Bear Your Own Load #273

4  But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5  For each one shall bear his own load. (Galatians 6:4-5)

There are spiritual responsibilities each person has which no one else can carry. Parents have a “load” or burden of responsibility for which they alone answer. The husband and wife each have a “load” they willingly agree to carry in marriage. And, so it goes with every duty of life. We are advised by the Holy Spirit to examine ourselves rather than critically and unjustly judge others. Each of us will answer to the Lord, and so each of us must take our obligations seriously and fulfill them to the best of our ability.

Go Reconcile #272

23  Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24  leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)

The ability to reconcile a problem begins with admitting your part in contributing to the problem. Take responsibility and work to correct the matter. That is what Jesus teaches here. Your “brother has something against you” – you have done something that caused a dispute. Accept your responsibility for the hostility between yourself and your brother (or parent, sibling, neighbor, etc.). Take the initiative to reconcile. If you are unwilling to correct your own faults with another, then God will not accept your worship. We cannot mistreat others and expect God to accept our worship.

Reject Hypocrisy #271

1  Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2  But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3  And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? (Romans 2:1-3)

An oft-repeated complaint against Christians is that they are hypocrites. Why is such a charge made? Perhaps it is a diversion from the truth of one’s own sins. Hypocrisy is pretending to be what you are not. Christians are not “without sin” – “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23). If a Christian condemns sin in another person while practicing the same or similar sins himself, that is hypocrisy, and he correctly stands condemned. But, when a Christian uses the Scriptures to identify sin, rebuke it and correct it, that is not hypocrisy. Do not let your past sins (for which you have been forgiven) keep you from helping others put away sin. If you are practicing sin, then repent now. Once you do, you can effectively help others overcome their sins in Christ.

Present Yourself to God #270

11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. (Romans 6:11-13)

The apostle makes it very clear that we have the power to decide not to let sin rule over us. The Christian is “alive to God in Christ” (v. 11). When a sinner is baptized into Christ Jesus and into His death, he is also “baptized into death” to sin (Rom. 6:3-4). Sin is put to death in Christ. The Christian is then commanded, “Do not let sin reign in your moral body” (v. 12). We accomplish this by presenting our bodies “as instruments of righteousness to God” (v. 13). Paul is not saying a Christian will never commit a sin. He is saying we choose to no longer allow sin to rule us. The person who freely presents himself to God practices righteousness instead of sin. We serve God, not sin.

On You I Wait #269

4  Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. 5  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day. 6  Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, for they are from of old. (Psalm 25:4-6)

What does it mean to “wait” on the Lord? It does not mean sitting idly by “expecting a miracle” (as some TV prophets promise). It does not mean running ahead of God, presuming we know the path we should take (Jer. 10:23). Waiting on the Lord involves learning His ways and walking in His truth. He is the God who saves, so the faithful ones rely on Him. It involves endurance to patiently follow His truth, assured that God will accomplish His purposes in His time. God has shown Himself to be compassionate and merciful from days of old. Therefore, wait on Him. Learn His truth and walk in His paths each day. Do not forget God; He has not forgotten you.

Spend and be Spent #268

14  Now for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I am loved. (2 Corinthians 12:14-15)

Paul loved the Corinthian Christians like parents love their children. He had preached Christ among them and through the gospel had laid up great spiritual blessings for them. Paul could say “I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). But, some of them did not recognize his love and refused the truth he taught them. They loved him less the more he loved them. But, he was resolved to continue loving them the only way he knew how. He would exhaust himself (“spend and be spent”) seeking their salvation. That is what devoted parents do today. Teach your children the truth of the gospel, lay before them the spiritual blessings of Christ and show them the way to heaven. They may refuse your instruction, rejecting your love. But, keep on loving them “more abundantly” by showing them the way to heaven. That’s true love.

Confidence When He Comes #267

28  And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. 29  If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:28-29)

Jesus will personally appear “at His coming”. Jesus will not have an invisible coming as the Premillennial “Left Behind” saga suggests. His coming will involve His magnificent appearance. By abiding in Christ now, you will have confidence in His presence when He appears. Children of God “abide in Him” – they “practice righteousness”. You abide in Christ by “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). By following the will of Christ you will be a confident, unashamed child of God before Christ when He comes. Seek His righteousness by practicing it today.