Jesus Christ is much more than merely the channel of his Father’s word—He is the embodiment of God’s Word itself. Jesus is the cradle and splendor of all beauty, but He is more—He is beauty itself. He is the fount of all truth, yet He is more—He is truth itself. He is the source of all wisdom, but still He is more—He is wisdom itself. Colossians 2:3 says “in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Jesus our Lord is the giver of all grace. From Him all life springs forth and has meaning, but still He is more—He proclaims, “I AM the life!” He is the fountain of love, but again, He is far more than that—He is love! “In Him!” Without even a hint of apology the Apostle Paul insists that “Christ is all, and in all.” Col. 3:11. (Inspired by A.W. Tozer)
In the grand scheme of things there are relatively few who will make the decision to receive Jesus as Lord of their life, and then faithfully follow Him throughout the course of their lifetime. Given the reality of our human drives and desires, it takes guts to lay down your life. This is because we instinctively know what total commitment to God costs. Can you see why God is pleased with those who decide to take that leap of faith, and at the same time saddened and indignant with those who try to hedge their bets?
The Bible is very clear that only those who turn from their sinful ways and invite Christ to be Lord of their lives will ever be allowed to share in all He has prepared for us. In His mercy God helps us to receive Him as Lord. It’s His gift to us, made possible only by His boundless grace.
It’s a bit presumptuous to think that we could be transformed into the image of Christ merely by our own efforts. None of us believe this, of course, but we sure act like it! Under the guise of gathering knowledge and seeking wisdom, we are convinced that we can grow into what God intended. Not so! While attaining wisdom and knowledge is crucial to our growth, it’s not the key element.
The Apostle Paul prays that we will be “…strengthened with power through the Spirit in the inner man.” True transformation lies with God alone. Our chief responsibility is to open ourselves up to His shaping hand, while screening the windows of our heart to keep out the flies. Sounds easy enough, but in reality the cutting away of our self-life can be very painful. It’s the finished product we’re after—the life of God within. Try laying yourself open to Jesus each day. You won’t be sorry.
God understands the weakness of our humanity, and is immeasurably patient with those who attempt to seek Him. The love of God is far deeper than anything we can possibly imagine. Yet there remains an eternal purpose to that love. With God there is a line drawn in the sand, so to speak. You’ll find just where that line is when you are truly honest with Him.
He knows what is going on in your heart, even when you don’t understand it yourself, and will uncover your underlying motives if you sincerely pursue Him. Through His agonizing death on the cross, Jesus paid the price of forgiveness for each and every one of us. And He is willing to receive us just as we are. It merely takes is a first step toward Him. If that step is taken in the genuineness of your heart, Jesus will always be there to meet you.
Jesus shared a parable about a wedding feast. A week is required for such a celebration, which is a long time to take out of a person’s busy life. And it’s all the more challenging if he or she doesn’t understand how special the occasion will actually be. It’s the same way in taking that first step toward God. Maybe we don’t have the full picture. But God promises that His event is one not to be missed, and He’s immensely gratified when we jump at His offer.
We need to be careful, though. There’s no “Maybe” on God’s RSVP card. He takes no pleasure in a person who submits his life to Him begrudgingly. With Jesus we’re either all in or all out; there is no middle ground. Saying yes to Christ means receiving Him not only as Savior, but also as Lord of our life. For many of us, it’s the toughest decision any of us will ever make.
The Bible says we enter into a covenant with God when we accept His offer of eternal life. A covenant always contains responsibilities to be performed by each of the parties. So we often think of our surrender to God’s will as some sort of deal. God and me—our covenant together. But that’s not at all how the Bible portrays it. God always proclaims it to be “My covenant.” He has put us here for a purpose. God planned this party and we’ve been invited to join in the celebration.
Yet we need to appreciate that those who either respond negatively, or who ignore God’s invitation altogether, are actually making a rational choice. Free will demands that we be given such an option, and people will decide in their own self-interest—even as empty as that self-centeredness always turns out to be. God accepts that. He’s simply separating out His chosen ones.
In Jesus’ parable about the Wedding Feast, the host found a man not dressed in formal wedding attire. Given the importance of the event, he flaunted disrespect through this breach of etiquette. In choosing to spurn what was proper, his act of rebellion insulted the groom’s family. And it’s interesting that the host didn’t give him the chance to run home and change. No, he knew the rules, or at least should have. Yet he defiantly chose to push the limits of the host’s graciousness by doing just as he pleased. He deserved to be thrown out.
There’s only one way to heaven. We are welcomed by God because He has clothed us in His own righteousness through Christ’s redeeming sacrifice. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Faith is the key to our relationship with Him. It’s all about believing what Jesus said about Himself, and then acting on it.
The desire for recognition is a central to our nature. The alienation that results from a lack of acknowledgement causes deep emotional hardship. God understands this about us, and He has done something about it. But He goes further than mere recognition. God honors us—He esteems His children.
Jesus made this apparent in His parable about the Wedding Feast: the guests were being honored simply by being invited. Yet nothing would have come of it without their reply: “Yes, I would love to be there!” Can you see why God would be pleased by such a response? At the same time, we can appreciate how grieved He is over those who wouldn’t bother to take the time to attend, or worse yet those who neglected to reply at all. The Bible puts it this way in First Samuel 2:30: “Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed.”
From: The Path through the Maze—Answering Life’s Ultimate Question: What Happens After We Die?
“Professing to be wise, they became fools,” says Paul in Romans 1:22. As the ungodly chase meaning in their lives, the futility of their pursuits is pretty obvious to the Christian. But what about those in the church who attempt to supplement biblical truth with human philosophy? This is where things get a bit fuzzy. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” Proverbs 1:7 proclaims.
So when we as believers seek truth from worldly sources, all the while failing to really understand what the Bible has to say about life, trouble is brewing. In so doing, many have been led astray. A solid understanding of God’s purpose, found only in the Bible, must always come first. Only then can we discern genuine truth. Jesus didn’t pull any punches: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.“ He also declared, “you will know truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 14:6, 8:32.
The principle of honoring God is laced throughout the entire Bible. God’s creation exists for the sole purpose of glorifying its Creator. God demands that He be honored, not for some selfish desire but simply because He is God. Put yourself in His shoes. Wouldn’t you want to be recognized for who you really are if you not only had the power to speak the universe into existence, but were also so loving and benevolent that your one desire was to share a part of yourself with us?
Clearly God has created us for Himself. Jesus came to reunite us with Himself, giving us the ability to understand and know Him, with the intention of allowing us to ultimately share eternal life in Him. So let’s, “… walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God,” as Paul so insightfully prays in Colossians 1:10.