The below Bible illustrations relate to the biblical truth about “Christians are…“. They provide wonderful examples, analogies, anecdotes, and metaphors that help explain, clarify, or justify the biblical truth about what it means to be a Christian. These illustrations not only make this biblical truth easier to understand, but also makes the learning process more enjoyable. Each illustration also includes an amazing creative drawing that further captures the biblical concept graphically.
To Glow in the Dark
If you hold phosphorus under a bright light then turn out the lights the phosphorus will glow in the dark. This is a process where energy is absorbed by a substance and is slowly released in the form of light.
As Christians, we are Christ’s representatives in a world filled with dishonesty, despair and selfishness. We are called to be a light in darkness. How is this possible when we have a sin-nature and are fully capable of all the selfish deeds taking place in the world around us?
We charge ourselves with the Word of God and reflect Christ’s characteristics. When we are under Christ’s light, if we have the opportunity for revenge – we will choose to forgive; when we could cheat – we will deal honestly; when we could be selfish – we will be happy to serve; and when we are stressed – we will learn to relax and trust in God. When Christians energise themselves with God’s promises and mandates they are a graceful light in a dark world.
But we must remember: if we don’t constantly expose ourselves to God’s Word our Christ-like light will soon cease and we will become just as dark as the world around us. Then, we have failed to be a graceful Christian that glows in the dark.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
The purpose of a battery is to transfer stored energy into something else. When a battery goes flat it serves no functional purpose unless it can be recharged from another power source to be used over and over again.
As Christians, we are like batteries. We may have a little power stored but if we are not recharged regularly we will soon be drained. Christians are energy dependent – God is the energy source. He waits for us to come to Him to recharge our spiritual batteries so we have the power to continue our daily walk.
When we go directly to God to be invigorated instead of looking to others for a boost we tap into an endless power supply. Eventually, we will even have extra energy to pass on to the discouraged or the ‘spiritually dead’. This is when God brings ‘spiritually flat’ people into our lives to gracefully recharge. Often, these people need a lot of attention and encouragement. They are frequently rude, demanding, obnoxious and ungrateful. They take much of our energy and give little or none back in return.
If we rely on our own (human) power, it won’t be long before people completely drain us. Then, just like the flat battery, we will no longer serve any functional purpose.
The only way we can stop other people and everyday life from exhausting us is to continually recharge our batteries from the all-powerful Energy Giver (God). If we tap into the divine spring, we will have an endless supply of encouragement and grace for those who have not yet plugged into that omnipotent source of power.
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
When travelers become lost, they generally look out for a signpost that can point them in the right direction.
If we are walking through life totally self-absorbed, without compassion and grace looking lost and bewildered, we shouldn’t wonder why no one is asking us for directions.
As Christians, God has asked that we be Living Signposts in a lost world – for our lives to be a beacon to life’s lost travellers desperately seeking the way to the glorious place of Salvation. By our gracious conduct, our confidence in God and our higher sense of purpose, the lost traveler will deduce that we are citizens of Salvation who can point them to the right path.
The Bible is our handbook. Within are many examples of: Christ-like grace under adversity – David-like courage under fire – and Esther-like poise within pressure. When we live well and reflect Christ-like virtues, people will want to know our secret to better living and ask us to point the way.
“By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
A caretaker is someone employed to look after, administer and protect the property belonging to another.
God is the sovereign Creator of all things – everything belongs to Him. Most of us like to think our property belongs to us – that’s why we find it difficult (and even rebel at the idea) that we own nothing. (Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. Job 1:21).
The truth is our property, our time, our talents, our health, our spouse, our children and even ourselves belong to God (We were bought at a price: 1 Corinthians 6:20, 7:23). We are simply caretakers of all we possess. We are employed by God to look after, administer and protect that which He has entrusted to our care. If we acquire anything, it’s simply on loan.
So, what sort of caretaker do we make? Do people and property prosper under our care? How are we using our God-given time, health, talents and possessions? If we suddenly lose them like Job, can we say: ‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’?
If we are a faithful caretaker of God’s possessions in this life, He has promised in Matthew 25:21, 23: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things’
Climbing the Spiritual Mountain
Life is a journey and the goal is to climb the Spiritual Mountain. We all start at the bottom and Christ waits at the top beckoning all who would believe in him to make the climb. Sadly, not many accept the invitation.
The Spiritual Mountain has a very large base made up of numerous valleys. Few people begin their journey from the same place. Some must climb out from the Valley of Drunkenness, Crime or Licentiousness – others from the opposite side of the mountain in the Valley of Self-righteousness, Legalism or Judging. As we ascend the Spiritual Mountain, step by step we will leave behind the old ways as we travel the path towards Christ.
There are many paths on the Spiritual Mountain. Thus it is essential to quickly find a guide (teacher of God’s Word) or we will soon become disorientated and find ourselves back in the valleys. We must choose a wise guide who takes directions from the only reliable map (the Bible).
When we begin our climb there will be many calls from people in the valleys below urging us to stay. These calls can sometimes drown out and distract attention away from Christ’s encouraging call from the top of the mountain. But we must persevere – if we keep following the upward call the downward calls will soon fade away and eventually we will reach the mountain’s pinnacle (the Christian objective of exhibiting the traits and being occupied with Christ himself).
The Bible never says the journey will be easy – in fact quite the opposite. Yet it does state it is eternally worthwhile and the reason we were created. Get started and take the journey, God guarantees in the final analysis you won’t regret it. (Proverbs 4:14, Malachi 4:2, Colossians 1:10)
In a Court of Law, evidence is only admitted if it exists. It is not admitted because someone says it exists. A court needs proof. It needs to see, verify and test all evidence before it can be admitted.
We, as Christians, tell the unbelieving world that Christianity is a life of joy, strength, courage, forgiveness, love and grace. But we are often guilty of not exhibiting any evidence. We should question where is the evidence of Christ in my life? If I am Christ’s representative, how will Christ be judged on earth through my actions? What am I really proving to the unbelieving world about God, Christ and Christianity?
For reasons known only to God, He has chosen Christians to represent Him in an unbelieving world. Through well-lived Christian lives, people will see undisputed evidence of a Higher Power working as the Christian exhibits God’s grace.
The greatest witness for Christ is the Christian becoming a living representation of His love, integrity and grace in our graceless world. (Isaiah 43:10, Matthew 23:3)
For thousands of years there have been stories of man’s adventurous quest for fabled treasure. Few things capture the imagination like the daring hunt for a magic lamp, a golden fleece, a legendary sword, a holy grail, a dragon’s hoard, a mummy’s tomb or pirates’ treasure. We love to see a hero find a dusty old map that promises great riches. We love to see them challenge all odds to find it. Throw in a devious villain, a few traps and a romance; there is a story that will transcend the ages.
Too many of us think this sort of adventure is only reserved for movie heroes. Yet God has called us to be the heroes in our own lives. He has given us a spiritual adventure unrivaled in all of Hollywood. God has even included an old map (the Bible) to guide us through insurmountable obstacles across the terrain of life. This map points out the way to the greatest treasure the world has ever known (salvation) and ‘X’ does mark the spot. If we start digging at the Cross (believe in Christ), God has guaranteed we will find the most extraordinary treasures (eternal life and eternal rewards).
We must view Christianity as life’s big adventure and go after these ultimate treasures, letting no odds stand in our way. We have spiritual-weapons, (Ephesians 6: 10-18) to protect us from a devious villain (Satan) and aid in rescuing loved ones and others in need of salvation.
Throughout the Bible we learn that God loves an adventurous spirit. If we find Christianity dull, then we are not living the Christian way life God intends but a shallow substitute. There are so many life-treasures for us to claim and God encourages us to hunt for them. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalms 27:1
In comics, super heroes are usually ordinary people who have been granted supernatural powers through an extraordinary circumstance. No matter the odds stacked against them, everyone knows they will eventually overcome all obstacles and beat the bad guy.
A Christian is an ordinary person who has been granted supernatural powers through an extraordinary circumstance (the Cross). As Christians, we may seem like mild-mannered nobodies on the outside, but within is a potential super-hero waiting to be revealed. Sadly, too many of us are not using our God-given supernatural power, choosing instead to rely on our own inadequate human power.
As soon as we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we have at our disposal God’s omnipotence just waiting to be used. Potentially, we have spiritual strength, endurance and a divine force-field of protection to overcome any adversity. We can move mountains with our faith and stop armies with a divine appeal. We can end tragedies with a single prayer. We can stop fear, worry and depression by claiming a promise. When others are panicking, the Christian (utilizing divine power), is relaxed, confident, compassionate and courageous – for if God is for us, who can stand against us.
But with great powers come great responsibilities – also great enemies (Satan). As with all super-heroes, we will be knocked around. But remember – no matter what the odds, if we endure, victory has been assured and the bad guys will eventually be brought to justice.
So, when life has knocked us down and we have come to the end of our own power, change tactics and recall: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13
A boat at anchor doesn’t disturb the water. Only after leaving the mooring does it break the water and send out ripples. A boat makes waves when it is under full sail or powered by motor. Though the waves may disturb other vessels, the boat also creates a wake which makes sailing easier for the vessels that follow.
Many Christians play it safe and don’t move forward spiritually in case they disturb the water. Instead, they float through life keeping Christianity a secret because they don’t want to rock the boat or cause a ripple. However, an anchored boat takes people nowhere – it has no purpose apart from looking nice (until it gets too old and sinks).
Christianity is a voyage. When we are motivated to leave our mooring (declare to the world we are Christians) it may break friendships or even separate families. If we continue to follow Christ through the Sea-of-Life, we will make ripples. As we rev-up our spiritual life, drawing upon God’s power, we will certainly cause waves in the devil’s kingdom.
We shouldn’t deliberately ‘rock the boat’, but we can’t expect to go on a voyage without making waves. When Christ is in our sights we should never adjust our course. The waves caused by our voyage may upset some, but remember that we also cause a wake. With our course firmly set on God, we won’t know who decides to follow in our wake until we arrive at our destination (Heaven). (Luke 6:22-23. John 15: 18-19)
The Ungrateful Son
A wealthy man had a son whom he loved very much. He constantly showered him with gifts. He spent every moment of the day teaching and caring for his son. But as the boy grew into manhood, he turned away from his father and soon came to despise him – yet his father continued to support him in the hope that he would come around. He paid his bills, furnished him with a mansion and wrote to him daily. Instead of being thankful, the son ripped up the letters, ended all contact and cursed anyone who dared mention his father’s name in conversation. However, the son never stopped taking his father’s financial support.
Sadly, the ungrateful son illustrates humanity (Judges 8:34). God is our heavenly Father and many of us imitate the son’s attitude. God spends every moment with us: giving, teaching and caring – yet, many turn away. In spite of this, God still continues to support us with the desire that we will come around. He supplies us with the riches of the universe, things that cannot be measured in wealth (like sunshine, oxygen, gravity, atmosphere, environment and more); He has paid our bills (Christ on the cross) and written to us (the Bible). We may curse God – but isn’t it ironic that we still expect Him to continue supporting us – which, as the loving Father, He does.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23
Hundreds of maggots squirmed in alarm when a man opened his lunch box to find it infested.
‘Don’t worry,’ said one maggot to his maggoty friends. ‘This man won’t mind us being here – we’re respectable, clean maggots. We’re nothing like those dirty maggots on the other side of the sandwich. Look at those repulsive maggots regurgitating all over his polony. Those filthy maggots deserved to be tossed out.’
However, it was soon evident to the righteous maggots that the man didn’t discriminate one maggot from another. He was plainly repulsed by every maggot that had ruined his lunch and quickly up-ended them into the rubbish bin.
No matter how good we think we are, or how depraved we think others may be – we are all repulsive when measured against God’s absolute standard of perfection. We may ask – how can God let mass-murderers or child molesters into Heaven? In our sight, they are filthy, degenerate people – not worthy of saving. However, in God’s sight we are all ‘maggots’ deserving of judgement. What a blessing that God deals with us on the basis of grace instead of what we deserve or we would all be tossed into the bin (Hell).
We go to Heaven on the basis of what God is able to do on our behalf – not what we have or haven’t done. God took the form of a man (Christ) and died paying the price of sin for all. He forgives all sin because of the death of Christ. If anyone believes in the Lord Jesus Christ they will be saved, not through works lest any ‘maggot’ should boast. (Romans 3:10, Ephesians 2: 8-9)
‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ Romans 3:23
The Insignificant Snail
A snail moves slowly through life leaving a slimy trail in its wake which dissolves within 24 hours. Soon, it is very hard to see any evidence of its passing. When a snail dies, the only evidence of its past existence is an empty shell. To us a snail is very insignificant – its existence hardly worth noticing.
No matter what their beliefs most people agree that life is a miracle. So, is it a random miracle or does our life have meaning and purpose? The Bible declares that God created life, the universe and all scientific laws that govern it. (Genesis 1:1)
On a universal scale, we are even more insignificant than a snail. We move through life desperately trying to leave a trail that will be remembered, but usually our trail disappears as soon as we pass. Like the snail, when our life’s journey ends, all we leave behind is an empty shell.
As insignificant as we are, it is truly amazing that God includes us in His plan, (Psalms 8:4). So we must conclude: If we are not doing God’s will in our lives, all we are creating is a worthless snail trail that will quickly fade away forever.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed by God’s command, so that the visible came forth from the invisible. (Hebrews 11:3). I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called. (Ephesians 4:1)
A lawyer is a member of the legal profession educated in matters of law. It is not a lawyer’s job to judge people but, rather, to advise their clients on the issues of law and represent them without bias before a judge.
As Christians, we are members of the ‘Royal Family of God’. As we become educated in spiritual matters, God will bring people (clients) into our lives to advise them on spiritual matters and speak (pray) on their behalf.
Just as lawyers may feel repulsed by the character of some of their clients, so could we with certain people God has directed into our daily circumstances (be it at home, work or school). Nevertheless we must be professional – God has not made a mistake by allowing them into our lives. Our job is not to judge (God is the Judge) but to give impartial representation before the Throne of Grace, just as our Lord Jesus Christ is doing on our behalf at this very moment. (Hebrews 4:16)
The Monkey that Presses the Button
In years past, NASA has used monkeys to advance space travel. Whilst these monkeys were chosen for their special abilities and trained for certain functions, NASA provided the rockets, supplied all the resources and employed a large team of experts to administer its space program. The monkeys were only required to push certain buttons on cue.
As Christians, we have a fantastic opportunity to play a part in God’s plan. When we choose to serve Him, our needs are all provided. God works tirelessly controlling circumstances behind the scenes. He supplies all the resources and the environment necessary to accomplish our ministries. He provides the ‘filling of the Spirit’ for guidance, plus a large team of experts (elect angels) to administer numerous unknown requirements and keep us safe. And unlike NASA, God doesn’t make mistakes!
Being orientated to grace means we don’t worry. We realise we are not capable of achieving anything by ourselves – it is by God’s grace that His plan for our lives is accomplished. And, no matter how big our individual Christian ministries become, we should always remember we are totally dependent on Him in everything we do. Even when we manage great things that God intends exactly on cue, the fact is – we are simply the monkey that presses the button. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
The first letters of the Greek phrase, “Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter (Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour)” spell, ichthys, the Greek word for “fish”. For two thousand years, the fish has been a symbol of Christianity.
It is interesting to note the fish is an aquatic creature designed for underwater life. Fish come in all shapes, sizes, colours and characteristics and are a great source of sustenance for many other creatures. They can lay millions of tiny eggs, most of which end up as food for others. Thus it appears the main purpose of a fish is to sustain and strengthen other creatures.
Christians are Heavenly creatures designed for a spiritual life. We, too, come in all shapes, sizes, colours and personalities. Christians have many purposes – one of the highest being a source of nourishment to the needy.
In an intolerant world, we are to be tolerant. In a world of hatred, we are to love. In a world of despair, we are to give hope. Many people will feed from our Christian attributes as, we in turn, feed from the teaching of Jesus Christ.
Just as fish lay many eggs, we hopefully produce many acts of compassion, love and wisdom to be digested and turned to energy by the hungry souls in our community. Just like the fish, we are unlikely to see the results of our eggs (spiritual works). We will never really know who was led to Christ and salvation through our labour, until we reach Heaven. (John 21: 15-17)
Temples are supposedly dwellings of worship, contemplation, devotion, harmony, learning, peace and joy. They are also sanctuaries for anyone in times of need.
As Christians, the Bible tells us that our body is a living temple. Thus we should each take stock of what our temple is like. Is it filled with thoughts of worship, contemplation, devotion, harmony, learning, peace and joy – or are we defiling our temple with thoughts of bitterness, jealousy, pride, revenge, greed, hatred, lust and hypocrisy? Who we are is what we think. Before we do something – we think it.
Jesus Christ will not have bad thoughts corrupting his temples. He waits patiently, knocking on the door of our soul. When we let Him enter, He will help us upturn these thoughts and cleanse our temple. Only then are we as God intended – a living temple filled with inner peace and joy that proclaims God’s glory to all passers-by, and a sanctuary for anyone in times of need. (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)
Defined by a Meaning
A word only has meaning when defined. Without definition a word is simply a meaningless sound.
Likewise, our life only has meaning when it is defined. We define ourselves by what we believe. If we believe in unproven ‘theories’ of evolution, we believe our life is merely the result of many miraculous mishaps. We define ourselves and our children as cosmic accidents with no high purpose – born simply to reproduce and then to die. If we believe in ‘nothing’, sadly we are defined by our belief, (ironically, evolutionists find meaning in trying to prove that life is meaningless).
As a word without definition is a meaningless sound, so, too, a life defined by ‘nothing’ is sadly a meaningless existence.
On the flip side, as God has stated in the Bible, we are not ‘nothings’. We are actually so important that the Creator of the universe took on the form of a man (Jesus Christ) and paid the complete penalty for all transgressions (sins) that any who believe on Him (Christ) will have everlasting life. God defines us as His sons and daughters, much beloved by Him.
Furthermore, God has given us a higher purpose in life with which to define ourselves. When we identify with His purpose, our life is filled with meaning and we become motivated to run the race that God has set before us. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Making Our Mark
When we make a mark in sand, it will last only a few days before being blown or washed away. Carve a mark on a tree and it may last decades, and if we chisel a mark on a rock it could last centuries. In time, however, when the marked object is defaced or destroyed, so too is any evidence of what we did.
Many of us want to leave our mark on the world, be it in business, arts, sports or the military. Even though some are extremely successful and leave behind a giant mark, when the world eventually ends so will all evidence of the things done upon it. (1 John 2:17) If we invest time and effort marking temporal things, when they are destroyed, so too is that investment.
If we really want to leave a lasting impression, we should leave our mark on something permanent – GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN. God has given us all the tools to do this, plus He has given us a role model (Jesus Christ) to show us how. Things our Lord did in His life were in accordance to God’s plan and will be talked about and glorified forever. If we follow Christ’s example and use the resources God provides, it is guaranteed our mark will never be erased, destroyed or fade.
We should always keep in mind: Life is but a drop in the ocean compared to eternity. Personal glory in life is fleeting; however, the glory of God’s plan lasts forever. Making our mark on GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN is something we will always be proud of.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (Matthew 25:21)
Accountable to Whom?
As two convicts were being escorted to trial, one turned to the other and pleaded: ‘I’m a good bloke! I’ve helped so many people! I’m a respectable citizen! Ya gotta believe me!’
The fellow convict replied: ‘Why you telling me? Even if I believe you’re the “Humanitarian of the Year”, it ain’t gonna help one bit with the judge.’
Why do we feel compelled to justify our spiritual lives to fellow believers? When we die, we give an account to God alone. Most Christians know this, yet still vainly justify their actions to peers in an attempt to be respectable.
The truth is people will think what they want – no matter what we do or say. Just because people think the worst of us, doesn’t mean God does. Alternatively, just because we have convinced many people we’re saints – doesn’t mean God agrees. Being right with people isn’t the same as being right with God. We are all sinners, God judges us on the basis of the Cross, grace and His perfect works, not on our relative righteousness. (Isaiah 64:6)
A great burden is lifted when we stop trying to justify ourselves and hold ourselves accountable solely to God. There is no need to worry about Him misunderstanding us. He knows the truth – and that very fact should ‘set us free’. (John 8:32)
Not Many Mighty
When a person is strong, healthy and full of vitality, he seldom gives a passing thought to hospitals. Hospitals tend to be occupied by people in need.
Some of life’s most unappealing people are Christians. Such a description is based on how the world judges appealing: rich, powerful, physically attractive and socially witty. Many who attend church are weak, frail, needy people – often lonely social outcasts with many personality hang-ups. The truth is few churchgoers would be ideal advertisements to swell the ranks of Christendom.
So where are the outgoing, successful men and the glamorous women whose mere presence could draw a crowd to fill gaps in the pews? The Bible states: Not many mighty are called! (Mark 2:17). Just as healthy people don’t check into a hospital – powerful, self-reliant people see no need to depend on God. Their ‘earthly’ blessings such as riches, fame, good looks or personality are often the greatest stumbling block to seeking God and salvation.
When Jesus Christ walked the earth, those who sought Him were not the elite or the in-crowd. Generally, they were society’s outcasts. Christ invited everyone, yet only those in need came to His call.
Often, impressive people need life to bring them down before they seek God asking for a hand-up. It can take adversity before many will accept Christ’s work on their behalf and start relying on God’s power instead of their own. Ironically, when we are weak, then we become strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
The spider is a cunning insect. It spins an almost invisible web across the path of its prey and then patiently waits for unsuspecting insects to pass by. Then when a bug falls into the web it soon becomes entangled and is at the spider’s mercy. Now that the insect is caught, the spider will secure it by wrapping it with more webs and, at leisure, sucks the nourishment from it.
Satan is the biggest spider of all. He lurks unseen in the background and relies on his many webs of lies and deceit to catch his prey. Like the spider, he doesn’t usually chase his prey – he waits for it to come to him. Satan has spun many ingenious and near-invisible webs to entangle us (insects). Webs that appeal to our pride, our self-righteousness, our lust for power, success, popularity, wealth, fame and so on. No matter what sort of person we are Satan has spun a web that can catch us.
Once entangled, we are at his mercy and it’s very hard to break free. Ever so slowly, we are wrapped in webs of our own addictions. We become tangled in our lust for power, approbation and gratification – then trapped within the bitterness, jealousy and depression that follow. Soon we are so entwined the only purpose we can possibly serve is to nourish Satan’s plans.
How do we avoid becoming entangled in Satan’s invisible systems of lies and deceit? We look to God. He knows the whereabouts of every web spun by Satan. If we take our lead from our Lord Jesus Christ and choose the paths He walked, Satan’s webs will never entangle us. (2 Corinthians, 2:11, 1 John 2:16, 1 Thessalonians 3:5)
Free As A Bird
While freedom allows you to move freely in any direction, the outcomes sometimes can be quite harsh. Freedom means you can reap rewards for good decisions but, equally, you are free to make bad decisions and reap the dire consequences.
When we believe in Jesus Christ we are instantly in-Christ (Christians) and become citizens of Heaven (eternal citizenship can never be revoked). This is the beginning of our spiritual life where there is an enormous degree of freedom. Which direction we decide to take is up to us – like any true freedom, we are free to succeed and free to fail.
Like any freedom there is choice: we can use our spiritual freedom to glorify ourselves, or alternatively to glorify God. We are free to move in any direction. We can elect to abuse spiritual freedom and gain nothing of eternal worth or we can choose God’s way. He has promised that our decisions will reap rewards one hundred fold in eternity. Heaven is the true land of opportunity. We should ask ourselves daily: What am I doing with the spiritual freedom that God has so graciously given us – which Christ paid for completely on the Cross?
Ponder our Lord’s words about His imminent return, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Rev 22:12)
Many adolescents zone out and stop listening to their parents’ council. It’s only when they end in trouble that some become humble enough to listen to advice.
Humility should be the hallmark of a Christian. This is not the, ‘ah shucks – I’m nobody’ sort of humility; this is the humility of always being teachable no matter how important we become.
God is constantly trying to instruct us through Biblical wisdom and our circumstances, but often we are so distracted by ‘worldly’ things that we don’t want to hear the lessons – so we zone-out.
God patiently wants to instruct each of us. But as we advance in the Christian way-of-life, we often assume the little we know is a lot and stop being teachable; or, we think God is a killjoy trying to stop our fun with all his rules and regulations. Usually, it is only when we end in trouble and are trying to dig ourselves out that we start to seek His divine advice again.
We should periodically stop and review our attitude regarding God’s Word; (remember, just because we praise God it doesn’t mean we are listening to Him). Have we zoned-out? Have we become our own authority? Are we too busy to seek His wisdom? If we want to avoid future pitfalls (and some pits we certainly want to avoid), we should stop being distracted, even by beneficial things, and zone-in to our Heavenly Parent’s wise Word.
Proverbs 3:5-6 states: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Satan was the most beautiful creature ever to come from the hand of God and, of all God’s creatures he was given the most. Yet, it wasn’t enough. There came a day when Satan questioned needing God and, instead, sought to be his own god to live free under his own authority. (Isaiah 14:12-14)
Well, what sort of a god does Satan make? As he seeks his self-sufficient existence away from God, he depends on God to uphold the universe. He demands God deal with him honestly and fairly, yet he himself deals in deceit. As he seeks freedom from God, he enslaves those around him. As he seeks his independent power, he steals power from others. While he intends never again to bow before God, he demands that everyone else bow to him.
Of all the illustrations that can be used to illustrate mankind, sadly, Satan is the best. Let us not fool ourselves; before we are born-again (saved) we are all imitators of Satan (John 8:44). Happily, this status-quo doesn’t have to remain that way. As we advance in the Christian life, we hopefully shed the old ways for something much, much better. Ever so slowly, as we progress by keeping our focus on Christ, we stop imitating Satan and start exhibiting the perfect qualities of our Lord.
The only real hope for the devil’s world is Christ’s return. The only real hope for our lives individually is inviting Christ to be part of it.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11
Drugs get a bad name from the damage caused when misused and abused. However, the primary purpose of drugs is to be beneficial to mankind. In medicine, they are useful in many processes of healing and have relieved a great deal of suffering.
It is ironic, then, that many have benefited from using drugs, while others have destroyed their lives because of them.
God designed Christians to be beneficial to all humanity – to help heal a sick world through the example and power of Jesus Christ. Yet Christians (like drugs) have a bad reputation because of the damage they have caused. Sadly, Christians are often viewed as self-righteous, narrow-minded, judgmental people who exhibit little tolerance and even less grace.
As Christians, we should evaluate how we represent Jesus Christ to those around us: our acquaintances, friends and family. We should question, are people better or worse off through knowing us? Are we intolerant and judgmental to any who don’t adhere to our standards? Do we take from those around us without giving? Do we always expect grace, mercy and compassion but never give it? Are we encouraging or a drain to those around us?
If we are focused on self instead of God, we will be like a devilish drug and eventually damage those closest to us. We may be Christians, but we will be a cause of misery to all who become involved with us.
God designed Christians to be a gift to the world – a pipeline for His grace – a source of healing for those suffering – a refuge for the lost. This will only be achieved when we stop acting like self-righteous Pharisees and start being occupied with our Lord Jesus Christ and exhibit his traits.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. Colossians 3:12-13.
Committing Spiritual Suicide
Suicide is the act of deliberately taking one’s life. Also, suicide can be defined as an intentional or unintentional act causing separation from a political, professional or social life. Simply, suicide is an act of separation.
At the point of salvation (belief in Christ) we are given a spiritual life. As time passes and for various reasons, many Christians commit spiritual suicide – they separate themselves from a personal relationship with God. It may be due to undergoing tragic circumstances and thinking that God doesn’t care. Or, maybe life hasn’t measured up to expectations and a grudge is held against the Creator. Then, either by a wilful act or slow indifference, we commit spiritual suicide and separate ourselves from God.
As Christians, we can never lose our salvation – that’s eternally guaranteed (John 3:16, Eph. 2:8-9); however, when we deliberately separate ourselves from a relationship with God, we also destroy all future opportunities of advancing in the spiritual life. When we do this, we are the losers – not God.
Yes, we may have justified our spiritual suicide, but so do those who commit physical suicide. The good news is, unlike other forms of suicide, spiritual suicide is not permanent and can be reversed. Every day is a new opportunity to renew our relationship with God. Like the prodigal son, no matter how far we have fallen God will welcome us back with open arms.
Given time, God can heal any wound we inflict upon ourselves. We just need to ‘phone the helpline’ – start praying to God and trusting in Him. If we do this, we once again give God the opportunity to work in all our circumstances, both good and bad, for our eternal betterment and His eternal glory.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
The Ripple Effect
If a rock is thrown into a still pond we see the ‘ripple effect’, where circles of small waves ripple out from the centre of impact. The ripples will continue to spread until they are stopped by an obstacle or encounter ripples moving in the opposite direction.
The world is no still pond; everyone is making ripples – mostly negative. When a person is angry, they often spread their anger to the people around them – then in turn, those people spread it to others and the ripples go out.
When we are victims of rudeness, intolerance or injustice, we usually react by being likewise in return. We each add to the ‘ripple effect’ which collectively builds up causing destructive waves of anger and depression.
God has called us Christians to be a barrier to those negative ripples currently swamping the world. If we are focused on Christ, we won’t react when faced with the world’s hostility; instead, we will start ripples of grace to offset the destructive one. As Proverbs 15:18 states: A hot tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.
People are usually caught off guard when their rudeness is returned with kindness. Unlike a hostile retaliation, a graceful attitude makes people stop and evaluate their behaviour. Instead of reacting tit-for-tat, an honest smile; a bit of tolerance, a small act of compassion; or a kind word can change the direction of someone’s day. This is one of the ways we live God’s Word and fulfil our role as ambassadors and imitators of Christ.
We should always question the sort of ripples we are sending into the world. The ripples Jesus Christ sent out in His life were so gracious they will continue to ripple throughout eternity.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… Galatians 5-22-23 NIV.
The Frog Prince
A frog is an amphibian. This word comes from the Greek amphi and bios, meaning double-life. Frogs live and function on land and in the water. They start their life solely in the water as tadpoles. When metamorphous begins, the tadpole develops legs, arms and the ability to live and breathe on land. As the changing tadpole further develops, it spends less time in the water and more time on land. Soon, it loses its earlier characteristics and takes on a completely new form.
As Christians, we are like the frog and have a double-life. It begins in the worldly realm and progresses into the spiritual realm. We start life as a tadpole (unbeliever), completely unable to enter the spiritual realm. However, when we believe in Jesus Christ a metamorphous takes place – we become a new creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
As Christian-tadpoles we start to change. As we learn and pray, tiny spiritually arms and legs appear. As we continue to grow in grace, we start to lose our tail (old ways) and spiritual lungs begin to function (new ways).
Just as the transformation of frogs is progressive, so, too, are the changes in Christianity. Our new spiritual lungs form as we breathe in the Word of God and apply it to our lives. Instead of being stressed, bitter and dissatisfied, we start to relax in God’s timing and power; we become graceful and at peace.
If we stay in fellowship with God and advance in the Christian way of life, we soon start standing on our own spiritual legs. We desire to spend more time in the spiritual realm in fellowship with God than going about in the worldly realm. Eventually, our transformation is complete: we are frog-princes waiting to be kissed.
However, this is just the first transformation; when we die God gives us that kiss (resurrection) and we go through our final metamorphosis. We will receive our eternal resurrection body and will be clumsy frogs no longer but glorious royalty for eternity.
…For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:52-53.
A Blueprint of Christ
A blueprint is a design or pattern that is a guide to making something else.
When God created mankind, He put a blueprint of Christ inside each of our souls. This blueprint is the pattern and standard for us to follow. Though we repeatedly fail to live up to God’s standard we still have a strong sense of what is noble, what is right and what is wrong.
Due to this blueprint in our soul, we respond positively when we see Christlikeness in others. When witnessing integrity, courage, compassion and grace, we instinctively know that this is how a person should think and behave. We respond positively to heroic characters in movies or literature who exhibit those Christ-like traits.
Evolutionary thinking promotes that right and wrong are relative concepts; however, deep within we all have a strong sense of what is good and what is just. Though we may ignore it, there’s an inner moral voice that reminds us when we are losing our way.
God has not left us to stumble around in the dark. Our blueprint in our soul is intended as a guide to Christlikeness (Romans 12:2). Yet, just because we have the blueprint, doesn’t mean we will follow the instructions and renovate our thinking. We may choose our own pattern to mould ourselves even to the point of criminal behaviour. We have the choice to either develop the character of Christ or develop the character of the world within us. In the end, the sort of character we have built will be determined by which blueprint we have followed.
When we eventually die and stand before our Lord Jesus Christ, we will have no problems recognising Him as He is the perfect fulfilment of that blueprint in our souls. At that point, we will hope that we are a reflection and embodiment of His grace-filled character.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18
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