The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace…” Ephesians 6:14-15

What are the shoes of the gospel of peace?

Roman armor footware consisted of heavy-soled, sandal-like shoes. Ironically, they looked similar to what girls wear now for fashion, gladiator sandals, but they were obviously sturdier, and had closed toes. Soldiers wore these specific shoes for support, protection, and health of the feet. They were used as the foundation of the rest of the armor, giving the soldier “firm footing” (source 1 for armor + source 2 for armor).

The English Standard version of this passage says, “and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” What we’re really putting on is readiness and preparation for battle which are given to us by our shoes, the gospel of peace. 1 Peter 3:15 says:

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”

What gives us this readiness is the good news of Christ — the gospel. The good news is that Christ came! He came and sacrificed Himself on the cross for you and me and our brothers, sisters, friends, acquaintances, enemies, and anyone else who is (or isn’t!) in our lives because we were all sinners. He then rose from the dead after three days of being in the tomb. He lived, died, and rose so that all people would have the opportunity to be saved. There is a Kingdom of God in heaven that’s coming for all those who heed this news and are saved. That is the gospel of peace, and praise God for it! (see the whole New Testament and this page).

Shoes help our feet stay safe when we’re walking, running, or in this case, fighting in a war. These gospel shoes are going to support and protect us (save us) from being lost in battle. They’re the foundation for every other part of armor we wear.

Why do we need them?

 1 | They protect us

If we wear the spiritual shoes, we’ll be protected from losing our souls among the violence of the spiritual war. They’ll give us “firm footing” so that we can stand against the devil and his adversaries without wavering. Having and living out the gospel keeps our minds focused on the goal and watch for imminent danger.

2 Corinthians 4:9-10

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

 2 | They keep us healthy

Roman soldiers’ shoes were designed in a way that would prevent blisters and other foot ailments that inevitably hindered the soldiers while they fought. The gospel is a foundation that can’t be moved or harmed. With the gospel as our foundation, we can avoid a weak, crumbling foundation; not only will the gospel not hinder our fighting, it also won’t let our fighting be hindered through spiritual blisters or diseases if we focus on it.

1 Corinthians 3:11-13

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”

Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

3 | They save us

Just as in the story of the Philippian jailer and his family in Acts 16:25-31, the gospel also gives us the knowledge that we have a way to come to repentance and be in the presence of God when our time on earth is over. With the knowledge of the good news, we can take the necessary steps toward salvation and a life in Christ — because if we didn’t first know of Christ and His sacrifice, we wouldn’t know that or why we need saving. Once we have salvation, we can truly know Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”

How do we use them?

First of all, we need to be proactive when we learn the gospel, before we even put on the shoes. That means believing it, understanding it, being baptized for the remission of sins, salvation, and working toward being a faithful servant of God & follower of Christ. If we don’t do this first, we will in no way be prepared with the gospel — because we don’t have the gospel in our hearts! (If you haven’t heard of some of these things or want to know more about it, or even if you disagree, that’s why I’m here! I’d love for you to ask me about it.) 

Once we do these things, we can push forward into the battlefield with our shoes on.

1 | Have an ever-present consciousness of the gospel

We need to be constantly thinking about what Christ did for us and living for that. After all, our souls depend on it even though we didn’t deserve it. So, as we’re following Christ, we must always remember that we don’t save ourselves. Christ does. This is what will keep our foundations firm and protect us from Satan’s lies.

2 | Spread it to others

If we have this firm foundation, surely we want other people to have it too. We need to be telling our fellow humans about this good news! This comes from a heart of love. If we love both Christ and others we won’t hide our new shoes. 😉  We’ll wear them and show them off, and we’ll want other people to have something that keeps us this safe and healthy. Because we know that God and Christ love us that much, we should follow their example and love others the same.

Mark 10:45

“The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Romans 5:8

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

3 | Live like Christ

Jesus Christ was and is the perfect example of a godly life — the gospel is truly all about Him! As always, the best way we can both live out the gospel, spread it to others, and live faithfully is to live as Jesus would live. This comes from having a conciousness of the gospel; if we’re always concentrated on the gospel, we’ll live more like Christ every day. It’s what Christians are called to do, and what will magnify our walk with Him.


This is part three of my 6-part Armor of God series. I’ll post one installment each week, with the Sword of the Spirit and Prayer combined (it should wrap up around Thanksgiving).

Related: Preface: Armor of God + Resisting the Devil ; (related posts here and here) // The Belt of Truth // It’s Not About Us // The Breastplate of Righteousness

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Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.🙂

The Breastplate of Righteousness

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,” (Ephesians 6:14)

What is the breastplate of righteousness?

According to Merriam-Webster, a breastplate is a piece of metal that covers a person’s chest and was part of the protective clothing that soldiers wore in the past. Although it’s only called a breastplate, implying protection of the chest area, was more like a torso covering. It would have been large, covering both the front and back of the torso so that the soldier would be protected from attacks on either side. The breastplate would have been very important because the heart is located inside the chest. If the enemy were to successfully aim for your heart, you probably would have died immediately.

It translates well spiritually; if the enemy (Satan) is going to attack us, one of the first parts he’s going to aim for is the figurative heart because that’s where our loyalties come from. One of the ways we can guard our hearts is by wearing the breastplate of righteousness.

 Luke 6:45

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

If you’re righteous, according to secular definitions, you are “acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin; morally right or justifiable” (source). These defintions align well with the Biblical definition. God is righteous. In both the Old and New Testaments, God is revered as righteous. Because He’s righteous, He should be our ultimate source of defining the word. God is holy, pure, just, completely free of sin, faithful, loving, and longsuffering, among other things. Because all of these things describe God, they also describe righteousness. Each Of God’s characteristics leads to being in accord with moral law, free from guilt or sin, and morally right or justifiable.

So, if we wear a figurative breastplate of righteousness into battle, we’re wearing a torso-protecting piece of armor made of everything that aligns with God’s moral law or truth. (See my post, The Belt of Truth.) This means that we, ourselves, will be aligned with the truth, full of righteousness. It will protect us from everything that’s opposed to God’s Word, even though we’re targets.

Why do we need it?

Psalm 18:20

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands
He has recompensed me.

God rewards the righteous. This is apparent in every Bible story of a righteous person. If you read Hebrews 11, you’ll find what many people like to call the Hall of Faith. Throughout Hebrews 11, verses begin with “By faith Noah…” or “By faith Abraham…” Each person listed in the Hall of Faith was rewarded because of their faith in God. This faith they had inevitably led to righteousness.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Diligently seeking God is involved in being righteous — being free from guilt and sin, morally right and justifiable. Because we can’t be any of these things without seeking God. Some of these people received longer lives, prosperity, and children, and all of them will receive the “heavenly country” (11:13-16). We can look forward to this if we also dwell in righteousness. We may not be blessed with all of the earthly things we desire now, but the point of living in righteousness is 1) to glorify God, and 2) to live forever with Him in heaven. That will be the ultimate reward.

As I mentioned earlier, Satan will try to attack our hearts because that’s where our loyalties come from. Everything we say and do comes from our hearts — that means that what we set our minds on, we’ll inevitably do. We choose in our hearts who we will love and serve, and if we don’t have the protective shell of righteousness surrounding our hearts, we’re going to be in huge, spiritual trouble.

How do we use it?

1 | Devote ourselves to God

The idea of devotion is to be fully committed to a person or thing. Your loyalty will not waver toward what’s unnecessary when you’re devoted to someone or something, you tend to adhere to their values. When Christians are baptized into Christ, they put away former ungodly and unrighteous conduct, and put on the “new man,” which was even created in righteousness (Ephesians 4). We repent — we make a dedicated change and fully devote ourselves to God. This means constantly praying, reading His word, and acting on it. If we truly love God, we’ll be devoted to Him and only Him.

Luke 10:27

So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’

2 | Pay attention to what’s right and wrong

“Without God, there’s no virtue because there’s no prompting of the conscience.” -Ronald Reagan

In order to be righteous, we have to know what’s right and wrong according to God. And to do that, we have to read His word every day. We have to fully rely on His inspired word to give us the standard for how we act and think because without Him, we think we can do what we want, when we want, and how we want it! God has given us everything we need to know in order to be faithful servants of His.

It seems the world’s standards of right and wrong are found on an individual basis, give or take major issues. But God’s standards always remain the same, and God’s way is perfect, so we have to pay attention to what He says.

3 | Strive to be like Christ

In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Paul was constantly looking to Jesus’ example because he knew that was the only way to be truly righteous.

Jesus is the ultimate example of moral character. I say this in so many of my posts because it’s really what should define a Christian. A Christian is someone who follows Christ and is completely devoted to Him in word and in deed. When we follow someone in this sense we tend to adhere to that person’s way of life; it’s just part of worshiping, idolizing, and revering someone. And if righteousness is going to flow from this type of following, then we’re going to have to choose to follow Christ and only Christ, in turn being like Him.

4 | Keep our guard up

If you were on the battlefield, would you even think about taking off your breastplate? Absolutely not. Because the minute you take that off is the minute you’re fatally hit. Well, God’s war is going on 24/7. Satan is always watching, and he’s always ready to attack. Friends, we can’t afford to spiritually relax. We can’t afford to say, “Today, I’m going to take a break from all this fighting and thinking and praying.” We just can’t. Because the minute we take let our guard down is the minute Satan has us; that’s when he starts to win over our souls.

Proverbs 4:23

Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.

 

*Note: None of these things are meant to be harsh, but I want them to encourage us (myself included) to remember that not only is Satan always attacking, but also that God is more powerful.

And with Him we can conquer.

Matthew 19:26

“But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'”


This is part two of my 6-part Armor of God series. I’ll post one installment each week, with the Sword of the Spirit and Prayer combined (it should wrap up around Thanksgiving).

Related: Preface: Armor of God + Resisting the Devil ; (related posts here and here) // The Belt of Truth // It’s Not About Us

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Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.🙂

The Belt of Truth

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth,” (Ephesians 6:14a)

What is the Belt of Truth?

The word girded comes from the word gird, meaning “to encircle or bind with a flexible band (as a belt);  to make fast (as a sword by a belt or clothing with a cord)” (source). It’s related to the word girdle, that many people are familiar with now, from the definition that says, “anything that encircles, confines, or limits” (source). Often, when the word gird is used in the Bible, it’s used as a call to action. So, what this verse means is, essentially, to prepare yourself for action against the devil with the belt of truth.

Keep in mind that the physical armor we’re discussing here is comparable to Roman armor, with many separate, heavy parts a soldier would put on. The girdle, or belt, would be a band around the soldier’s waist that held the sword and tightened around the other pieces of armor to keep them steady (source). In Ephesians 6, this belt is an analogy for truth.

Truth refers to absolute truth, and absolute truth only comes from God. Cruden’s Complete Concordance says:

“What is opposed to a falsehood, lie, or deceit, Pr. 12:17. Fidelity, sincerity, and punctuality in keeping promises. Generally to truth, taken in this sense, if referred to God, is joined mercy or kindness as in Genesis 24:17. Truth is put for the true doctrine of the gospel, Gal. 3:1. Truth is opposed to hypocrisy, dissimulation or formality, Heb. 10:22.”

We know that God is a God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4) and Jesus calls Himself “the truth” in John 14:6. The belt of truth holds the sword of the Spirit; God’s word is the sword of the Spirit (this will come up again in a later post). Because the word of God contains and is truth, it only makes sense for the belt and the sword to be so closely tied, for the belt to actually hold the sword. Just like a Roman soldier can’t wear the belt and expect to fight without the sword and carry the sword with nowhere to put it, the Biblical soldier can’t wear truth without also carrying the word of God. So, it makes sense that we would need all of our armor to be held firm by truth. Without God we wouldn’t have a solid standard of truth to rely on.

Why do we need it?

God’s truth provides us with a standard to keep ourselves aligned with Him; we can find everything we need to know about walking the narrow Way in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). Truth is needed to combat the lies of the world which come from Satan himself. As I mentioned in the preface to this series, the devil walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Any lies the world tells us are planted by him; Satan is the influence of evil and he will stop at nothing to make sure he succeeds.  He may use a relationship, social or entertainment activity, or temptation we have (probably all of the above!) to pinpoint our weaknesses and attack us where we think we’re strong. He will be successful if we don’t know and gird ourselves with the truth.

Because Satan spreads lies, what we believe as truth isn’t going to be accepted by most of the world. We need the truth in order to be sanctified, or set apart, from the world, just as we’re called to be (John 17:19; Romans 12:2). If we didn’t have the truth within us, we wouldn’t know how to be set apart from the world in a way that would be pleasing to God — we probably wouldn’t even know that we’re supposed to be different in the first place.

John 8:32 says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This freedom John writes about is freedom in Christ, outside of the devil, a freedom that we have because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The only way we can truly be free from the clutches of Satan is by adorning ourselves with God’s truth — the only absolute truth.

The truth can preserve us. Psalm 40:11 says, “Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.” A synonym for preserve is protect, which is why truth is included in our protective armor.

How do we use it?

What we need to do to fight is to wear this belt at all times, because now we understand that knowing God’s truth is powerful. We have to be constantly alert to any untruths and act on that. Because Jesus is the truth we know that if we have Him on our side, we’ll be able to fight the devil’s lies with success and win our battles over evil. We can do a few things to stay in action.

1 | Think on good things

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

“These things” that Paul refers to here are all the good things from God — all good things that come from His truth.

Because we know the truth and what these good things are, we can resist the devil with our minds. I don’t mean with telepathy or anything like that; we can fill our minds with the truth so much that it’s easier for us to resist temptation. Now, because the devil is so persistent and because we’re human, those temptations are always going to be there. But we will be more successful in resisting them when we’re able to remember God’s truth in the midst of being tempted. Our consciences will be pricked, and we’ll be able to win more battles against temptation.

2 | Use the truth as a basis for fleeing or correction

If we have the truth, we’ll be able to use it when others try to cause us to stumble. This may mean fleeing, like Joseph did, or it may mean correction. If Satan decides to use a human relationship against our souls, we can both remember God’s truth in that moment and explain to the other person exactly why we won’t participate in his or her sin, whatever that may be. If he uses entertainment, we can think on God’s truth and decide whether we’re going to participate based on whether that activity would glorify God.

3 | Pray for a deeper understanding of truth

We can pray to understand the truth more thoroughly and that God will help us use it to combat Satan and sin. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing; this is one of the biggest and most important things we can ever pray for. Our souls, and others’ souls are at stake in this war, and, like I mentioned in the preface, God wants us to know that we aren’t alone if we’ll only look to Him. So prayer for focus on the truth is entirely necessary if we want to move forward. As a side note, David even prays in Psalm 40 for the truth itself to protect him (“preserve”) him (mentioned above). He recognized that he needed the truth if he wanted to be free from the burden of iniquity.

4 | Spread the truth to everyone

Psalm 96:3

“Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.”

Another significant thing we can do with the truth is simpy to spread it! We need to teach it to others so that more and more soldiers will enter the ranks and enter the gates of heaven. We can share it with our friends, our co-workers, our families, and our children both through example and the spoken/written word. The more we do this the more we glorify God and defeat Satan.


This is part one of my 6-part Armor of God series. I’ll post one installment each week, with the sword of the Spirit and prayer combined (it should wrap up around Thanksgiving).

Related: Preface: Armor of God + Resisting the Devil ; (related posts here and here).

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Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.🙂

The Armor of God + Resisting the Devil

This post is the preface to my series about the full armor of God.


Resisting the devil is a constant, 24/7, never-ending spiritual fight. We have to protect ourselves against the many different strategies the devil uses because he’s constantly seeking to tear us away from God. He’ll use relationships, entertainment, social activities, and any temptation we have in our lives to rip us out of the hands of God. He seeks to keep any and all people — Christians or not — away from God and heaven, and it’s up to us to make sure we don’t let any of those things get in the way of our relationship with God.

So, we have to put on spiritual armor — something the Bible calls the armor of God, found in Ephesians 6. Each piece of armor is listed individually, some of which have a short explanation.

Ephesians 6:10-12

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the hosts of the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

One of the great things about the armor of God is that it’s of God, and all good and pefect things come from God. So we know that if we have everything listed, we’ll be able to defend ourselves from the devil. Ephesians 6:10 says that we are to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might; this is before the passage dives into the description of the armor. So, even though we need to be fully prepared to fight this war, God first makes sure we know that we won’t be alone. Of course, since this is a spiritual battle, Paul uses some figurative language, but the things the armor represents are fully legitimate.

Putting on the whole armor to be able to withstand evil is repeated in both verse 10 and verse 13, bracketing an explanation of the type of war we’re fighting. We need every piece of armor to be able to fight successfully. The full armor includes:

  • Belt: Truth
  • Breastplate: Righteousness
  • Shoes: Gospel of peace
  • Shield: Faith 
  • Helmet: Salvation
  • Sword: The Spirit (the word of God)
  • A bonus is prayer. We are to wear all of this as we pray with perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Because, remember, we aren’t alone.

Ephesians 6:14-18

“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”

 

// Usually this is a topic we hear about in kids’ classes because it’s written in a way that they understand, but since it’s so important to Christians (and it’s just part of the Bible), I’d like to do a study about it. Over the course of the next several weeks, I plan to address each piece of armor, including what they are, why they’re needed, and how to use them. It will be a 6-part series (with the sword and prayer included in one post). So, if you want to know more about this armor and how you can use it to resist the devil, look for one post each week!


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Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To the Work

This was originally posted on February 8, 2014 and has been slightly updated.


Ability + Opportunity = Responsibility

Over the past couple of years I’ve heard this phrase used several times in reference to teaching others about the gospel of Christ. While it seems simple, the message it sends is one that comes directly from God’s word. If we have an ability to help further the gospel and the opportunity to share it, we have the responsibility to do whatever we can with it to bring others to Christ.First, we need to figure out what abilities we have and use them in a way that will benefit the Kingdom. Matthew 25:14-30 contains the Parable of the Talents. In this parable, Jesus tells us about a man who entrusts his servants with talents. He gives one servant five talents, another two, and to the third he gives one talent “each according to his ability” (15). As we read on we see what each of these servants did with his talents. The servant with five talents traded to receive five more, the servant with two talents traded for two talents more, and the servant with one talent went and hid his in the ground. When their master came to them, the first two servants told him how they had traded and make more talents. To both of these servants, the master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (23-24). But when the last servant with only one talent came forward here is what happened in verses 24-30:

“Master I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours. But his master answered to him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You know that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Each servant had talents based on their abilities — what they were able to do with their talents. But what they do with their gifts is the important part. The first two servants recognized their abilities, and were willing and happy to trade and grow in their talents, but the last servant selfishly hid for himself the one talent he had. He was in no way ready to take his opportunity, so he was not allowed to go with his master.

In the same way, if Christians see an opportunity to use what talents we have been given –even if it’s just one small thing that we can use to help — we need to take that opportunity to lead other souls to Christ! If we’re not willing to share this gift that we have so graciously been given, then how can we expect to inherit the Kingdom? We cannot be selfish.

This leads me to the last part of the phrase — responsibility.

Jesus talks in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:13-16 about the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” We have the responsibility to spread the gospel to all people. In verse 13, Jesus says,

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

Salt is used for seasoning food and for keeping foods fresh. Without salt, many things are useless. Here, Christians are compared to salt; we are to season the blandness of this world with the salt of gospel, but we can’t stop there. We have to keep spreading the gospel and encouraging others because without us, the salt, the Kingdom probably won’t grow. In order to do this, we have to make sure that we remain genuinely zealous for the Lord.

Next, in this discussion, Jesus uses a visual of the light of the world. He says,

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (14-15). 

So, now we are both salt and light. We refresh and give light to the world with the gospel. If we have light, why would we hide it? Light is used so that we can see and open our eyes to what’s around us. It’s not meant to be “put under a basket” — what’s the point of hiding what we’ve been given? We are to give light to all in the house. Not one, not a few, not the people we feel like giving it to. We give the light to all.

So, while we are in our earthly home, we have the responsibility to shine our light to all people — whoever we have the opportunity to share our abilities with.

Jesus concludes the discussion about salt and light with “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (16). While we’re letting our lights shine, we have to remember we’re living our lives to glorify God (related post here). God will use our talents and our good works to further His purpose. We need to let others see the Christians we are, and tell them who God is and about the plan He has had for us since the beginning.

That being said, of course we don’t all have the same abilities, but God has given each of us something we can use for His glory. There’s no room for excuses to not spread the truth to the world — especially when that’s the very reason we’re here.

We have the ability and an abundance of opportunities, leading to a responsibility to work in God’s Kingdom. Everyone needs to hear the gospel, and withholding that from them is selfish. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worth it, because while we do our part, God will do His. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (3:6). If we have the faith in God that we should have, we will be willing to work in whatever ways we can spread the truth. Let’s work diligently so that we, and others, can receive and eternal home with our Father.

Philippians 2:14-16

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 


to-the-work-pinterest-1 Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.🙂

Small Minds Discuss People

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt 

I’ve always liked the entirety of this quote because it shows a certain level of social maturity that’s very desirable, but today I want to focus on one portion: small minds discuss people.

“Small minds” here comes from the phrase small minded. It doesn’t mean stupid or unintelligent as it seems at first glance.

Small minded (adj.): having or showing rigid opinions or a narrow outlook, petty (a Google result); having narrow interests, sympathies, or outlook; typical of a small-minded person:  marked by pettiness, narrowness, or meanness (Merriam-Webster).

When I read this quote, one of the first things I think of is gossip (sometimes called slander, scandal, and meddling) which is rampant in our society and, unfortunately, among many groups of Christians. In essence,what Roosevelt is saying is that small-minded, petty, narrow-minded, mean people are the ones to gossip. This doesn’t mean all who have gossiped could be described by each of these things because all people sin in one way or another (Romans 3:23). But, if this is usually how gossips are characerized, why would anyone want to engage in something that will make them appear petty, narrow-minded or mean (1 Thessalonians 5:22)?

Roosevelt says that small minds discuss people. Discussing people is the exact definition of gossip, and I wouldn’t want to be described as small-minded, much less be caught in such a malicious sin. Gossip is one of those topics I learned about in Bible classes persistently when I was in middle and high school; admittedly, I wondered why until I figured it out several years later. Gossip is not only mentioned by name several times in the Bible as a sin, but it’s also one of the underlying causes for things such as sowing discord among brethren (Proverbs 6:19) and is a result of anger, bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions (cliques), and envy (Galatians 5:19-21). There are more examples I could give, but the list would be pretty long. Gossip is a sin that both causes and comes from other sins; it’s serious, and it’s one of the easiest sins to fall into.

It takes many forms; it can be direct or indirect and extremely subtle. It covers magazines in the form of lies and rumors, our Twitter feeds as subtweets (a tweet about someone else without acutally tagging them — usually not very kind), Facebook in the form of “news” articles, and the news on television as “the latest scoop on celebrities.” And it comes out of our mouths when we’re talking with our friends because it’s just what you do. It’s one of the biggest problems I’ve encountered (I’ve both participated in it and watched it happen) in my short lifetime.

But friends, this sin needs to stop. It does damage to our attitudes, relationships with people, and our relationship with God. If you’ve read James 3, you know that the tongue (talking) is the hardest part of our bodies to control, so that’s why gossip comes so easily. Everyone has feelings and interests, and we’re all inquisitive by nature; we all like know things, some just for the sake of knowing. But God isn’t pleased by the way so many of us choose to speak and learn about each other, so we shouldn’t be either.

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Picture found on Pinterest from NewLife Church

The good thing is that we can be forgiven of this and turn ourselves around. We can make the necessary steps toward ridding our lives of gossip; we’ll be pleasing to God and much more pleasing to ourselves and our friends as an added bonus.

How can we combat this sin?

I’ve found that gossip is most often the result of an attitude probem or heart problem, like jealousy, anger, or bitterness, to name a few. There are several things we can do to get out of the gossip circle and set our eyes on God. We’ll see a beautiful transformation if we do any or all of these things.

1 // Pray for forgiveness and help. 1 John 5:14-15; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:13; Matthew 26:41; Psalm 102:17; Romans 12:12; Psalm 145:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 John 1:9

2 // Fill our minds with good things. Colossians 3:2; Philippians 4:8-9; Psalm 19:14; Psalm 16:8; Psalm 119:15-16; Luke 2:19; Psalm 119:11

3 // Genuinely love people. Luke 6:31, 35; Romans 12:9; 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8; Ephesians 4:2; Proverbs 17:17

4 // Remove bitterness and unprecedented anger and put on kindness. Ephesians 4:31-32; James 3:14; Hebrews 12:14-15; Colossians 3:8, 12-14; 1 Peter 2:1

“Bitterness will make you a crazy person.”

-Larry Rouse

5 // Work on bridling our tongues (controlling our speech) on all platforms. James 3; Proverbs 21:23; Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 15:1; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 17:28; Titus 3:2; Ecclesiastes 3:7; Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 31:26; Psalm 19:14

6 // Focus on purifying our hearts and minds. Matthew 12: 33-37; Psalm 19:14; Matthew 6:21; Proverbs 4:23; Romans 12:2; Psalm 51:10; Matthew 5:8; Matthew 15:10-20; Proverbs 3:5-6; 2 Timothy 2:22

The verses I’ve included show that there are biblical ways to combat this sin and purify ourselves. Pleasing God should be at the top of every list, and our speech should never be an exception, no matter how much we want to justify ourselves.

When in doubt, ask yourself if what you’re choosing to say is helpful, necessary, and kind or discouraging and hurtful, plus why you’re saying it. Any type of speech requires forethought, careful consideration, and humility.

Everyone stumbles and needs forgiveness from God and each other, so let’s choose to encourage!


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Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. For thoughts and questions, comment directly below or click the Contact Me tab (here) to send an email! Have a blessed day.🙂

 

 

How To Be Productive If You Stay At Home

Being a stay-at-home or work-at-home wife isn’t about Netflix binging or nap taking. A big challenge for stay/work-at-home wives or really anyone who does the majority of work inside her own home is how to stay productive. It can be easy to spend the majority of your time on the couch, watching TV or doing whatever it is that interests you more than actually working. People often ask me if I’m finding things to do or if I’m keeping myself busy or sometimes if I get bored. Usually, I answer yes, yes, and no. But, I don’t aim to have a schedule that’s filled every minute of every day; I don’t view that as a healthy, productive schedule.

It’s easier than you think to find thing to do within the home, and in my case, I prefer and enjoy being at home over a conventional job. I’ve written a post in the past about why I’m a stay-at-home wife (post here), how I got my dream job (here) and today I want to share how I follow through.

This is my motivation for staying productive:

Proverbs 31:27

She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

(And all of Proverbs 31.)

Colossians 3:23

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

1 // Pray

You can never pray too much. We know from the Proverbs and various New Testament verses that God isn’t pleased by laziness and idleness; we are supposed to work and completely fulfill our God-given roles in order to live and prosper. He always wants to help you if you ask according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). Pray for God to help you stay motivated, productive, and that you’ll know what you need to do throughout the day. Pray that you’ll find plenty to do and have patience to deal with the unexpected as you work through your day.

2 // Establish a Schedule

Working at home is going to require a more strict schedule because of the environment you’re in. Because you’re surrounded by couches and fluffy chairs and pillows and beds, it can be so easy to just turn on the TV and get comfortable! So I use my Simplified Planner (post on how I do that here) and I establish myself a constant daily schedule. Depending on the size of your house, these things could take a substantial amount of time: Monday-Saturday I do one big cleaning task, plus at least one load of laundry (adapted from cleanmama.net), and I’m working on establishing a blogging schedule. Sunday is reserved for worship, relaxing with my husband, and preparing myself for the next week.  A couple days a week, there’s an extra task, like grocery shopping and a ladies’ morning Bible study, and I study my Bible alone one or two times a day.

Aside from my big tasks, there’s always something I can find to do; I can take my dog for a walk, prep for tonight or tomorrow’s dinner, something can always be organized or cleaned and put back in its place.

3 // Get Some Exercise

I take a few short walks throughout the day because I have a dog, and I like to do around twenty minutes of yoga when I can. An option for someone who doesn’t walk a dog would be to start with or pause your day to do some kind of physical activity. If you feel yourself getting sleepy, wanting to quit and sit down, you could take a walk or a jog, do some stretches, or even head to the gym for a set amount of time, then get back to your task. (It’s also energizing just to get up, get a drink of water, and walk around your house for a few minutes!) Now, I do take breaks, but when I find myself slipping into quitting mode, it’s always helpful to get back up and move around. Getting exercise regularly will help you stay energized and increase fatigue, as well as keep you healthy throughout your life (source). Taking care of yourself will pay off in every other aspect of your life.

4 // Eliminate Distractions

Trying to do more than one thing at once is not only unproductive, it’s bad for your mental/brain health (source). If there’s something that’s been standing in the way of your ability to get things done, eliminate it. For me that can be the TV or the apps on my phone. I often keep the TV on during the day for noise, and I usually have my phone close by. So if I see that one of these things is getting in the way, I’ll either turn off the TV completely or change it to a Pandora station or podcast, and I’ll put my phone in another room so that I’m not tempted to sit down and scroll. Figure out what it is that distracts you and make the necessary changes so that they no longer get in the way.

5 // Keep a Clean House

This is a little bit circular, BUT, if you keep a clean (or at least clutter-free) house you’ll likely be more motivated to stay busy around the house. One study showed that people who live with more clutter are susceptible to more stress, anxiety, depression, and joylessness. Another study showed that people who keep their homes clean experience a boost in their mental health as well as some physical health benefits (source). So, even though cleaning is probably one of the things you’re trying to stay motivated to do, just think about all of the benefits you and your house will have once it’s clean and stays clean (related blog post here from another blogger).

6 // Make a Reasonable To-Do List

“We are too busy (or lazy or intimidated) to prioritize, so we may never be getting anything important done. We are too busy to be effective.”

-Corey Kohn (source)

Aim for productive, not busy. Nothing makes me want to ignore a to-do list more than when it’s packed completely full — I just get overwhelmed. Try to remember that you only have 24 hours in a day and make a reasonable to-do list — God gave us plenty of hours in the day, we just have to choose how to use them effectively. Pick the most important things to get done that day and prioritize down from there (read The Difference Between Being Busy and Getting Things Done). My to-do list usually consists of Bible study, walk Widget, my big cleaning task for the day, laundry, and make dinner. When other things come up, they’re prioritized from there by importance and time. I never pack my day so full that I can’t sit down for a minute. Depending on your lifestyle, your list might look different, but I highly suggest taking a minute to evaluate what’s important to accomplish during any given day and stop glorifying busyness (related post here).


Related: Why I’m a Stay-at-Home Wife / Because I Need Routine / Full, But Not Busy on BlairBlogs.com / Multitasking Damages Your Brain and Career, New Studies Suggest on Forbes.com

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Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. Have a blessed day.🙂

It’s Not About Us

Being a Christian is a wonderful privilege — we get to worship our Creator in spirit and in truth, and we get to pray to Him about anything and everything. We worship a God who keeps His promises and is faithful to us as we’re faithful to Him.

But, being a Christian also comes with the huge responsibility of spreading the good news further and acting in a way that not only would be approved by Jesus, but in a way that Jesus would have acted. It comes with making constant changes in our lives as we see errors. Christians have the responsibility of adhering to the unwavering standard that’s been set before us so that we will be in heaven with God and His Son in the end.

Because of this responsibility, there’s one big thing that we all need to remember on a regular basis:

Nothing is about us.

Every Christian or person thinking of becoming a Christian should always be conscious of this fact. From the beginning, it’s never been about us. There’s a thread throughout the Bible, beginning to end, that all people are to magnify God and glorify Him in all things. Old Testament worshipers were completely consumed by sacrifice after sacrifice for the one true God (see the book of Leviticus). Although the Old Law has been replaced with a perfect, Jesus-focused, New Law — one that only required the sacrifice of Jesus to cover all of our sins, modern worshipers (Christians) still need to be consumed with serving God. This starts with recognizing that nothing is about us. 

God has had a plan since the beginning of the world, and that plan was never really about us. In short: He created the world, established the Old Law as a shadow of things to come, brought prophets forward to pave the way for Jesus, brought Jesus into the world, sent Him to teach the gospel and perform amazing miracles as well as sending disciples into all the nations, allowed His Son to be crucified for our sins, and made sure the church was established. He also made sure the Word was preserved for Christians until the end of time. He established this plan, and as we read through the Bible we can clearly see that it’s not about us.

Of course, God wants His people to be with Him — but that’s exactly the point — we were made to be with Him, not the other way around.

Humans all were made in His image (Genesis 1:27) because we are supposed to glorify Him. Even the non-human creations point back to God. If you look around, you’ll see God’s majesty clearly in the clouds and the trees and the oceans and the grass and in every tiny, microscopic being. All things glorify God and through Christ all things were made.

Psalm 19:1-4

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.

 

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word [referring to Jesus here], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The life of a Christian should be no different. All humans have an innate need to worship; whether we know it or not, we need something to worship. Sometimes the things we obsess over are the things we’re choosing to worship consciously or subconsciously; that could be a person, hobby, thing, place, job, whatever it is we put first in our lives. But, what we were created to worship was the Creator Himself. Christians need to remember to put God first and put worshiping God first because that’s what we were created to do.

I want this to be abundantly clear: Being a Christian isn’t a tagline; it’s not something to use to our advantage because we like to think we’re good people or because we want to seem like good people if we’re not. And it’s certainly not just something to put in our social media profiles to make us look good or fit in with any particular group of people. Our ability to be Christians is a gift that was only obtained through the world’s most meaningful sacrifice: Jesus on the cross. Holding the title “Christian” is an honor and should be taken seriously so that we don’t drag Christ’s name through the mud.

Because it’s still not about us.

So what is it really about?

It’s about lost souls. It’s about sharing the gospel with people who need it. It’s about taking time to serve others because that’s what Jesus did. It’s about giving our best even when we feel our worst. It’s about getting up and trying again when we fail. It’s about giving, not receiving. It’s about serving a glorious, giving, patient, and just God who gave His Son’s life when He was falsely accused so that we could be in heaven with them both. It’s about giving the glory to God through the Jesus who saves.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

 

Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.


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Thank you for reading! I hope you’re always encouraged to be like Christ and learn more about God’s word when you’re on my blog. If you want to see more like this, feel free follow me on Instagram and Pinterest. Have a blessed day. 🙂

Reading Your Bible For Profit

The Bible is a guide for your soul, so it’s meant to be studied, not skimmed. How you read your Bible is as important as actually reading the Bible. In order to gain more knowledge and understanding of God’s word, you have to read it and understand it, right? That’s how learning works with any topic. You go to school to learn, but in order to learn you have to put in the effort on your own time and study the presented material. It is possible to sit down and read your Bible — just your Bible — and gain that precious knowledge that only comes from God. But it takes effort, and it takes time.

Two key words here: effort and time

Psalm 119:103

“How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Effort

The effort you put into reading your Bible directly correlates with what you gain from your study. There are no boring subjects, only boring teachers. This is something my husband and I hear regularly where we attend worship services. The Bible isn’t boring, and it is relevant — you just have to read with intention and read for profit (something else we hear regularly, by the way). Effort also requires focus on what you’re reading, Who inspired it, and how you can use it to better your walk with Christ. Go into your reading time with an attitude of positivity and perseverance, determining to learn from what you read and apply it to your life. If you don’t understand something you’re reading, stop and take the time to read it again and ask someone else who might understand.

Time

Because of the effort required to study the Bible, you’ll need to allot time for it. Notice I said “allot time,” meaning to give or distribute time to, as opposed to doing it if you have time. For most of my life, I’ve been told to plan my life around God, not God around my life, and this is something I take seriously. God deserves the best of our time, not the leftovers. Depending on your reading style, you might read five chapters during your time slot or you might only read one; what’s important is that you’re reading to understand. The amount of time you put into your Bible study is important for your soul and it’s important to God, so always make sure to spend time in the Word.

2 Timothy 2:15

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

When you realize how much you’re gaining and how much you can learn about God by reading for profit, you’ll want to read more!

But, keep in mind that reading the Bible isn’t something to be added to a list just so you can check it off at the end of the day. You’re supposed to love and crave this spiritual food. It’s the nourishment your soul needs every day, every hour, and every second to fight in this world. God has provided us with everything we need to know in order to be faithful Christians.

Profit: advantage, benefit (not monetary gain)

This profit you’re gaining isn’t just more knowledge; it’s biblical knowledge that will sustain you as you apply it to your everyday life. We all need to read for the benefit of our own souls and the souls around us. The benefit we’ll be gaining is a closer relationship with God, our brothers and sisters, and eventually a place in heaven with God and our Savior.

2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…”

2 Peter 1:3

“…as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…”


Related: I recently watched a video from Project Virtue with 6 helpful and straightforward tips for studying your Bible. Go check that out here if you’re interested in enhancing your Bible study or if you just don’t know where to start!

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Why Example is (Almost) Everything

This is a repost from February 10, 2016.


Influence. Presentation. Being a role model. There are a lot of words and phrases closely related to “example.” My mom and others have told me countless times: “People are watching you whether you know it or not.” You might not know who it is, but you need to know that you’re being watched by someone, being an example to someone all the time. Your words, your actions, your friend groups, they’re most likely being watched, especially in the age of rampant technology. Something you’re doing is probably encouraging someone to act the same way. You’re most likely being imitated. It could be children or peers or people older than you. Either way, you need to know your example is powerful, no matter who you are.

Example is almost everything. Even Paul said “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). It’s only almost everything because God’s glory is everything. Being like Christ is everything. It’s only a stepping stone to showing God’s glory, but it’s one of the most powerful ones out there.

Especially recently I’ve seen many, many posts on Facebook and Twitter about how disappointed parents are in celebrities for being bad examples or role models for their children, fans are disappointed because well-known people have gone back on their word publicly, how they don’t like someone’s actions because these actions don’t reflect what they have said they stand for. It’s difficult to stay consistent outside of the spotlight, and I suspect even more so when you literally have cameras following you around constantly. So when these people mess up, they get criticized, bashed, and they lose people’s trust.

But that’s just it. It’s all because their actions don’t reflect their words. Which is something every single person on this earth has been guilty of at some point (Romans 3:23). But, it’s not OK to throw our hands up and move on exactly the way we’ve been living, using this verse as an excuse to do what we want and act how we want. In order to be a positive example, we have to repent of this and fight every day, being careful about what we say and what we do – it can turn into blatant hypocrisy if we’re not diligent. That’s not appealing to Christians or the world, and it’s especially hated by God (Matthew 23 covers this topic fairly extensively). No one can be a positive example or influence, and certainly aren’t doing themselves any good, if their actions don’t match up with their words (Matthew 12:33-37). Friends, if we want to be good examples for other people, especially if we’re Christians, we need to match our actions up to our words. It should never be a “do as I say, not do as I do” situation. Consistency, continuity, and unity in our actions and words are more important than many people like to believe.

Even if our words and actions do line up, and we’re saying and doing things that aren’t right or excusable, people are watching. People see what you say and do: your peers, your church, your family, people in the world. I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: bad company ruins good morals.” Most of the time, this verse is used to warn against the people we hang out with and spend our time around. But what about being bad company? It could be worse if we’re the people who are ruining good morals for other people. People can be easily influenced, which is why Romans 14:13-23 says to “decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” If something we’re doing is going to cause another to sin or even just discourage that person in some way, then we aren’t doing what’s right. Do you really want to be the downfall of another person, another soul?

I do want to emphasize the positives because this post isn’t meant to be harsh or judgmental; it’s meant to be an encouragement, to make you think. There are so many good and right things we can be doing with our example that won’t cause others to be discouraged. I talked some about this in my post called The Thing About Social Media, but, especially if we’re Christians, we can be using our social media accounts to bring others to Christ, not only in the words we write, and the links we share, but also in the way we live and portray that to others. We can share as many Christ-focused articles and Bible verses we want, we can talk about how much we love God and want to be like Christ, but if our pictures and “likes” and attitudes don’t line up with that, we’re only being a negative example because we aren’t truly living it.

The greater power and influence you have, the greater responsibility to follow through and make a positive impact on the world. If we know there could be people watching us, if we know there could be focused attention on us, even if it’s just one person, how much more of an opportunity to show them a good example!

But you can be a good example even without this earthly power. The most humble people in the Bible were the greatest influences – Ruth, for example. She wasn’t a queen, she didn’t think she was someone who had all eyes on her, but she was determined to live the way she should, showing kindness to her mother-in-law after they had lost some of the people dearest to them. When everyone else left Naomi, Ruth stayed at her side. And Boaz noticed ( Ruth 2:11 & 3:11). Someone watched her, and told Boaz. He wanted to be associated with such a “worthy woman,” and eventually they were married. Your example is that much more powerful if your character is what makes people want to associate with you.

Be like Christ.

You can take your example and help someone. If others see you legitimately living as a good person, an encourager, a helper, it’s going to be so much easier to gain friends and gain souls for the kingdom! No one wants to be part of a church or a group of people if they don’t see them spending their time differently than the world;  if they want to act like the world, they’ll just continue to be part of the world. A friend once said “Don’t look like the world because the world doesn’t look like God.” Be different from the world, and you’ll have a big impact. It’s what Christians are called to do in the first place! “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2). This is what it’s about. Not being of the world, not being interested in the world’s things, but being interested in God’s things – following Christ’s example.

Follow Christ’s example to use your example to spark a light, start a conversation, enlighten someone, point the way to God, make friends and make brothers and sisters out of those friends. After all, Christians are called to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). When you’re not speaking it, live it. Live and show others why being in Christ is such a blessing.

What does it mean to be like Christ? It means to be a truth-teller, to be just, to be humble, loving, merciful, completely obedient to God the Father (see any of the gospels to read how He lived while He was on this earth – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). It means to serve others instead of asking to be served 24/7, to tell the truth peacefully and with love, to give to those who need it, to be patient, and to treat others well. It means to do everything in your power to please God and influence people in the most important of ways, leading them to salvation. I challenge you (and myself!) to ask yourself if how you’re acting, talking, and living is a way that Jesus would be living. Be the type of person who sheds light instead of darkness on people’s lives (Matthew 5:16).

The greatest of responsibilities when it comes to example is to glorify God through your words and actions because ultimately it’s not about us. It’s not ultimately about being liked or friend groups or popularity or money or whatever else your influence might bring you. It’s about bringing glory to your Maker. He made us all in His image, and we need to act like it – to act like people who will stop at nothing to bring honor to God.

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