John, September SOAP Journal

Choosing a Path to Take ~ John 3:19

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Scripture ~

The Light from heaven came into the world, but they loved the darkness more than the Light, for their deeds were evil. ~ John 3:19

Observation ~

This scripture is telling us that there is a distinct choice we make while living on this earth: We either embrace God’s Light and walk in it, or we embrace the world and it’s selfish and sinful ways and walk in that path instead.

  • The mistreatment of others to gain financial wealth.
  • Parents neglecting to nurture their children and their needs, and instead live a life that brings them pleasure.
  • The obsession with the Internet and all it offers – news, social media, opinions and debates of others.
  • Easily neglecting marriage and giving up vows out of boredom or desires for someone else.
  • Ignoring the way God intended marriage and gender to be, and instead allowing anything and everything as acceptable.

All of these above statements are what the world holds and clings to right now. There is nothing to debate or question, it is simply a matter of God says one thing about these issues, and the world claims another way. It is a fact that the tangible Bible that we hold commands a path for holy living, which is opposite from the world’s path, which commands self-centered living.

Application ~

It’s clear that you can’t take both paths – God’s path and the world’s path. I guess in a way you could, by picking and choosing a little bit from God’s path and a little bit from the world’s path, but this makes one lukewarm in everything they do.

So here’s the choice we’re given –

Walk in the Light or walk in the darkness.

Walk along God’s path or walk along the world’s path.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

~ Robert Frost

I can apply John 3:19 to my life by choosing to walk in the Light. To choose to cling to God’s way and His Word instead of clinging to the self-centered standards of worldly living. To literally cling to God, knowing I don’t know all the answers and I’m not perfect, but I can choose what I cling to, what I hold on to, what fill my time and attention to.

I can’t control what path anyone around me chooses, and sadly, some who are closest to me choose not to walk in the path of Light. All I can do is choose the path I will take, and do the best I can do in my walk. Hopefully, through example and prayer, some who are not on God’s path will cross over eventually.

Prayer ~

Lord, your way is narrow. Not many walk along your calm and peaceful path – little distraction. simplicity. love. truth. selfless ambition. shutting out the world’s noise and embracing your quiet wisdom. But I choose to walk along this path you’ve paved for me. A path that shines with Light above and grace below. May You keep me on Your path. This treasured, less traveled path. ~ Amen

*Can you believe we’re already in the second week of September! That means we’re half-way through SOAPing September’s chapters. I get so much out of the SOAP method, I hope you are too!

We’ll be back next week to continue reading through God’s Word with you!

devotionals, John

The Meaning of Your Life

There are 3 things that are those entire meaning of your life. You carry these 3 meanings with you at all times. These 3 meanings of your life can’t be taken away or lost.

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All 3 meanings are the same for every person. Here they are:

  1. Salvation – to receive the gift of Christ’s grace, and begin your walk with God for eternity.

When you go through life trying and trying to be good enough, feel good enough, achieve enough, but still fall short you realize you need more. You need more power and authority than you possess to help you achieve what you can’t on your own. You need a constant source of forgiveness and second chances. You need a Savior. And you accept Jesus as your Savior – the One who says you are forgiven, you are blameless, you are pure, you have love, guidance, and help through this life. Just because we receive salvation once doesn’t mean we will never sin again! We sin daily, and God reminds us that even though our salvation is sealed, we should still confess our sins to Him daily.

This is salvation – your soul surrendering to Jesus and allowing Him to cover your faults and mistakes in the eyes of God so you can have a relationship with God now, and for the rest of eternity.

2. Sanctification – to become Christ-like by abiding in Christ daily.

Now that you have salvation, you can begin your walk with Jesus, and allow Him to have a great influence over you. This is called sanctification – you start changing your perception and attitude, because Jesus now lives within your heart and soul and His influence within you is powerful enough to change the way you think. He is the Leader of the most inward parts of your heart, soul, and mind, and becomes the Leader of your life.

The way to achieve powerful sanctification is by abiding in Christ. You abide in Christ in two ways – by reading scripture and praying. The more you read scripture and pray, the more you are abiding in Christ. The more you abide in Christ the more influence He has over your heart, mind, and soul. The amount of influence you allow Christ to have within you results in the amount of Christ-likeness you become.

Notice that it is Christ’s influence within you that results in becoming Christ-like, not your own efforts to become like Christ. It is Him within you that changes who you are, not you trying to change simply by adjusting certain behaviors. And the only way Jesus can take a powerful influence over you is to abide in Him by reading scripture and praying. We have such short attention spans, it takes daily reading of scripture and praying to truly abide in Christ. John 1:1 says that The Word is Christ, therefore when you spend time reading the Bible, you are abiding in Christ.

3. Glorification – to pour out on others what God has poured into you.

Now you have salvation – you walk around blameless and pure, without any blemishes or faults in God’s eyes.

You have sanctification – you are abiding in Christ by reading scripture and praying daily, and as a result of Christ’s great influence within you, you are starting to think and act more like Christ and less like your impulsive self.

Now it’s time for glorification. This is where you pour out to others what Christ is pouring into you. Love, forgiveness, gentleness, patience. As you give these gifts to others you are glorifying Christ – because it is only Him within you that allows you to be so loving, forgiving, and patient with others. To glorify Christ means you bring to light His character upon others, which is love, joy, patience, self-control, and gentleness. The only way to do this is through meaning #2 – by abiding in Christ daily. If you try to do this on your own without reading scripture or praying, your efforts will seem like work and a chore, rather than a sincere pouring out of Christ within you.

Your marriage, your children, the people you work with – these are all the people God has placed in your life so you can glorify Him to them. These are the people God wants to share His love, patience, and gentleness with through you. They are not the meaning of your life or your purpose. Remember the meaning of your life is to receive salvation, abide in Christ, and then share the love, patience, joy, and gentleness Christ has shared within you to others.

This was a message I heard over the weekend at church. This is the meaning of your life and everyone around you – to receive Christ’s forgiveness, to abide in Christ daily, and to share the love Christ pours into you while you’ve been abiding in Him with others.

He must increase, but I must decrease. ~ John 3:30