Consumed with What Christ Has Done for You

Consumed with What CHrist Has Done for You

How many times have you heard the phrase “It’s not about you?”  Some Christians are constantly reminding themselves and others of this, in an attempt to avoid becoming full of themselves. While we shouldn’t be totally wrapped up in ourselves all the time, the idea that it’s not about us can be over emphasized to the point that it actually holds a portion of the body of Christ back from doing what God’s called them to do.

Here’s what I mean by that. Some people conclude that since it’s about God, not you, if you enjoy doing something that brings you before the eyes of the public, you must be doing it to try to bring glory to yourself instead of Him. Therefore, if you want to do anything like speaking, performing music, acting, writing a book, starting a business, or anything else of the kind, you must an arrogant individual who is out only for yourself. While this is sometimes the cases, it most certainly isn’t true of all who are in such a situation!

Think about all the great evangelists and ministers in Christian history. They drew huge crowds, who came to hear them speak. Were they in it for themselves? Was it all about the show with them? Very few of us would say such a thing, and yet their names were widely known. They stood before many, and yet they drew countless people to God. Some of them, in fact, believed so intensely in the importance of bringing the truth of the gospel in front of as many as possible that they faced persecution in the process. If their careers were built off of pride, would they have put up with this?

It is the same today. Though there are those whose main focus is on their glory rather than that of God, this doesn’t immediately characterize all who are doing something that brings them in front of others as prideful, or mean that their motives are tainted. Some of them truly possess a burning desire to share with the world the One who has changed their lives, and have been gifted in a way that enables them to do so with many people at once, through doing something that they love and are good at.

Those within the Church are different parts of the same body, each of whom are individually designed and gifted by their Heavenly Father. Some people’s talents happen to lend themselves to doing things that are more visible, and some people’s talents lend themselves more to the behind the scenes work. Both are equally important – neither better than the other, just different. It’s just like a puzzle that gets messed up if you try to shove the pieces into places they don’t fit. For the body of Christ to function as it’s supposed to, each part needs to be allowed to do what it has been called to do.

The answer, therefore, to the fear of individuals striving to bring glory to themselves isn’t to try and force them into places that they weren’t created to occupy, merely to keep them from getting a big ego. The best way to keep people, whatever their talents and abilities, from being consumed with themselves, is for them to become consumed with the One who is greater than them. Share Jesus and His finished work at the cross, and people will become so overwhelmed by the One who loved them so, that self won’t even enter the picture. They will be humbled not by being told to remain humble, but by the realization of who He is. Propagate the truths of the gospel, and as others catch a glimpse of their wonder, those truths will become what they, whatever their position, propagate as well!

You Have Been Gifted by God

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In Woodlawn, sports chaplain Hank sees potential in black running back, Tony Nathan. He tells Tony that he has a gift, and he needs to decide what he’s going to do with it. He says that if Tony plays for himself, he could be great, but that if he chooses to play for something higher, that’s when the extraordinary happens. He further states that God has a plan for everyone, and though he doesn’t know what God’s plan is for Tony, he thinks it is for him to be a star. Tony is skeptical, stating that there’s no such thing as a black superstar – at least not in Alabama. However, Coach Gerelds begins to notice him, and puts him in instead of the white player that had been filling his position. Tony Nathan excelled in his new position as running back, and ended up in fact becoming the star of the team!

Tony Nathan had been gifted by God as a running back. As he used the gift he had been given, he gave people hope, and brought glory to God. God has given each of us gifts and abilities, as well. Because each of us are unique, our talents and abilities are also unique. You might not be as gifted as someone you know in a certain area, but you are probably gifted in an area that they’re not. God wants us to use our talents for Him. As we do so, God will use us to bring Him glory, and share His love and grace with those around us!

As Tony began to use his ability as a running back and gain recognition for it, he encountered opposition from a variety of sources. White people didn’t like it that a black player had replaced a white player, and was the one who was in the limelight. Some black people didn’t like it that he was spending so much time with white people. As a matter of fact, someone threw a rock through a window of the house he lived in, with a note attached telling him to quit football, as well as burning a jersey with his number on it. Through it all, he persevered. He didn’t let opposition prevent him from following the path God had for him.

Just like Tony Nathan, sometimes when you’re using your talents and doing what God has called you to do, you’ll encounter opposition. There will be people who will say you’re too young, too old, not good enough, come from the wrong background, or pose some other objection. You might face a few speed bumps along the way. If this happens, just remember that God is on your side, and He’s got your back. Don’t let opposition keep you from doing what He’s called you to do!

God has a plan for your life. He’s gifted you in incredible ways. Use those talents for Him. Don’t let opposition stop you from following that path that He has for you!

God’s Unmerited Favor

God's Unmerited FavorOld Covenant, and New Covenant. The law, and God’s unmerited favor. The two are vastly different and very distinct, yet so often we have a tendency to try to mix them together.

Sometimes we, while acknowledging Christ as our Savior, still have this feeling that we must act a certain way to merit God’s fellowship. When we fail, we get the sense that God is angry with us. We know that Jesus died for our sins, yet we still feel like there is something we must do to continue on in unbroken relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Where do these thoughts and feelings come from? They are the result of trying to mix elements of the old covenant of the law with elements of the new covenant of God’s grace. Though we understand that Jesus came to save us (John 3:17), we sometimes feel that we must do something to try to merit our salvation, and God’s blessings in our lives. We get caught up in the mentality of system of the Old Testament, in which mankind was rewarded for obedience, and punished for wrong-doing. That was how man related to God under the old covenant. In the new covenant, however, because of what Jesus has done, the blessing of redemption and relationship with God – as well as all of the other blessings promised in His Word – are free gifts of grace, which we need only receive.

God loved us so much, that He gave His only Son for us (John 3:16). We have been justified by Jesus’ blood, and saved from God’s wrath through Him (Romans 5:9). Romans 8:32 (NASB) declares that “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” If God gave Jesus for us, how will be not also give us all the other good things His Word promises? Our righteousness is apart from the law (Romans 3:21). Because we have been made right in God’s eyes, we are now qualified to receive all of His blessings, including on-going, undisrupted relationship with Him.

Rather than trying to mix together parts of the old and new covenants – bits and pieces of law and grace – let’s receive the good news of the gospel in its entirety. Instead of relying on our own good works, let’s depend solely on Christ’s finished work at the cross. Let’s accept God’s blessings as free gifts from a loving Heavenly Father, rather than rewards of merit for good behavior. Let’s abandon the mixture, and receive God’s unmerited favor on our lives today!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

The Daily Thankfulness Challenge

The Daily Thankfulness Challenge“For You, O Lord, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.” Psalm 92:4, NASB

Today is November 1 – the first day of the month in which Thanksgiving falls. It’s the time of year associated with being grateful and counting our blessings. Most of all, this season of gratitude is good reminder to take the time to stop and thank God for all that He does for us.

He is our loving Heavenly Father, who provides many good gifts for us to enjoy, such as health (Isaiah 53:5), prosperity (John 10:10), peace (John 14:27), joy (Isaiah 51:11), and long life (Psalm 91:6). Greatest of all, He’s given us the gift of the forgiveness of all our sins (Psalm 103:2), and a relationship with Him. If we stop and look, we can see His provision in each of our lives on a daily basis – both in bigger, more dramatic ways, as well as smaller ones we tend to overlook. Let’s begin to find those ways in which He works in our lives, and give thanks to Him on a daily basis.

I challenge you to start doing so today. Each day between now and Thanksgiving Day (November 28), think of one thing for which you are thankful, and make it a point to thank God for it. To interact with others who are doing the same thing, join Called and Created’s Facebook event entitled The Daily Thankfulness Challenge at http://www.facebook.com/events/444777925630744/. (While you’re there, feel free to like Called and Created’s Facebook Page to receive further site updates.)

Let’s see how many things we can thank God for in the next few weeks!

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”