Rules, Principles, or Character

 

 

“…by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness…” 2 Peter 1:4-6 ESV

 

character 2

After you acknowledge Jesus is Lord, what comes next?

The Bible outlines our journey into three phases: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Justification is about Christ’s gift to humanity restoring our relationship with God. Glorification is packaged in the resurrection when our physical body is merged into a glorious state like our Lord’s. Sanctification is the time in between where we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ in preparation for eternity while tasting Kingdom reality now.

Sanctification is the now time. Most disciples of his start this journey first focusing on “the rules found in the Bible.” The problem though soon hits them that life is not black and white. External, fixed rules are like the ABCs of grammar. You need to know them before you can really start communicating with others. But they don’t take you very far.

Then after becoming frustrated with rules, you realize you need greater flexibility. Therefore, you begin to exert more emphasis on living with principles. However, over time you learn that principles are like words. Words better express what you want communicated than just knowing the ABCs. Yet words unless formed into meaningful sentences, only expressed a tiny portion of what you want known. There has to be something better.

Enter character development. When you take sentences and make paragraphs, paragraphs into chapters, and chapters into books, you have developed from the basic ABCs into creating work of art. You add you personality and experiences into the equation and share something you consider of value with others. The same goes with godly character.

When you allow God’s Spirit to enter you and lead you, you begin to set aside the rules and principles for a transformed life of virtue. Virtue is holiness in action. It doesn’t come overnight. It requires walking with our heavenly Triune God in all matters of life. It is the Spirit writing his love into our hearts. He leads us to express mercy and justice from God’s point of reference. It is more than head knowledge. It is eternal wisdom and understanding with godly attributes placed into action. The result is a life that flourishes for all.

So the next time to think life is black and white with rules and principles, think again. Instead, ask the Triune God what would He have you do at a moment like this? You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Let Love Lead in the Marketplace

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.”   2 Corinthians 12:10 ESV

 

love lead

For many years, I thought sin was my problem. Then one day a revelation occurred. Sin is not the problem; a lack of love is.  Yes, I realized that sin needs to be eliminated, but when our focus is on dealing with our weaknesses, our strengths become buried. In Christ, my sins are totally covered in grace. What I lack is the consistent hunger to allow love entrance into my heart and have its way with me toward others. When I am weak (the result of my sins or the sins of others impacting me) is when Christ becomes more alive in me.

When I look around the world and note the conflicts that are happening, where is the love? I see the sin, but where is the love? When I look at businesses and notice the conflict between employee and employer, where is the love from both sides? When marriages of thirty and forty years fall apart, what happen to the love?

It is easier to cover up the sins in one life than always express one’s attitude and action in love.  I think if we as a people invested more time praying and seeking ways to better love our neighbors, family, and associates each day, we would probably spend less time sinning and more time strengthening the important relationships in our life.

Yes that includes the marketplace which cries out each day for love and compassion.  Even though today’s regulations don’t allow hugs and other physical responses that shows others we care and appreciate them, there are many other ways to lead with love.  I’m sure if you set your heart in making it happen, the Holy Spirit will open the doors to make it possible. Also, if you are hungry to share God’s love with others in a business context, you are going to need his help. Strange that no matter how successful we become, we realize how poor of spirit we truly are and how much of God’s love we need simply to survive.

Yes, it may be radical to lead with love, but it is also the Kingdom way. It works.

 

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Rest in Christ

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 ESV

rest 2

Martin Luther, the initiator of the Protestant reformation movement, was a monk in the Catholic Church struggling to find God before his eyes were open to understand grace through faith in Christ. Like many of his contemporaries, he would pray, fast, and subdue his body seeking answers and direction from God. Yet each practice, discipline, and works that forced him toward God only led him to become more despondent. Then God in His almighty mercy and grace revealed to him the truth. When that moment occurred, Martin Luther discovered real peace for his soul like the Scriptures promises for those who find rest in Christ.

In Christ time, the religious leaders practiced 613 rules in their interpretation of Scripture for everyday living. These rules became the order of importance and the way each person would measure their righteousness before God and man. Many of these rules became a duty and burden for the people. Instead of experiencing the freedom that God intended the people to have, the people felt pressured to perform or be ostracized from their community. Jesus frowned upon this and gave the people an alternative way to live life. Thereby Jesus, per the above quote from Matthew’s gospel, lifts the burden from the people’s shoulder’s and gives them the rest that God originally intended mankind to have before Adam’s rebellion.

Instead of focusing on DOING a long list of things, Jesus stressed having a relationship with him. The rest comes from following Christ; in BEING in a relationship with Him. When we truly realize what Jesus has done for us, that He is our Substitute, He is our Savior, and He is our King, then and only then, will we begin to experience the joy of His Spirit living in us and the freedom He shares with all His subjects.

Jesus does not put burdens on people; people put burdens on each other. Jesus provides uplifting, refreshing joy. His ways allow people to fulfill their design in Him. He wants people to experience the same joy He does. When we connect with Him, follow Him, serve Him, and rejoice with Him, then we experience the abiding relationship of being one with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. And where God is, there is abundant rest. Isn’t that what we mean to be radical in Christ?

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.