The Life That Really Matters Part 2 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
The third decision recognizes the true nature of sin.
Sin will totally disrupt your relationship with God. If there’s sin in your life and you don’t deal with it, then your prayers are aborted.
You are still saved, but your prayers are ineffective. They are not effective because God never has and never will fellowship with sin.
Unconfessed sin separates the believer from the blessings of God, and it will separate the unbeliever from Him forever. Sin is like a dangerous disease that sometimes rages, sometimes subsides, but always leads to death. Sin has ruined multitudes of people. It destroys individuals, families and whole nations.
Friends, if you don’t deal with the sin in your life, God will. He’ll take you out behind His woodshed and paddle you. When God corrects His children it’s not pleasant. So when God in His Word shows you that what you are doing is sin, get over on God’s side and look at it.
You will have to agree with Him that what you did is wrong. Then you can confess your sins and He will forgive you.
Decision #4 acknowledges that no one ever reaches his or her greatest potential without a total commitment to Jesus Christ.
But someone may ask, “What do we have to do to be totally committed to Him?” It’s simple, you need to submit yourself to Him, and He will take it from there. You need to make Him #1 in your life; make Bible study and prayer a daily habit; and do your best to let others see Jesus in your life. That’s a big list and it’s hard to do, unless you yield yourself to Christ and allow His Spirit within to help you do all the other things. If you will truly serve Him, you will have no regrets. Unless Paul had made this same commitment, he would never have known the great life that he lived.
Therefore, Let’s Look At The Life That Paul Lived.
Paul described his life in his letter to the Galatians when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). I want to say four things about Paul’s life.
First, it was a victorious life.
In his letter to the Philippians, he wrote, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13). He knew what it was like to be humiliated and have very little even to the point of facing poverty. And he also knew what it was like to have plenty, to have more than enough, even to the point of facing prosperity. He had experienced being well-fed with a seven-course dinner. And he also experienced being hungry. Paul had suffered, because he had been in God’s school of discipline, and earned his advanced degree by taking post-graduate courses in difficulty.
Paul was a victor over every circumstance, not a victim of any circumstance. He adjusted well to the will of God. He had a great confidence in Christ, and so he said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” He knew he would continue to be strong through the One who infused power into him. Paul has strength as long as Christ keeps pouring the power into him. A living Christ on the inside is more than sufficient to endure the circumstances on the outside.
What Christ wants Paul to do, Christ enables Paul to do. Where the finger of God points, the hand of God provides the way. The person who lives a life that truly matters will reflect the same spirit of confidence that Paul had.
The second thing I want to say about Paul’s life is that it was a life that had a powerful impact.
The impact that Paul made on the world has reverberated through 2100 years. We still read what he wrote in his letters. It’s in the Bible and believed to be God inspired. He was the author of 13 books of the New Testament. And we know more about his life than we do of any other person in the New Testament, with the possible exception of Jesus.
We may never write a book, but we can make a difference in our world. Let’s start with our family and friends, because they are the ones that we can influence most for Christ. They’ll listen to you, because they love you. I know you want your loved ones to be with you in heaven, so do all you can to show them that they are sinners who need a Savior. Remember, Noah preached for 120 years and never won a soul, but his family believed, because they saw the life he led. God took Noah and his family through the flood and they were the ones that God used to begin the human race for the second time. Noah impacted his world and so can you.
The third thing I want to say about Paul’s life is that it reflected an adventurous spirit.
He wasn’t afraid to go into new territory. Before he met Jesus on the Damascus Road, he was the most aggressive persecutor of Christians. He pulled both men and women from their homes and dragged them off to prison. He even consented to their death. He hated this new religion, and he believed that it was God’s will for him to do all he can to stamp it out.
But Jesus changed him. He delivered Paul from himself and that always produces a sense of adventure.
After he met Jesus, he was no longer Saul the great persecutor; he became Paul, a devoted servant of Christ. He was just as bold when he preached about Jesus as he was before. He took on all adversaries. He presented the Gospel of Christ to the Jews and Gentiles; and to the religious leaders; and to kings, and to Roman soldiers; and to slaves and common people. He became God’s man and he wasn’t afraid to give anyone the gospel.
The last thing I want to say about Paul’s life is that it had a fruitful outcome.
Who could have possibly imagined that Saul, the great persecutor of Christians, would become Paul, who was possibly the greatest Christian of all time?
Would anyone have thought that he would write most of the New Testament or that he would have started many churches or that he would give the gospel to so many, including kings and common people? Paul’s life made an impact on the world of his day, and he is still impacting the world, since his letters became scripture. I believe that when he died and went to heaven, he heard Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Friends, we can make an impact on our world, too. We can impact it one person at a time. Tell someone about Jesus, and tomorrow tell someone else. Be kind to someone, help someone, give someone a smile, and no matter what you do, do it for God’s glory. There’s a rich sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that God has used us to help someone else.
No one can enjoy living in two worlds as Peter tried to do. However, many people today are doing just that. They claim to be a Christian, they go to church on Sunday, and they may even give to their church. But, on Monday morning they go to work and you can’t tell them from anyone else. It’s kind of like they stepped out of church and back into the world. They have the same lusts, bad habits and bad behavior that unbelievers have. This type of life will not make a Christian happy. They can’t be loyal to God and the world at the same time. It can tear you apart. The way to experience the life that really matters is to follow Paul’s example of total surrender to Jesus Christ. When you do that, He can use you to help build His church. You can experience His nearness, and His dearness, and His wisdom, and His strength. And you can have a joy and peace that only He can give.