As we move toward the beginning of a new year, its a good time to reflect on the past year and what is coming in the next year. I’d like to end this series with a challenge for you to make a commitment to grow closer to God in the next year. Now for the final installment of Getting Up Again and Again and Again…
Let’s explore a few more verses in Ephesians 4 and see how we can live our lives in a way that encourages rising up again and again…
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
This particular passage is challenging. It hits many of us in the practical real world. Watch what you say, watch how you act, stay in control of your emotions, and on top of all that be kind and forgive people who wronged you. Definitely not an easy list, that’s for sure.
As we strive to live our lives in a way that our speech, actions, emotions, and behavior all reflect the character and nature of Jesus, we need to focus on what will help us get there…
- God’s Word – There really is no better teacher. The purpose of scripture is clearly stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 where it says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” We can learn from it, be convicted by it, disciplined by it, and grow through it. It is a key tool to help us live the life this passage has challenged us to live.
- Time Alone with God – In the crazy busy life that we live in 21st century America, we rarely, if ever, set quality time aside to communicate with the God who so desperately loves us. How do you build a relationship with someone if you do not communicate regularly with them? The same principle holds true with God. Do you think he is going to use you in ministry if He has such a distant relationship with you?
- Trust the leading and power of the Holy Spirit – I think one of the biggest things the church has wrong today is it’s ignoring of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God and we treat him like a second rate, ghost servant instead of the God of the Universe who has always existed in perfect fellowship with the Father and Son. The Holy Spirit is GOD living in US. Think about that… The same source of power that allowed Jesus to do miracles like healing and raising the dead is living within us! Don’t believe me, Check out 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
We have been called to live our lives in a way that God is honored in everything we do. On the doorstep of a new year, we need to spend some serious time reflecting on what it will take for us to move to the next level in our relationship with God.
Honestly for me, it will be a focus on prayer and communication with God. From there, I pray 2017 will be the year of ministry… a year in which I begin to touch lives in a tangible way and do things even I can’t imagine to bring Glory to the God who paid a HUGE price so I could be in relationship with Him.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)”
Over the next couple weeks, we will explore topics that will hopefully help you begin to reflect on what God is calling you to do and what steps you need to take to begin that journey.