A Beautiful Life

How do the people around you know that you follow Christ?

Is it because of the way you love them, have generosity towards them, and encourage them? Because of your grace and forgiveness towards them, and the way that you relentlessly believe in them? Or is it because you just simply tell them?

Read Chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians in your Bible, where Paul is warning the more mature believers to be cautious of the way they live in order to prevent the non-believers and new believers from stumbling. He stresses the importance of not becoming a stumbling block to others, as you are then sinning against Christ. In this chapter, Paul wants us to realize that the way we live as Christians is not only impactful, but crucial in other people’s faith and walk with the Lord.

If you never told anyone that you were a Christian, would they still notice something different about you? Would they wonder how you had peace in the midst of trial or kindness towards those who have hurt you?

Today, aim to get people wondering about you. Shine the light that following Christ has placed inside of you, and watch as people are drawn towards you. As believers, we have been given a great responsibility and influence over our world. Use this influence, and He will use your life as an example of His love. A beautiful life is the sign of a life full of Christ.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

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Selfless Marriage

God made room for a lot of things in marriage. Things like love, grace, forgiveness, intimacy, honesty-He made plenty of room for all of it between spouses. But there’s just one thing I have been searching high and low for on that list. I have put it under a microscope looking for this one thing, but it seems that God must have accidentally left it out.

God did not make room in marriage for selfishness. He never intended for it to be there. But when it does creep in, it has to take the spot of something else. When selfishness finds its way into your marriage, things like forgiveness and grace find their way out. This isn’t because marriage was made to be a weak thing, only able to hold and support a small amount of emotion. It’s simply because selfishness just doesn’t belong.

I’ve been discovering that the more I put myself and the things that I feel that I am entitled to aside, the more I am finding God in my marriage. And not only that, I am also finding that my needs are being met even more now than when I constantly demanded them from my husband. The Lord created marriage to be a covenant in which both people’s sole focus was on the other one’s desires, needs and expectations. When both spouses are more diligent about fulfilling those things for the other person, a marriage experiences true strength.

Right before I got married, I had a friend tell me that the first time we disagree on which TV show to watch, I needed to let him watch what he wanted. It seemed silly and a bit insignificant at the time, but now I am realizing the complete opposite. When you throw selfishness aside in the little things, it adds up. Those things will happen daily, even hourly, and you will always have the opportunity to choose to fight for the interests of yourself or those of your spouse. Begin to practice in the mundane parts of life, and when those big things come around, you will be more likely to choose to be selfless.

God’s intent for His children to be bonded with one another, abandoned to oneself, is the world’s second most wonderful love story! He is so passionate, so on fire about your marriage and the powerful potential it has. When you rid your marriage of selfishness, you will not believe the love and grace that will be unleashed.

Philippians 2:3-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others.”

Fiercely Sprinting

Think of your life as a race. At the finish line is eternity in Heaven with your Creator. A perfect existence lacking in all evil and abounding in all good. A place where you will no longer have to thirst or hunger for anything to keep yourself running, because all will be fulfilled. But until then, the One who sits at the finish line has promised to provide you with all that you need to make it to Him. He has told you that He will feed your hunger when you seek Him out and quench your thirst when you ask Him to.

Are still you wandering around the path trying to find your own ways to satisfy what you need? Or are you experiencing the true fullness of His promises? And are your eyes fixed on the race, or on the glorious finish ahead?  

It is time to realize that you couldn’t be running this race without Him. That you are running to get to the end, because there is nothing greater than being in the full glory of the One who saved you. Chase after Him and let Him satisfy everything you need along the way, because what the world needs is people who are fixed on and passionate about Christ. People who get goosebumps when they think of Him, who chase after Him relentlessly, and who will never be satisfied until they see Him face to face. People with an unquenchable thirst for His Word, a hunger for His knowledge and a fire for His love. Those who know what is to come, and can’t stop praising Him for it. We don’t need any more believers who merely believe, but instead absolutely burn for Him.

Fiercely sprint to get closer to your Creator, and watch the world be changed by believers who refuse to merely believe.

1 Corinthians 9:24

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Bold Faith

Because today I am ending a time in my life and getting ready to begin another, the future is on my mind.

This morning I was driving to my last day of work, creating a vision for what I would like my life to look like now, and coming up with some modest goals. These included starting up a ministry, leading a small group, taking classes online, volunteering at the food bank multiple times a week, making new friends, getting a part-time job, and becoming the greatest wife and housekeeper imaginable. I laughed at myself while the list went on and on, and decided I was getting in over my head a bit. But then I started thinking about the Lord and His bold vision for His children’s lives, and instead decided to add a couple more things onto my list.

The truth is, anyone who is making waves for the Lord is in over their head. But He is never in over His. I want people to look at my life and say, “that’s gotta be God, because there’s no way she could do that on her own.” I want them to marvel at the miraculous work that the Holy Spirit displays through me-a sinful, imperfect person-and praise God for His perfection because of it. If you want your life to reflect Him, you have to leave some space for Him to show Himself! This means stepping out in faith and pursuing some things that you won’t be able to accomplish unless He steps in. This means adding a couple more things to your list, trusting that you will succeed or fail for His glory. It may not be in His plan that you achieve everything you set out for, but He will never do great things with you unless you believe Him for great things.

God honors the dreams of those who have big faith, because those who have big faith honor Him.

Hebrews 11:6

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

Pride Before Destruction

Proverbs 16:18 & 19

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.”

If you are married, you understand that pride does go before destruction! It is too easy to become prideful when you are in an argument with your spouse. It can become almost second nature to believe the lie that you deserve better, you are entitled to better, or you simply are better. Don’t be misled, this kind of thinking is directly from the enemy, and he will undoubtedly feed off of it to create as much destruction as he can. Child of God, do not let the enemy into your mind or your marriage that way! Proverbs 16:32 says, “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.” Learn to rule your spirit, turn away from pride and self-importance, and make sure your heart is in a condition of complete obedience to the Lord. Don’t give the enemy a footing in something that he has no business entering.

Proverbs says that, “It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.” The Lord would rather you have a lowly spirit and little riches than a prideful spirit and many riches, because He promises a great inheritance for the meek (Matthew 5:5). Having a quiet and gentle spirit is very valuable to the Lord, because it is proof that you have died to your selfish nature in light of His sacrifice for you. And that is the key. Although a humble spirit does not come naturally for us, it can be developed through the constant renewal of our minds back to His death that let us live. The truth is, we will stop thinking so highly of ourselves when we realize that He is higher than us all. We will not boast in anything except His perfect love when we realize that it cannot be matched. We will not lean on our greatest qualities when we realize that one breath from Him holds infinitely more power than anything we could ever accomplish. When we sink into the fact that Jesus-the man who had every reason to be full of pride-had none at all, but in complete humility laid His perfect life down for us, our spirits will be changed.

Abounding In Light

Jesus.

Blameless. Sinless. Glorious.

Picture Him walking through the streets: heads turning, knees bowing, eyes wide open in admiration.

Jesus.

Pure love. Pure truth. Pure light.

Our Jesus was one of a kind. He embodied a light that can never be duplicated, one that will never dim. He showed the love of God to a world that was so desperately in need of it. As He came to be the light of the world, to take a world so covered in darkness and give it hope, now we are called to do the same (Matthew 5:13-16).

How are you responding to this call?

The truth is, His calling on your life remains, whether you ever take Him up on them or not. We are consistently given the opportunity to show our broken world the radiance that is Christ. My challenge to you today is to take Him up on it. We need to long for an existence that is so focused on God that others can’t help but to see Him in us. Give everybody you meet an encounter with Jesus, and watch as His Spirit sets in all around. Deny yourself of any yearning for your own glory, and you’ll be creating space for the Lord to work.

Jesus was incredibly kind (Matthew 19:14), loving (John 10:10) and humble (John 14:28). Begin to intentionally show kindness to all, extend love at every opportunity, and constantly renew your mind back to the fact that it is all for the Father’s glory, because He is much greater than you, even on your best day.

Now picture yourself walking through the streets: heads turning, knees bowing, eyes wide open in admiration. Praises rising, all people giving thanks to the one true Lord; our gracious Father, abounding in light.

Long for that, because He is more than worthy.

John 8:12

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”