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Choosing the Right Building Material

A believer’s life is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. One way to think about this is that every motive, deed, and word is a building material for our spiritual house. All that we have said and done in Jesus’ name will be incorporated into this structure, but it will also include sin, negative attitudes, and good deeds done with wrong motives. Not all if it will last, however—someday, when we stand in the Savior’s holy and just presence, the only things that will remain are what we’ve done to glorify Jesus.

The apostle Paul warned believers to build with care because on the day of judgment, fire will test the quality of each person’s work—this refers to the purifying presence of Jesus Christ. The judgment of believers is about rewards. In the parable of the unrighteous steward, Jesus explained the basic concept to His disciples: “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). Our time on earth is the beginning of an eternity serving and rejoicing in the Lord.

Wise people plan for the future (Prov. 27:12). I want to receive as much of God’s goodness as He offers, so I’m determined to build with top-quality, enduring materials. The privilege of serving here is only the beginning of the rewards. In heaven, God’s generosity will be even more abundantly unleashed.

@Tola posted:

Keith, I admire your persistence in writing for so many years.  I read many of your writings and I experienced them to be  inspirational.  Thank you. 

I cannot take credit my friend, when I started this thread I stated the information I am posting comes from Intouch Ministry. I just couldn't keep it to myself so I decided to share with everyone. 

I do post my own thoughts and encourage  from time to time.

Last edited by Keith

How can you know God?

It all starts with accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ provides a relationship with the Father and eternal life through His death on the cross and resurrection, see Romans. 5:10.

Romans. 10:9 promises, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." If you have not yet begun your personal relationship with God, understand that the One who created you loves you no matter who you are or what you’ve done. He wants you to experience the profound depth of His care.

Therefore, tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:

Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you have just prayed this prayer, congratulations!

You have received Christ as your Savior and have made the best decision you will ever make—one that will change your life forever!

The Danger of a Hard Heart

When we go to church and hear God’s truth, we’re responsible for how we respond to His instructions and convictions. It’s easy to accept and practice things we find effortless or enjoyable, but if the Lord convicts us about a truth we don’t like, we could be tempted to rationalize our disobedience. Perhaps we decide that a certain command doesn’t really apply to us or that God understands there are good reasons why we can’t comply.

All excuses are displeasing to the Lord. A willful refusal to obey His Word has a hardening effect on the heart and, over time, can make us less receptive to the stinging conviction of the Holy Spirit. This may seem to make life more pleasant in the short term, since we don’t feel as guilty. But the end results are painful.

The next time you’re tempted to ignore a divine commandment, remember the cost of Israel’s hard-hearted disobedience. Instead of trusting God, they refused to enter the Promised Land. As a result, they missed settling in their own homeland and instead wandered in the desert for 40 years until that generation died. Let’s learn from the Israelites’ mistakes and pray for softened hearts that are open to the Lord’s voice. 

Feasting on the Word

Have you ever watched an infant eat? A baby clutches the bottle, smacks his lips, and makes noises of contentment. He thoroughly enjoys his milk. But there comes a time when milk doesn’t satisfy a baby’s appetite anymore. That’s when a whole world of culinary possibilities opens up.

Comparing new believers to babies, Peter said that they “long for the pure milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2). You wouldn’t feed a newborn steak and spinach, would you? Well, baby Christians must sip scriptural truths that they understand. Then, they feast on Bible passages, gradually taking in more.

Believers aren’t left alone to make sense of Scripture any more than babies and young children are expected to get their own meals. The Holy Spirit illuminates the Word, making the meaning clear to those who seek to understand. Moreover, according to Ephesians 4:11-16, pastors and teachers are charged with equipping the saints for service. They instruct, clarify, and motivate people to grow in their personal faith and to fulfill the church’s purpose of reaching the lost.

God’s Word is a feast for our heart, mind, and spirit. This is one banquet table where there is no such thing as taking too much.

The Difference Between Wants and Needs

Sometimes we confuse wants and needs. We can become so focused on our wants that they feel critical to our well-being. Then, when God doesn’t meet our “need,” we get angry or frustrated.

If we ever feel this way, we should ask ourselves, Is my petition essential to accomplishing God’s purpose, or is it only for my enjoyment? If we can’t complete the Lord’s plan without something, then it’s a need, and He will answer when we pray for Him to fulfill that requirement (Phil. 4:19).

God is also pleased to satisfy wants that fit within His purpose and will (Psalm 37:4). And while He isn’t obligated to grant wishes or fulfill any plans but His own, He says that those who seek Him won’t lack any good thing (Psalm 34:10). Pursuing the Lord above all else means making our desires subject to His will. And when we “delight in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4), He’ll also shape our desires.

The heavenly Father wants to be His children’s greatest delight—the One in whom fulfillment and satisfaction are found. When that is true in a believer’s life, then he or she does not require a lot of “stuff,” entertainment, or people in order to be happy. Joy is in the Lord.

Knowing the Father Through the Son

How do you know who God is? Many people today have arrived at their own perception of Him, based on their personal ideas, reasoning, and desires. And some don’t want anyone interfering with their preconceived notions of God. This is nothing new—it was true in the first century, just as it is today.

Jesus came to His own people, the Jews. But despite the testimony of John the Baptist—that Christ was someone who surpassed him in rank and existed long before arriving on earth—they didn’t want Him. Our Savior came to die in order to save those who would believe in Him, but He also came to explain the Father. Jesus has both the knowledge and the authority to do this, because He is God the Son and the only one who has seen and fully knows God the Father.

Therefore, if you want to know and understand who God is, look at Jesus—not just in the Gospel accounts of His earthly life but in the entire New Testament. This is the best way to make sure that you are not deceived in your understanding of Him. Being confronted with the truth now is much better than discovering too late that you are following the wrong god.

The New Testament Church

Today the word church is often used differently than the way Scripture defines it. We tend to think of a building with a steeple, a morning or evening service, or even a potluck get-together. In the Bible, however, “church” means a body of believers under the authority of their leader, Jesus Christ (Col. 1:18). And according to God’s Word, the church has three purposes: worship of the Lord, ministry to believers, and outreach to an unbelieving world.

When we exalt the living God and glorify His name, we show our Father that we love Him. Psalm 100:2-4 encourages us to “come before Him with joyful singing” and to “enter His gates with thanksgiving and ... praise.” Christians should be both personally and corporately devoted to God. Teaching and encouraging brothers and sisters produces spiritual fruit in them (Heb. 10:24-25; Col. 3:16). Then they can spread the good news in their own sphere of influence—that through God’s Son, there is not only forgiveness of sin but also life eternal.

Christians meet together regularly to worship, encourage, instruct, and reach those who don’t know Him. In your local fellowship, are you working toward these goals?

Protection From Pride

One of the benefits of adversity is that it challenges our pride. Paul experienced this kind of intervention through what he called “a thorn in the flesh,” and the Lord used it to hone his effectiveness as a servant of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7).

We don’t usually realize what’s at stake when we allow pride to take root in our life, but it affects how God interacts with us, as He “is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Pride will prevent Christians from reaching the potential of what God wants to do in and through them. Even if the world sees them as a success, a self-motivated and self-empowered ministry lacks value in the Lord’s eyes.

Can you see how much was at stake for Paul—and for believers throughout history? God used the apostle to build up churches and write letters that would become a major portion of our New Testament. When he understood the reason for his “thorn,” Paul reacted with trust and gratitude for the Lord’s wise and loving protection.

Perhaps you can see why adversity may be beneficial for you, too. Each of us has been given areas of influence. Humble yourself today so God can use you greatly.

A God of Grace

Imagine receiving a beautifully wrapped gift when there is no special occasion. Inside the package is something very special. Eagerly, you read the card to discover who could have been so generous. To your amazement, you learn that the giver is someone you’ve been unkind to and have even avoided! What do you do?

This scenario is a picture of the Father’s grace in sending His Son Jesus to earth. There was no special occasion; God was determined to save us, despite the fact that we ignore or rebel against Him. This is grace—God’s goodness extended to those who do not deserve it and have no way to earn it.

We see the fullness of God’s grace in His Son. First, Jesus met the requirements of divine law by living perfectly. Second, His sinless life allowed Him to pay the cost of our rebellious ways. Third, Christ sacrificed His life on the cross to pay for our sins— past, present, and future. Fourth, God counts Jesus’ death as payment for every wrong we have done or will do. Fifth, Christ’s righteousness becomes our own righteousness through faith (Rom. 4:5).

What will you do with God’s kind gift of grace—refuse it, or say “thank You” and take steps to know Him?

The Grace of God

God’s grace is miraculous. It allows hearts to beat, bodies to heal, and love to be given, regardless of peoples’ opinions of Him. He offers forgiveness to the rebellious, freedom to sinners, and intimacy with Himself to all who trust Christ as Savior. God’s children can approach Him confidently because there is no condemnation for those who belong to Him (Rom. 8:1). What amazing grace!

But that’s not the way things always were. Israel, God’s chosen people, lived under the Law—not under grace. Like us, they were disobedient, so God established the sacrificial system to provide a symbolic way for their wrongdoing to be forgiven.

But since it was humanly impossible to obey every aspect of all 613 commandments God handed down through Moses, the Father graciously sent Jesus to fulfill the Law for us. Our Savior’s sinless life gives us permanent forgiveness because He died once for all sins (Heb. 7:27). The result is that we can approach God’s throne directly.

Believers stand upon the immovable foundation of God’s grace. It covers us like a canopy and surrounds like a protective wall. Let the truth of that sink into your heart and mind so you can become a vessel of the Lord’s love, kindness, and goodness to others.

The Slow Burn of Insecurity

How would you answer if someone were to ask, “Do you feel good about yourself?” Would your thoughts be filled with self-doubt and second-guessing, or would you be able to stand tall and say, “Yes, I do”?

There are many behaviors and attitudes that clearly cross boundaries—such as unforgiveness, adultery, and greed. But insecurity is different. It’s more like a slow flame burning just beneath the surface, influencing our thoughts and subtly harming us from within. This issue is harder to identify, but it’s powerful and can impact how we respond to God’s call.

What do we mean by insecurity? It’s a feeling of inadequacy, often compounded by a sense of complete helplessness, purposelessness, disapproval, or rejection. All of these things can slowly accumulate and weigh us down if we don’t learn how to identify them.

Try spending time today in earnest prayer and honest self-discovery. Ask the heavenly Father to shine His light on any area of insecurity that may be a burden on your heart. Let Him remind you just how special you are in His eyes. After all, our value comes from being God’s children, and that will never change.

The Causes of Insecurity

Yesterday we defined insecurity and saw how it could weigh us down. Today let’s look at some common causes. Insecurity can come from:

Rejection. When we grow up thinking no one really likes us, we turn into chronically reluctant adults who lack confidence.

Tragedy. Traumatic circumstances like a broken home, the death of a loved one, or abusive relationships can open the door for insecurity.

Poor body image. Whether it’s body shape, hair loss, or disability, physical appearance can lead people to see themselves in a negative light. The resulting shame and self-consciousness can permeate interactions with others.

Comparison. People sometimes become preoccupied with those who seem smarter, wealthier, nicer-looking, more successful, and so on. This makes individuals feel overshadowed and creates doubt in their own ability to achieve.

Failure. Because we pour time and resources into our work, families, and life goals, a setback in any of these areas can crush our spirit.

If this sounds familiar, examine your heart carefully. Ask yourself, In what area of life might I have deep insecurity? Remember, today’s psalm says God has crowned us “with glory and majesty!” (Psalm 8:5). That’s who we really are.

Rekindling the Flame

Passion to serve the Lord and share the gospel will ebb and flow throughout a believer’s life. Some choose to settle for a lukewarm existence—neither risking much for His name nor receiving many blessings. Others stop ministering altogether and drift aimlessly through life. But whenever we feel indifferent, we should try to rekindle the flame of passion that was first lit at the moment of salvation.

When we were saved, we received the gift of the Holy Spirit. So, the first step is to pray for the Holy Spirit to fill—or control—us afresh. That requires self-examination and repentance of any sins the Lord brings to mind. It also means giving back to God the right to reign over our life.
Next, think about what was (and what wasn’t) happening in life when passion last burned brightly. What external pressures and activities affected your ministry then and now? How can you prioritize such things wisely?

Finally, devote a day or more to retreat and refocus on the Lord. Meditate on His words of encouragement, such as Isaiah 41:10. This way, instead of fixating on our problems, we can remember He is our shepherd in every situation. The passion we experienced at salvation can be ours again as we focus on the Lord.

The Struggle With Doubt

To trust that biblical promises are true requires faith. According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV). At salvation, we believed through faith that we were saved by God through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

Since then, many of us have struggled to believe consistently that God’s promises are true—or that they apply to us. Our faith has been mixed with doubt. Sometimes we feel unsure of God’s love or forgiveness. At other times, especially when life gets hard, we question whether we’ve truly been given all that we need. If prayers are not answered as we expect, we wonder whether the Lord really cares about us. In such instances, our feelings and circumstances cloud what we truly believe.

The good news is that Scripture can help us gain confidence in times of uncertainty. It can be trusted because the author—God Himself—is trustworthy. As we study its pages, the Holy Spirit works through our doubt, and the promises of God begin to sink in.

Remember, Jesus invites us to bring our burden of doubt to Him. We can trust that He will give us rest from it (Matt. 11:28).

Changing Doubt to Trust

On occasion, every believer faces moments of doubt. Perhaps a prayer goes unanswered, or our obedience is met with worsening circumstances. Or maybe someone’s criticism makes us question our ability to carry out God’s plan.

Doubting God’s character can hinder our ...

Fellowship with Him. Believers live by faith, which is the only way to please God (Rom. 1:17Heb. 11:6). Doubt undermines faith and causes insecurity.

Prayer life. The impossible becomes possible for those who believe God and do not doubt (Matt. 21:21).

Kingdom service. The Lord asks Christians to do God-sized tasks and promises the Holy Spirit will empower them to do so. If we doubt, we won’t answer the call or complete the job.

Blessings. Doubt prevents us from experiencing joy in the Lord and the peace Jesus gives (John 14:27).

Spiritual uncertainty can come from a variety of sources: unconfessed sin or lingering guilt; tunnel vision on circumstances; and misunderstanding or ignorance of the truths of Scripture. When it comes, try following these steps:
• Identify what is causing you not to trust God.
• Recall a time when He sustained you through a trial.
• Identify a promise or attribute of God that points the way back to faith.

Eternal Life

Each of us has a sin debt that we owe to God, but we’ve got no way to pay for it. None of our solutions—living a moral life, being religious, or doing more good deeds—can take care of our problem.

God Himself has provided the solution—one that both satisfies His justice and grants us mercy. He sent His Son to pay the penalty we owed, and Jesus was qualified because He never sinned (2 Corinthians 5:21). He willingly took our place on the cross and experienced the full measure of the Lord’s wrath against our sinfulness. In dying for us, Christ secured our salvation.

Unfortunately, however, some people have heard this news and rejected it. They’re like the rich young ruler who placed his trust in material possessions and turned his back on the truth. Others refuse to even listen, and some think they’re heaven-bound on the basis of their good deeds. But only those who have entered into a relationship with Jesus will be welcomed into heaven.

If you’re wondering, How can I have eternal life? there is only one answer: through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6). When we trust in Jesus and surrender our life to Him, He becomes our personal Savior and Lord.

Witnessing With the Right Attitude

Sharing our faith is an important part of the Christian life—that is the way others come to know Jesus Christ. But how are we to communicate this good news? Often when the Lord opens a door for a spiritual conversation, we’re unsure what to say and wonder if our message will be rejected. What’s more, if the other person is a family member or coworker, we may worry that being forthright about our beliefs will strain the relationship.

When Paul came to the city of Corinth, He came “in weakness and in fear and in much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3). But his concern was for the people’s salvation—not for himself. He didn’t try to manipulate the Corinthians into receiving Christ as Savior, nor did he try to impress them with his knowledge and wisdom. He came in humility, fully relying on the Holy Spirit’s power to save lost souls.

That’s exactly how we should approach witnessing—by getting our mind off ourselves and trusting the Lord to use us in our fear and weakness. So let’s stop focusing on how we might be perceived or whether we’ll be rejected. Instead, remember that as we share the gospel, God will save those who are lost.

Our Helper in Prayer

In the gospel of John, Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as the Helper whom He would send to enable and instruct believers. One of the Holy Spirit’s responsibilities is to help us in prayer. He knows about temptations or experiences ahead, so He prompts us to talk to our Father.

It’s important, then, to pay attention anytime you sense a need to pray. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, we are told not to “quench the Spirit,” as ignoring that divine prodding can lead down paths God never intended for us.

The Holy Spirit sometimes burdens us specifically to pray for someone else. In this way, He offers Christians the opportunity to participate in God’s work. On many occasions, I’ve received calls asking if I was going through a tough time, and invariably, my caller had been praying for me. 

This burdening of our heart to pray for ourselves or for others is a special demonstration of God’s love. By calling us to prayer, He can make us sensitive to our surrounding circumstances or prepare us for a trial He knows is coming. Listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and allowing ourselves to be prepared is how we, in turn, display our love for God.

Responding to Our Culture

How do you react when you see people being hostile toward Christian beliefs? Do you let your anger simmer, get into an argument on Facebook, or just keep quiet? It’s difficult to know how to respond to those who show antagonism to our faith, but Peter gives us good advice in today’s passage.

Be willing to suffer or be misunderstood. Since the world finds holiness, obedience, and reverence for God confusing or even offensive, taking a stand for righteousness may bring you criticism instead of praise. Don’t fear the intimidation, but remember that when you are persecuted, you are blessed (Matt. 5:10).

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart. A follower of Jesus is no longer enslaved to the world but is now a slave of Christ and His righteousness (Rom. 6:181 Corinthians 7:22).

Always be ready to give a defense for your hope. This is to be done gently and respectfully—never with anger or condemnation.

Keep a good conscience. You can’t foresee how God may use your example. Perhaps your righteous behavior and words will influence others to see their own sin and turn to Christ.

Even though our culture looks very dark, Christ can use your light to show someone the way to the Jesus.

All That Is in the World

John warns us not to love the world or the things in it. But what is the world? The apostle isn’t talking about the material realm, so there’s no need to deprive ourselves of everything we enjoy in life. Rather, he is reminding us that every good desire can be perverted by sinful longings and pride.

The nature of the world system is seen in the behaviors, attitudes, and ambitions of our culture:

Immorality. Our society seeks to gratify lust in ways that God has forbidden. Immorality has even entered our homes through the internet and television. 

Greed. The culture is driven by a desire for wealth, material possessions, fame, and power—and some people lie, cheat, steal, or kill to get what they want.  

Pride. People are lovers of self and want to be seen as better than others. It’s common today to portray oneself falsely on social media in order to be admired. 

Despite the sinful condition of our culture, we shouldn’t be discouraged. God is greater than the world’s power to entice, and His purposes aren’t thwarted by sin. He is able to guide us through the darkness as we trust and follow Him.

Facing Doubts About Salvation

Nothing drains spiritual energy like fear. When believers are repeatedly worried about their salvation, anxiety can cloud their thoughts and distract them from God’s purpose for their life. Furthermore, it robs them of the peace and joy that the Lord promised His followers.

There are several reasons why some Christians struggle with doubts about whether they are saved:

Sin. Salvation brings forgiveness and a righteous standing before God. But when we focus on our sins and failures, we may doubt that God could forgive us. 

Emotions. Sometimes we rely solely on our feelings, rather than the truth of God’s Word, to determine our salvation.

Immaturity. Due to ignorance of Scripture or the slow process of change, new believers may begin to question whether they are truly saved.

Legalism. Some Christians evaluate their eternal security by their performance. If they fall short of a standard they themselves set, uncertainty can take root.

1 John 3:19 says we can know that we are of the truth and assure our heart before God. The word assure means to pacify and calm our soul so we’re not consumed by fearful doubts that prevent us from enjoying our new life in Christ.

Courage to Face Life’s Trials

Scripture details the courageous way Paul handled trials. He was opposed by religious leaders, manhandled by magistrates, and mobbed by crowds. Yet through it all, he stood firm. How did he do this?

Let’s look at Paul’s own testimony. He said he came to the Corinthians in weakness, and he spoke with fear and trembling (1 Corinthians 2:3). He claimed that he had been pushed beyond his ability to endure (2 Corinthians 1:8). In fact, once his fear was so strong that an angel exhorted him not to be afraid (Acts 27:24). He was human, just as we are.

What did Paul know that would also help us? Wherever the apostle was, God was personally present. He trusted in the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit, and he also took heart from the Lord’s reassurance of His nearness (Acts 18:9). Although it appeared that Paul stood alone before his accusers, he recognized he was actually in the Lord’s company. With almighty God standing beside him, he didn’t have to be afraid.

Because we belong to Jesus Christ, we can know that God is always with us. We, too, have the Savior’s unending pledge of nearness and the Holy Spirit as our permanent companion. As we embrace these truths, we will discover the courage to face life’s trials.  I feel braver already. What about you?

A Courageous Life

When we recognize God’s presence with us, courage starts to develop in us. It grows as we draw on His strength. Without God’s power, we’ll find that hardship and stress drain us emotionally and hurt us physically, leaving us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.

After 40 years of wandering, the nation of Israel was in such a state. They should have believed the two spies who trusted in the Lord’s presence and power. But instead, allowing their weakness to hold sway, the people sided with the remaining ten spies, who claimed the Canaanite obstacles were too great (Num. 13:26-32).

In contrast, Paul faced the Roman tribunal after enduring great hardship but was not dismayed, because God stood with him and strengthened him. Times of helplessness and weakness are in reality opportunities to receive an abundance of divine power (Phil. 4:13).

Being yielded to God’s purposes is essential for developing courage. Paul knew God had a plan for every event in his life—even the hardest ones. Instead of seeking a way out of trials, accept God’s way, and you’ll find courage welling up from within. Imagine yourself standing next to God, drawing on His strength.

A Pattern for Servanthood

Jesus told His disciples, “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant” (Matt. 20:26). In Bible times, the lowest servant of the house washed dusty feet. So the disciples must have been surprised when Jesus performed this humble task for them. He explained His shocking behavior by saying, “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14).

Based on those words, many churches have turned foot washing into an ordinance; they believe that this act shows Christlikeness and demonstrates willingness to serve. Perhaps that’s true for some believers, but many perform the ceremony by rote. Jesus’ message to the disciples and to modern believers is not literally to wash dirty feet, but rather to serve one another with humility and love.

True servanthood is not a popular topic because many people regard it as beneath them. But God wants us to see ourselves as living sacrifices. To serve the Lord well, we must be willing do whatever He asks for whomever He asks. Our Christlikeness is evident when we love God and others so much that we willingly humble ourselves for their sake.

Jesus performed one of the lowliest tasks of His day to demonstrate His servanthood. What are you willing to do for Him?

How Do We Find Favor With God?

Trying to earn the Lord’s favor feels like running a marathon with no finish line, climbing a never-ending mountain, or paddling frantically in the rapids while going nowhere.  Such attempts to work our way to God are exhausting and fruitless because we can never be good enough or do enough to earn His acceptance. There is only one way to receive our heavenly Father’s favor, and that’s by faith in His Son, who did all the work for us.

God sought us while we were still sinners, and He sent His Son to live a perfect life and die a substitutionary death on our behalf. Christ took our sins and offers us His righteousness; all we have to do is believe and receive His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

The Lord’s favor is unmerited and cannot be earned. It is given freely to the undeserving through faith in Christ and continues throughout the believer’s life. It empowers obedience, gives victory over sin, and provides open access to the Father for prayer. God’s rich and abundant favor is readily available to all who will receive it by faith.

Living in God’s Favor

Once we have received the favor of God through salvation, does it matter how we behave? Today’s passage responds with an emphatic yes. After receiving God’s gracious salvation, we are not to continue acting in ways displeasing to Him. Instead we’re to walk in newness of life and consider ourselves dead to sin.

This truth is affirmed by Paul’s life. Upon his conversion, the apostle was radically changed, and he began living with single-minded devotion and obedience to Christ. After being rescued from bondage to sin and receiving the best possible Master, he’d have been foolish to return to his former state. 

Divine grace frees us so that we are no longer slaves to sin—we are not just rescued from its penalty. And because our heavenly Father empowers us to know Him through Scripture, we can live in a manner that honors Him and produces lasting fruit.

How well do you know God? Pleasing Him requires learning to think the way He does, and this means His Word must be a vital part of your life. It also necessitates choosing His way over your own. Although this may seem like a costly way to live, the outcome is worth every sacrifice.