623: A Balanced Life

new_mx623wn_500For several years now, I’ve worn a specific brand of tennis shoes. They are the “623” made by New Balance.

As I took a sip of coffee and started my devotional time this morning, I noticed my shoes on the floor in front of me. I saw something in the “623” logo on the shoes that I had never seen before.

The significance of “623” just occurred to me—Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I’m certain New Balance has never connected the salvation message of Romans 6:23 to their tennis shoes, but every time I lace them up and put them on, I’ll think of this verse.

This shoe theme reminds me of one of the principles that John taught: If you’re going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. He said: “Whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him (I John 3:17-18).”

What about your talk and your walk? Is it consistent? When people hear you talk, do they hear the love of God? If people follow your path and walk in your shoes will it lead them to Heaven?

Paul’s words to the church at Rome are significant to this discussion: “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace who bring glad tidings of good things!’ (Romans 10:13-15).”

623: I encourage you to take 6 minutes to read this blog 2 times, to think of 3 people who you can influence with your talk and by your walk, and to pray that you can be the one who brings the “glad tidings of good things” to them.

Shocker Nation

00PaperBagFanFair-weather fans can hardly be called true blue supporters. They’re in your corner as long as you are winning, but quickly boo you when things go wrong. I’ve thought about this since the Shockers made it to the Final Four last season.

Shortly after the advent of coach Marshall and his winning ways, Shocker memorabilia became a hot item. People proudly wear their wheat shock shirts, paint their finger nails in school themed colors, and adorn their cars with Wichita State bumper stickers.

These are some of the same people who wore paper sacks over their heads just a few years ago. Fickle fans they are.

I’m glad that fickle and fair-weather never sketch the image of God—It is the broad brush of faithfulness that paints His portrait.

Paul focused on the faithfulness of God, when he wrote his letter to the Romans: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword . . . Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Think about four words in the verses above: God is for us. To really grasp this truth, we need to move from the plural “us” to the singular “you.” God is for you!

I want you to say this spine-tingling, goose-bump generating truth aloud three times. Each time you say it emphasize a different word:

1. GOD is for me. The God of Heaven and Earth and the Creator of the world is for you.

2. God IS for me. Right now at this exact moment, God is for you. It is not that He has been in the past; might hopefully be in the future; but, tick-tock, in this present tense second of your life God is for you.

3. God is for ME. God is with you in a very personal way. He has even written your name on His hands (Isaiah 49:16).

God is not fickle, nor is He a fair-weather fan. Even when you’re the last one to cross the finish line, He is still waiting on you and cheering you on—“You can do it,” He shouts with pride.

You will never see Him in the bleachers with a paper sack over His head. Instead, He is there shouting: “That’s My son, that’s My daughter. Can you see the resemblance? They’re from the royal family and children of the King.”

Say, it one more time: GOD IS FOR ME!

Imitate Me

indexI have a thought or two that I would like to share with you, and I hope they are worth remembering. In Hebrews 13:7-8, there is a challenge to, “remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

This is a Triple A (AAA) section of Scripture, that has some great principles for us:

• The admonition is not to forget but to remember: Is there congruence between the words and actions of the leaders and the principles of God’s Word?
• The advice is to scrutinize their lives: A marathon is not won in a charismatic lap but through the discipline of the miles.
• The action to obey: Imitate their faith.

I’m hopeful that this thought will keep you thinking: What would the world be like if everyone imitated your faith?