This is Part V in a series where we are all striving to reach a new “personal best” in our relationship with God. Last time we looked at “living sacrifices”, and how we can grow in our faithful, daily sacrifices.
In this study we focus on the need to go beyond good intentions. It is easy to fall into the trap of “Someday, I’ll …”.
We pretend that the intention is good enough. Here are some scriptures to start:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.
James 1: 22 -25
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Galatians 6: 7-10
Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
God used James to explain that it’s what we do that matters; it’s what we do that God blesses, it’s what we do that shows our faith is genuine and not fake.
"His divine powr has given us everything we need for life and godliness"
II Peter 1:3-4
The more we realize God really has given us everything we need to live a godly life, we should ask 'What are we doing with the “everything” God gave us?' The more we think about The good results won’t happen unless we put our faith into action, making godly plans and then following through.
Do good to everyone: Jesus was like God. Jesus was good to everyone, even the people who opposed, ignored, or rejected him. He used Peter and Paul to call all Christians to do the same. See I Peter 3:9, I Corinthians 4:10-13 and Galatians 6:10
Prioritizing is important: Even with 24 hours in a day, we run out of time, energy, and resources before we run out of good things we can do. Galatians 6:10 tells us that the major (but not exclusive) focus should be the family of believers. Why? Because ...
• They have already made a commitment to God and Jesus. We help each other keep the commitment.
• The way we treat disciples is the way we treat Jesus (Matthew 25: 31ff).
• Our love for each other shows us as Jesus’ disciples (John 13: 34-35).
• Our unity proves Jesus came from God (John 17:20-23).
Encouragement is always needed: A powerful way to go beyond good intentions, do good to all people, and strengthen God’s household is to encourage other disciples. Words, cards, serving them, quality time, a listening ear, discussing their gifts and talents, sharing Scriptures, and praying for them are some of the many ways you can put your faith into action.
Focus on doing what’s right (1 John 3:7), and write down what happens when you do. You’ll be amazed.
Action Ideas for Part V :
A. Think about the last few weeks. If you haven’t started trying to grow your relationship with God yet, now is the best time. Even if you have been growing, it’s likely there are a few things still on your “I should” list that belong on your “I’ve started” list or your “It’s done” list. Pick something today, and get started on it. That’s what this week is all about.
B. Study out and memorize Hebrews 13: 15-16. How does this connect this quiet time’s focus on action with the last study’s focus on sacrifice >>>?
C. Which needs more effort from you: Bible study or prayer? That’s the one to emphasize this week. Set a goal that will stretch you. Get started.
D. Encourage. Encourage someone each day. Pick several different people over the course of the week. You’ll get encouraged at the same time.
Links to previous Quiet Times
Next Study: Active Ambassadors