It’s The Season

Organize-Your-Home_chore-checklist_092011It’s one of those annual rites that’s practiced in most homes across the USA.  At some point in the Spring and the Fall months of the year, there is some time scheduled for extra cleaning.

Just as you make time to spruce up your house, you might want to examine your life as well.  Is it as tidy and clean as it was a week or a month ago?

Self-examination is a continuing theme throughout the pages of Scripture, and I’ve emphasized a word in each verse below.  While these are different words in the English, they come from the same word in the Greek which is the language of the New Testament.

As you read these verses consider them in the context of who, what, when, and why:

***1 Thessalonians 5:21-22:  Test everything. Hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil.

  • What am I doing now that I wasn’t doing that has created a void in my relationship with God?

***Philippians 1:9-11:  I pray that your love will keep on growing because of your knowledge and insight. That way you will be able to determine what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ.  Jesus Christ will fill your lives with everything that God’s approval produces. Your lives will then bring glory and praise to God.

  • When did my love for Jesus quit growing and when did it cease to bring Him glory and praise?

***Ephesians 5:8-14: Live as children of light, for the fruit that the light produces consists of every form of goodness, righteousness, and truth.  Determine what pleases the Lord, and have nothing to do with the unfruitful actions that darkness produces. Instead, expose them for what they are. For it is shameful even to mention what is done by these disobedient people in secret.  But everything that is exposed to the light becomes visible, for the light is making everything visible.

  • Who has influenced me to walk in the shadowy sin of darkness instead of the light of God’s love?

***Galatians 6:3-4:  If anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself; but let each one examine his own work

  • Why do I think I can live my life on my own terms and disregard the principles of God and compromise my testimony?

***Romans 12:1-2: I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.  Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.

Examine your life to discern who you are most like.  Are you more or less of a reflection of Jesus than you were a week or a month ago?  If you are less like Him, is it because you like Him less and some one or some thing else more?  Are you still conformed to His image or have you morphed into the likeness of the world?

Examine yourself:  Is it time for some Fall cleaning?

Are You Good At Doing Good?

be-good-logoCan I let you in on a little secret?  There’s a standing invitation from Lady Temptation to come over and abide on her side.

Because it’s so easy to follow the path that leads to an evil and vile life style. Paul issued a warning to Christians in Romans 12:21:

  • Don’t allow yourself to be overpowered with evil. Take the offensive—overpower evil by good! ~Phillips
  • Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. ~The Message
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~English Standard Version

Evil can be so subtle that it’s hard to recognize and offer a rebuttal.  This is why it’s necessary to take the “offensive.”  If you allow yourself to be overpowered with evil it will have power over every area of your life.

Paul said “doing good” is the key to gaining the upper hand in this conflict, and he described his game plan in a letter to the Thessalonians:

“Live together in peace, and our instruction to this end is to reprimand the unruly, encourage the timid, help the weak and be very patient with all men. Be sure that no one repays a bad turn by a bad turn; good should be your objective always, among yourselves and in the world at large. Be happy in your faith at all times. Never stop praying. Be thankful, whatever the circumstances may be. If you follow this advice you will be working out the will of God expressed to you in Jesus Christ . . . by all means use your judgment, and hold on to whatever is really good, and Steer clear of evil in any form.”

I’m not going to lie to you—“doing good” is tough work.  The following list from Kent M. Keith (The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council) makes it clear:

  • People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered—Love them anyway.
  • If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives—Do good anyway.
  • The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow—Do good anyway.
  • People really need help but may attack you if you do help them—Help people anyway.
  • Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth—Give the world the best you have anyway.”

Remember, “Never let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.”