Work Out Your Salvation
- Our eating habits. We don’t know for sure, but I don’t think that Jesus overate. I’m guessing he ate what was necessary for his life and ministry. We know that there were those who traveled with him and cooked for his entire ministry team. Martha loved putting on a good meal. I’m sure that Jesus enjoyed eating a good meal with those around him, but he didn’t let food define who he was. Walking everywhere that he went, he would have gotten more than 10,000 steps in daily.
- Forgiving those who hurt us. Jesus refused to allow the attitudes of others to define who he was. He graciously forgave those around him, and even went out of his way to provide a pathway for their salvation.
- Ministering to the margins. Jesus hung out with people that others would have claimed were “unclean.” He intentionally went to those who were living at the margins and provided a pathway for transformation.
- Living a life of sexual purity. Yes, Jesus is an example for us, and Paul is continually speaking to God’s people that they are not to be engaged in the sexual practices of the day. The first century Roman Empire was a society in which all kinds of sexual acts were approved by the different religions. The Emperor was known to have married a young boy. The temple prostitutes were sanctioned to “help” people to worship. In the city of Corinth it’s known that the city was rampant with sexually transmitted diseases. Married men had relations with their wives so that they would bear children, but in the meantime found other male and female partners to satisfy their “passions.” To be a follower of Christ was to embrace a completely different lifestyle, one which would seem entirely at odds with the prevailing attitudes of the surrounding world.
- Honesty and Transparency become defining factors. Truth has, at times, taken a hit and probably needs to be practiced on a regular basis. It’s far too easy to speak into the grey areas, and yet, truth should be boldly pronounced and lived out in the life of the believer. Transparency should be a virtue, for Christ-followers ought to be those who have nothing to hide. This includes faithful financial stewardship and care of God’s resources.
- Prayer. Spending time in prayer becomes transformational and life sustaining for the Christ-follower. This is the place in which we are brought into intimate fellowship with the Triune God. Time must be set-aside for prayer. This isn’t just a five minute a day relationship with God, but a genuine intimate two-sided conversation in which we become vulnerable enough to have God tell us where we need to grow and mature.
- Scripture. Studying and reading the scriptures helps them to become a part of the fiber of our very being. Just recently I stopped to reflect on the years in which I’ve been spending this time in the word and journaling (blogging). It started out slow and methodical, and yet, I kept learning more and more. Now, I struggle to get through a chapter! (As you’ve probably already learned) Something else has happened and it’s been reflected in my preaching. I may prepare a sermon but in the moment God seems to draw something out of me, and I’m surprised. What I’ve discovered recently is that this slow plodding, spending time in the word for years is suddenly bubbling out of me in unexpected ways. The well of knowledge of the word and God is continually taking me deeper and filling my life, and God is using that to speak to others.