Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Carnal Christians: These are people who believe themselves to be Christians, who are still slaves to sin. They don’t just struggle with day-to-day sin like we all do. They’ve given into serious sins and have come to the conclusion doing much better is either too much work, or unnecessary. Many are in the 1 Corinthians 6 camp and may not be saved in the end.
“Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Secular Christians: These are believers who go to church regularly, attend Bible studies, send their kids to Christian school and serve in the church. Good people who are living religiously. But they rarely fast, have extended times with God in prayer, and rarely look to God for guidance on important decisions they make. They spend their income and live their lives, first and foremost for their own pleasure.
“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” Luke 8:14
Christians on whom the Lord’s favor rests: These are true followers of Jesus who think deeply about the will of God for their lives and call upon God nearly every day to use them to bless others. They’d rather serve, than be served and their lives show real fruit.
“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23
Like Jesus So, in this next year, 2018, will this be said of you?
“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52
Do you have God’s favor? Of course God loves and has forgiven you, because of his Son. But there’s a commonly believed myth that because God loves us, he couldn’t possibly be angry, or unhappy with us- that he loves us in spite of our behavior. If you believe that, there’s no point reading on. But if you agree with my assertion , then the questions are, “Are you growing in favor with God. Will you be more admired by God this year than last? Is this the trajectory of your life, that people see in you a godliness, generosity and servants heart that inspires them to do the same? Is God pleased with you?”
My life verse is this: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
I’m not there yet, but that’s my goal. So, I generally take a full day in January every year, alone to reflect on the past year and do a “report card” on myself. After extended prayer, I make a list of things about my life that I believe pleases God and brings him glory. And I write a second list of private and public behaviors or thoughts that hinder me from living out the kind of life that wins God’s favor.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1
Question: If Jesus were to give you a report card of your life in 2017, how would you fair?
How following Jesus works in real life.
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