A message dated July 9, 2017 from Melvin Gaines:
Many people regard the following passage of Scripture as an important belief, and they probably don’t even know it has biblical application:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
How are they following this Scripture as a tenet? Well, there is an ongoing emphasis of health and wellness today, and many people exercise on a regular basis and watch what—and how much—they eat for every meal each day. There are virtually no arguments against following a healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle. Both promote a life of greater energy and endurance. In order to live a healthy lifestyle, you have to make a firm commitment to do this in order to make it work. This commitment for good health is setting a standard that is worth keeping. Good health comes from following this healthy standard.
In order to recognize or acknowledge achievement, you need to a basic set of standards. From those standards, you have a baseline for performance and expectations, and you can set personal goals to measure your progress.
We are often judged on our performance in many areas of our life. It certainly has application as to how we perform as Christians—as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. Our standards are already in place. The Bible sets the standard, and there are expectations when it comes to the implementation of God’s Word throughout your life.
We must have standards. Problems for us in life occur when we fail to recognize standards and baselines. Failing to acknowledge these issues as a believer in Jesus Christ is tragic. To know who Jesus Christ is and fail to make an effort to live for Jesus Christ is indeed an ongoing tragedy. Scripture implores believers to stay after it, stay the course, fight the good fight, and I’ll add the words, “don’t give up” and “never give up.” To give up is to give in to Satan’s treachery.
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
This attitude is a selflessness that means that you will not give in to the flesh or fear the fiery arrows of Satan’s attacks (Psalm 76:3; Ephesians 6:16). Being a believer means trusting in the One who overcomes this opposition. The shield of faith stops the fiery arrows of the devil.
We can’t give up.
We cannot compromise on God’s standard.
God’s standard requires reverence for who He is.
As we learn more about who He is, we recognize that we must live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
As it is stated in 2 Timothy 4:7, we must KEEP THE FAITH.
For those who don’t know Jesus Christ, failure to acknowledge Him as Lord is nothing short of catastrophic. It requires a baseline that means you need a Savior, you need forgiveness, and that you desire freedom.
John 8:34b-36 CSB
Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.
Once you become a believer, you now have a new set of standards. You have transformed yourself from being dead in Christ to being alive in Christ. A new set of standards sets up your progression in Christ and for Christ—but you have to accept and follow those standards.
Without standards, baselines, or whatever you want to call them, there will be no progress…no measurement…no achievement…no success.
Jesus Christ tells us that He is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30), and He refers to Himself in this way because being a Christian today can be very, very difficult. His standards are clear for us, but the flesh makes our efforts to follow them much more difficult. In our own efforts, His standards and baselines for achievement are virtually impossible, and that’s because it is not our effort that garners blessings from God nearly as much as it is our faith in Him. Our desire to live according to his standards requires faith.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Without faith, there cannot be a standard with which we can achieve, grow and excel, because it is not your own achievements, success or accolades that come from serving God—it is because He enables you to be successful! Your success is His success!
He is glorified when we stand in the gap before Him (Ezekiel 22:30).
He is glorified when we reach out to those who are less fortunate (Deuteronomy 15:11)!
He is glorified when we maintain a lifestyle that honors Him!
He is glorified when we abstain from sex before marriage!
He is glorified when we take a stand for Him!
Jesus Christ wants to see your success as you remain faithful to Him. He provides the standards, and He helps you with setting your goals and expectations.
Why do we need goals and expectations as believers? Because we need to find ways to measure our progress. Progress with what? Being an effective disciple for Jesus Christ? Is that a good measurement? It certainly is.
After Jesus Christ spent time with His disciples, He turned them loose on the world and told them to go into all the world and preach the gospel. This was after months of training, counseling and personal reflection. This training established His standard for living.
When it comes to your personal study and preparation, your personal relationship with Jesus Christ means everything in your success. He enables you, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to be successful in your efforts to live according to His standards. Your success means that Jesus Christ will be glorified.
As a reminder—our success does not mean perfection. Our success is defined by being able to run the race and keeping the faith. Note that the disciples, and everyone before them and after them, had failures. Failures happen within the midst of our efforts to strive for success. Our failures do not define us. Our success is what people see when we fight the good fight and keep the faith! Our failures move us to prayer and seeking after Him for forgiveness and mercy. Our desire for success, and meeting His standards for living, drive us to move forward.
This may come across as something like a motivational speech…and it does…but there is one important difference between this and any other motivational speech. Most speeches put the focus on yourself and yourself alone in trying to rise above adversity and achieving at a high level. This message centers on your success BECAUSE of your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and that your success means that He will be glorified, and not yourself.
Your living in His IMAGE, making a PACT with Jesus Christ, and working in the body of Christ with FOCUS will make a difference in a world that is constantly searching for meaning.
Jesus Christ will be glorified. It has happened in the past, and it happens today and every day, and it will happen in the future. It is happening because someone is living according to the standards that He has put forth in His Word. Someone is standing in the gap. Someone is reaching out to those less fortunate. Someone is making the commitment, in spite of opposition or temptation or ridicule, to live a lifestyle that honors Jesus Christ.
Will that someone be you?
Will you be the one that stands in the gap and upholds His standards?
Your study, your prayers, and your reverence for Jesus Christ reflect your commitment to Him.
It takes guts to live for Jesus Christ.
Your guts for His glory.
If you don’t think you have given as much as you can to uphold God’s standards, won’t you make that commitment today?