Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent his Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that he might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, “Abba! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. Galatians 4:4-7 (MSG)
In the days when we are constantly seeking change – to be a better version of ourselves, both inwardly and outwardly – my prayer is that we recall to memory and claim the makeover the Lord declared He would perform on our behalf.
I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by My commands. Ezekiel 36:25-27 (MSG)
Press play to listen.
Back in March, my hubs and I visited Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC. We have followed what God has been doing through this church and Pastor Furtick for over 2 years and were finally able to take the opportunity to make the 6 hour road trip for our first visit. Leading up to that Sunday, we were geeked and pretty much pressed, to say the least.
In preparation, we signed up on the church’s website as guests, printed our VIP parking pass and prayed for an experience that would exceed our expectations. Upon arrival, we were greeted and treated like the VIPs we were labeled as! We were directed to a prime parking space directly in front of the church building; members met each of us at our car doors with open umbrellas; we were ushered in and handed informational fliers; acknowledged during service; and given parting gifts. For that day, their hospitality made us to truly feel valued, desired and prepared for.
The extent to which we were welcomed has made me consider the extent to which I am welcoming Christ into my day. What level of effort have I been putting in to actually show Him that He is valued and desired by me? How much am I preparing my heart and my temple for Him to dwell within? Have my actions shown that He is the most important; that He is my VIP, or MVP for that matter?
The pursuit to prioritize His Lordship in every area of our lives yields a greater realization of Him and His presence; a more intimate relationship with Him; and a character matured closer to His. Let’s show Him that He is priority by intentionally welcoming Him to increase and take control; let’s make welcoming Him as VIP our most important play of each day!
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:14-26 (NKJV)
I cannot begin to count the number of recommendation letters I’ve written for others, nor the number I’ve asked to be written for myself. Today, letters of recommendation are often required to corroborate that you are actually the type of person that you claim to be. Potential employers wish to know what your co-workers or your boss think of you. Givers of scholarships and grant providers like to validate your credentials and your character. Clubs and organizations want to understand the level of respect others have for you, and in turn determine the likely value of you as an addition to their team.
In Paul’s day, things were not very different. To validate the effectiveness of their ministries, many ministers or apostles, sent away as messengers of good news, carried with them letters of commendation and praise. Yet, Paul did not need any of these to prove his legitimacy or credibility. His impact was evident in the lives he’d led to change.
You yourselves are all the endorsement we need. Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ Himself wrote it—not with ink, but with God’s living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives—and we publish it [you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you]. We couldn’t be more sure of ourselves in this—that you, written by Christ himself for God, are our letter of recommendation. 2 Corinthians 3:2-4 (MSG)
If we were asked to substantiate our influence on this world, could we do so? If someone asked you to show a life led to Christ by the life you lead, could you? Could I point to a disciple, who now disciples others, because of my discipleship relationship with them?
Today, I charge us to choose to live a life that inspires others to live for Christ. Be the living letter of the life worth living. Produce #stat