Walk With God: Unashamed

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” [Romans 1:16a]

Demonstrating our love for God always seems so much easier on a Sunday when we are surrounded by a bunch of like-minded people, worshipping and praising Him. No guilt or embarrassment when we are being a Christian in Church.

Today has been Monday. Back to work. For us all the kids are back to Uni, College & School too. The pressure of the working week gains traction and for some us we are back to sitting next to ‘those’ people. Let’s not be too harsh, most are okay.  But then there are the gossipers, the moaners, the difficult, the rude, the overly-friendly and whatever other title we may give them.

Yet this is the call of every Christian. To live the resurrected life not just on a Sunday but every day. Therein lies the challenge because not everyone loves God the way we do. Some just think it’s a bit odd. Others are vehemently set against it.

To live unashamed is to live without guilt or embarrassment. It is live with a willingness to be honest and open about the very fact Jesus is placed at the very centre of our existence, the reason we behave in a certain fashion and make decisions in the way we do.

In living this way we represent our Saviour well. Not perfect but showing off the growing of our Christ-like characteristics. Making a difference wherever we are, in every sphere of life. Praying for them every day too. And we do so that others may begin to trust us, call on us, to seek opportunity for us to serve them and then, when the timing is right to be able to share our stories.

This is the resurrected life. The complete life in Christ. It is the life Paul knew so well as someone who had been forgiven much and was willing to give his every breath for. The great exchange of the cross of Jesus Christ had set him free from his past. The shame placed on Jesus removed the shame we have placed on ourselves. An old life exchanged for a new one.

This week, take some time to thank God for all He has done for you, how he was unashamed and because of this our own shame has been removed. Pray and ask for His help to live your own life unashamed of this good news and see what a difference it can make.

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Jesus was Salt & Light

untitled-001-001Last week I wrote about Jesus moving in, being one of a kind, being generous and how he led with grace while never compromising truth.

Matthew 5:13-16 are some of the most famous verses in scripture. The words of Jesus, part of his ‘Sermon on the Mount’

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 14″Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 16 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

As a preacher I have included these two attributes many times for all Christians in the room to be ready, willing and able to do.

Be salt. Have flavour. Give life some flavour. Bring out the flavour. Be a great preservative. And all other salt-centred type analogies.

Be light. Shine out for Jesus. Be seen. Don’t hide. Be a light that leads. Be a light for safety. The list of light uses is possibly endless. I think you get the feel of what I am going for here.

Be salt & light. Easy to say. Harder possibly to actually do. What does it really mean anyway?

Jesus spoke these words so maybe the best person to look at for answers when it comes to being salt and light then is probably Jesus. He never asked us to do anything which He wasn’t already doing or going to do.

To be salt and light is to live like Jesus. It is to be Kingdom people. It is to preach the word. To bring a message with a different flavour that is distinct from all the others the world throws out every day. It is to reflect the love of Jesus and thereby bring glory to God through good deeds, acts of kindness and a counter-culture, Kingdom-based way of life.

Jesus is the ‘true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world’. It was a light that needed to shine then through Jesus and now through us as His followers  as ‘people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil’.

Jesus is our role model, our example. For a Christian there is nothing more obvious than to say that. Yet so many Christians are not being salt and light. They are not standing out and being in distinct, at least not in the way Jesus was calling us to. They maybe shining but not necessarily bringing out the best of shines for the one they say they follow.

Let’s choose to begin to be the kind of salt and light Jesus is instructing us to be. Why not begin this Christmas. Don’t compromise on the central message of Jesus this Christmas. While others dismiss or ignore it, we should speak about it. In doing so we will be distinct and stand out for the One we love, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

Leaders Serve

Leadership isn’t about power or control or hierarchy, but is it about serving.

Whenever I take the lead, whenever I place myself in that position of authority, the key isn’t what I get to do, how important I can become or feel. Instead it’s about how willing I am to serve those around me. Leaders serve others.

Am I willing to help someone?

Am I willing to care for someone?

Am i willing to bend the knee for someone?

Jesus is my ultimate role model. All the power in His hands. All the authority in His hands. All the title in His hands. Yet, He stooped down, picked up a towel and washed His disciples feet.

We might respond and say ‘well that was Jesus, he was making a point, I couldn’t do that.’ We might justify our position, speak of rights and remind about title. If we do then I think we miss the point. I have all of these but they really count for nothing if I am not willing to lay them to one side, to humble myself, to ignore the inconvenience of it all, and serve.

God gives grace to the humble. He resists the proud.

To measure my leadership by a different yardstick isn’t always comfortable but that doesn’t make it any less important. As I lead, Lord, help me to serve.

Who Would Copy You?

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things [Philippians 4:9 ESV]

We often look for people to learn from, someone to be a mentor, a role model who lives out the kind of life we may aspire to. I want and look for these people in my life. 

Here’s the challenge. As much as I want that for myself, who would want that of me? Could I confidently say to someone, like the Apostle Paul, that they should practice the way I live?

That requires looking at my life and asking some honest questions as to whether they would learn, receive, hear and see things worth practicing. And that might be a little uncomfortable. 

Yet this is the call of God. To lay down my own life and carry the one He has for me. To surrender to Jesus, to sacrifice for Jesus and to serve Jesus. In doing this then maybe my life becomes one worth imitating, one where others can copy what they hear and see, learn and receive.

This is my prayer today. Jesus help me become the kind of person that represents You well. That others would see things in me that demonstrate the life of Christ. Amen