How are we spending our resources each day? Our time, our talents, our life – what are we using it to produce? Are we using it to gain more of the world for ourselves, or are we using it to bring honor and glory to the Lord, to allow Christ to be manifest through our lives living and serving others?
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?
Luke 9:24-25 NLT
Life Application Devotional
“Nothing material can compensate for the loss of eternal life. Jesus’ disciples are not to use their lives on earth for their own pleasure-they should spend their lives serving God and people. If this present life is most important to you, you will do everything you can to protect it. You will not want to do anything that might endanger your safety, health, or comfort. By contrast, if following Jesus is most important, you may find yourself in unsafe, unhealthy, and uncomfortable places. You will risk death, but you will not fear it because you know that Jesus will raise you to eternal life.”
Many will read this and water it down as if they are afraid that a life fully surrendered to Christ and radically abandoned to good works in grattitude to God for what He has done might “scare others away” or might “set the bar too high”. They might rather rely upon grace alone and stay comfortable in their complacency and religious practice and lukewarm faith while – never really surrendering all to Christ – never really picking up their cross to bear it – never really seeking first the kingdom of God. I am not setting the bar high, Christ has set the bar high, friends.
He doesn’t ask us to call out His name just to return to our lives of sin – no, He tells us those who turn back are not fit for the kingdom of God.
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:62 NLT
Our duty is to share the gospel
But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:60 NLT
And for our lives to be a living example to others:
And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.
Titus 2:7 NLT
Even unbelievers and our enemies should not be able to deny that our lives are lived for the Lord.
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
1 Peter 2:11-12 NLT
This time of year, how many people know clearly who your favorite football team is? How many clearly wear shorts or fly flags for a sports team proudly who will not offer the Lord even the same level of testimony with their lives? How much more time will be spent discussing the qualities and characteristics of different players compared to discussing and examining the qualities and characteristics of our Lord through the Word of God.
We should examine ourselves and ask ourselves, what do we truly desire most? Is it the Lord, or is it the world? We cannot serve two masters. If you will not serve Him, you are better to not pick up His name and defile yourselves with the lie of claiming His name while you are still lost in the darkness – so that you might at least know that you are in darkness and expect what fate awaits you.
We will receive our heart’s desire – the question is whether or not our heart’s desire is the Lord.
May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed.
Psalms 20:4 NLT
We should examine ourselves and repent, friends, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you ; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT
And I pray that you are seeking God’s will and that this message is one of encouragement, but if this message of correction must tear down what is unworthy in your life today – better that it be torn down and rebuilt with a righteous life, rather than it all be burned away by the fires of judgement and you be left with nothing.
We pray to God that you will not do what is wrong by refusing our correction. I hope we won’t need to demonstrate our authority when we arrive. Do the right thing before we come—even if that makes it look like we have failed to demonstrate our authority. For we cannot oppose the truth, but must always stand for the truth. We are glad to seem weak if it helps show that you are actually strong. We pray that you will become mature. I am writing this to you before I come, hoping that I won’t need to deal severely with you when I do come. For I want to use the authority the Lord has given me to strengthen you, not to tear you down.
2 Corinthians 13:7-10 NLT