Making this week good from the get-go

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It’s Monday morning, for most of us a new work week. We are going to stand next to a few that are lazy, some that are mean, some that make life miserable, and many who are just like us – trying to make life work one day at a time.  Here is the question. What will you bring? Are you going to be a force for good, a true example of Christ?  Let’s not get the wrong idea about that. Leave your sermons home, put your big black Bible back on the table!  Christ does not need you or me to the scold, the nag, or the one who has a Bible quote for every situation.  He wants us to be “light,” bringing clarity with true character; to be “salt,” flavoring with good, positive words and preserving by example; to live selflessly and with integrity.

You’re smiling at my earnest but unrealistic assumptions? “Come on, Jerry. We don’t all work in churches.” I know that and still we are all called to represent Jesus and His kingdom, everywhere and all of the time. Saturday, I realized that anew.  At the grocery store the woman at the register said something about a lack of trust. Off-handedly I told her I did not worry too much about that, confident and secure. She said, “Of course, you’re a man of God.”  I don’t know how she knew that. I was not wearing my cross, had an old T-shirt and cap on, did not look like a ‘preacher.’  But, she did and I was thankful that, even in a casual way, Christ was represented well in that short exchange.

When you are open about your faith (and I hope you are) others will have expectations about how you live. They will not always be realistic. Some may even decide they do not like you just because you are a disciple of Jesus. You may be ignored by a few, rejected by some, and even thought to be a fool. What then?  Here is what Peter says.  “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:21-23, NIV)

I find an important principle for living for Christ in the last line of that passage. “He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.”  God knows the state of our heart, our motive in every situation. He always gets it right, never forgets the good done that no one else notices.  Remember that familiar phrase about ‘the Audience of One?’

On the stage of life the only evaluation that matters in the end belongs to Jesus Christ.  If we are living to please Him,  we live the best life possible for us.  It is not always the one that produces the quickest reward. It does not always give us the satisfaction that can be found in chasing our own desires. But, when we are in the hands of God, secured by His love and acceptance, we can let go of resentment, quit complaining, love the miserable, and do our best without regard for pay or prize!

Make it a great week from the first. Pray about living in Christ, held secure in faith in the One who always get it right! Ignore the insults. Forget ‘playing the games’ that aim at gaining your own best interest. Be His – in thought, in word, in action.  Nice guys sometimes do finish last – in this world – but those are right with God will find a sure reward!

Here is a word from the Word – Paul’s instructions to his friend Timothy who was living in a tough situation, and wisdom for us. Keep in mind he wrote them from a jail cell!  “I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end. So,  keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ.” (2 Timothy 1:12-13, The Message)

______

Abba, as I start a new week,
one already full of challenges,
I ask for a real sense of Your Presence in my life.
Teach me to let go of my Self, my needs,
to take on Your call.
May love guide my responses,
generosity be a first impulse,
a desire to know Your approval stronger than any desire for the commendation of others.

I ask for Your blessings on my endeavors,
Your love in my heart,
Your peace for my life.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen
____________

Build My Life

Worthy of ev’ry song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You

Jesus the name above ev’ry other name
Jesus the only one who could ever save
Worthy of ev’ry breath we could ever breathe
We live for You
We live for You

Holy there is no one like You
There is none besides You
Open up my eyes in wonder and show me who You are
And fill me with Your heart
And lead me in Your love to those around me

I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken

CCLI Song # 7070345
Brett Younker | Karl Martin | Kirby Elizabeth Kaple | Matt Redman | Pat Barrett
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