships weren’t real love. God prevented me from getting into this trap. He even saved me from myself as well.
Although it’s still not easy to go through this discipline in this area of my life, I now know that God has been gracefully protecting me the whole way. I still wait to see if it will ever be His will to give me the God-serving version of being in a dating/marriage relationship someday, but maybe I need a bit more discipline and chastisement first.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”-Galatians 1:10
In the context of this verse, God’s servant Paul is addressing the fact that the Galatians are starting to follow other people’s teachings instead of Christ’s teachings. He, in a sense, calls this people pleasing. They are disobeying God by following other ideas.
I, too, have been caught in confusion by this. I started to get the idea that pleasing God equaled pleasing people above me or beside me. I assumed that making them happy was the best thing. People pleasing stressed me out and put my body and mind into a very unhealthy state.
God got me out of those positions so that I was no longer subject to others, but I still fear those around me. I still struggle with this desire to make them happy. And then God gave me a growing desire, which is to point them towards holiness through Christ instead.
Now I talk about Christ to both the Christians and non-Christians I know. This is against my fears whenever I do so, but at least I’m slowly getting braver. I want them to know and grow in Christ like I am. I don’t want them to miss it!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always hopes, always trusts, always perseveres.”-1 Corinthians 13:4-7
If one wants to put it plainly, love is not selfish. It wants what is best and good for others. It does what is hard for oneself to put others first.
This one comes to mind a lot. I sincerely asked God years ago what love really was, and this is one out of a several clear ways that He has answered me. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and this love that He has been teaching me goes beyond any kind of guy/girl relationship out there.
I can’t fulfill it on my own no matter how hard I might try to do so. I can and do, however, ask God to help me to live my life in this way. This is an ongoing learning experience, so the inspiration from these verses won’t stop.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider a loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…”-Philippians 3:7-8
Paul used to be self righteous in his high position within Israel’s religious community. He used to take pride in what he had. Now that he had started following Christ, he considered his high position of no value. All he wanted from then on was to know Christ.
I personally struggle with want and desire. I like to have “stuff”, because I thought it could make me happy. The more I’ve gotten to know Christ, the more I understand that all that “stuff” is just temporary and unfulfilling. So now I’m starting to lower my amount of “stuff”. I did it two times already, and I might end up doing it again sometime in the future. Someday perhaps I will understand this verse to truly see that knowing and following Christ is more fulfilling than anything I could ever have or own in this world.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”-James 1:22
This verse goes against any idea of simply going to church, hearing a sermon, and still living the way you want to live. This verse is a great start to following all of those other verses in the Bible.
God has shown me many things through His word that I need to incorporate into my life and start living out. By His grace, I’m starting to check my actions and thoughts more often than usual. This is also involving the fact that my own sins are becoming more apparent to me, which makes this feel like an awful time in my life!
The good thing is that God is giving me more direction as I learn from His word as well as letting the Holy Spirit work. We never really know who we are in the mirror until we give up our lives to Him to let Him show us what really dishonors Him in our lives. These sins in my own life not only hurt me, though, but they hurt other people as well.
What God has been teaching me are hard yet necessary truths. I can’t live my life without them! I have much more to learn, but these are just a few that have stuck out through recent years. I now hope that they help you in your walk with Christ as they have helped me!
Bible: New International Version