This week's memory verse:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" -- 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am so amazed at God's timing! Our First Place 4 Health group was a week late starting our next Bible study lesson, and this book is not calendar related at all...but the week 2, day 5 lesson for today is PERFECT for this Good Friday! I am touched by what I read and was reminded of this morning.
People are watching you all the time...no, I don't mean like "Big Brother is watching," but your family, friends, coworkers, and your community sees how you act every day. If you are living a godly life, being obedient to God in how you behave, work, live, and treat others, those around you see that. They also see when you aren't living right as well, and they also see when you claim to be living in God and aren't. People are watching...
While that seems like a lot of pressure, it is also an incredible honor as well. Titus 2:11-14 says that we are to stay away from ungodliness, worldly passions and self indulgence, and we are to be self controlled, making good choices, and live God honoring lives. 1 Peter 2:11-12 says we are to be examples - not indulging in our selfish and sinful desires - when the world sees us living this obedient life and the joy and hope that comes with it, they might desire to have what we have and be drawn closer to their own relationship with God. While our primary reason for being obedient to God is to bless the heart of God and show Him our thanks for all that He has given us, an added benefit is to work into hearts of those who don't know God.
What does this have to do with Good Friday, you ask? Read Colossians 1:21-23. God's plan to save the human race that He created involves one heart at a time. He sent Christ, his son, to earth for a reason. Christ gave himself freely for us, actually dying for us - this brought us over from our sin and it's consequences of death to God's side, putting our broken lives back together so God can see us as whole and holy once again, as He intended in the beginning. In order for God to see us this way, we must believe and trust in Christ and God's plan and stay grounded in God THROUGH Christ.
What Christ did on that dark Friday thousands of years ago was for US! He was criticized, mocked, beaten, spat upon, and ultimately died that day....he didn't have to....he could have chosen not to...but he did it all freely because he knew he was the most important part of God's plan for us and he wanted God to be glorified for THOUSANDS of years because of what he did. What he did was not easy...
Living a godly life is not easy. Knowing people are watching you is not easy. Sometimes knowing that we are to honor God in everything we do is overwhelming. We CAN'T live up to what God wants us to be. THAT is why Good Friday and Easter is so important and significant...we don't HAVE to be perfect! We strive to live Godly lives, but when we mess up, we remember what Christ did for us and how HE makes us whole and holy in God's eyes!
Carol Lewis, the national director of First Place 4 Health has some great advice for us..."Start right where you are." That means taking whatever positive step is right in front of you..."do the next right thing." Don't stress about trying to live a perfect life without indulgent sin...don't worry about people watching you and waiting for you to mess up...Believe and trust in what Christ did for you that dark Friday long ago, and just do the "next right thing."