In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul, rephrases this idea in I Corinthians 8:6, when he writes, “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.” Even though our feeble human minds have a difficult, almost impossible chance of understanding the sheer magnitude of this Scripture…let’s try. Everything has a starting point. But with God, He’s not only the starting point, He existed before the starting point. And so out of Him and only by Him all things were created…both in heaven and here on earth. And the last time I checked, “all” meant everything! So everything you see, hear, feel, smell, or taste came from your Heavenly Father. Why then, wouldn’t we want to give Him honor, praise, and adoration for what He’s done for us?
Left on our own, the human thought process is very self-centered. We’re always looking out for ourselves, our comfort, and well-being before thinking of others. This self-indulgent reasoning though separates us from God’s love. But where we were once an enemy of God, we can now be reconciled to Him through the death of His Son Jesus. (Romans 5:10) Once we were foes of God, but now we’re friends…once we were alienated, but now united by His Son, Jesus.
As people waited in the crowded lobby, I over-heard a kind looking elderly gentleman ask the young lady seated next to him a rather probing question. She was bent over her phone, oblivious to anything or one around her, when he asked, “What would you be doing right now if you weren’t on your phone?” His tone of voice was gentle and reflective, which completely caught the young lady off guard and rendered her speechless. His question though got my mind whirling! How can we show the agape love of Christ to others when we’re folded up like a flower over our phones? How can we be Jesus to those around us when we totally disengaged from our surroundings…detached and indifferent? This verse says we are to be united in love which takes dedicated involvement and connection…not self-isolation and selfishness.
As a Christian we live two lives. One is our inner life…or our vertical life. This is our very intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father and consists of prayer and Bible study. This vertical life is spent getting to know God. The other is our outer life…or our horizontal life. This is our relationship with others as an ambassador for Christ. It consists of being the hands and feet of Jesus. This horizontal life is spent showing the love of God to the unloved and unlovely. Both are vitally important and interdependent on each other…for both are necessary to a vibrant and growing Christian walk. Our vertical relationship with Christ sparks us to reach out horizontally to others with His love… which sends us back to Him to be refilled…only to be again compelled to reach out for Him.
This would be my prayer for you today also. That the Lord would accomplish in your life His plan and purpose… and you would be able to grasp the concept and see the relationship between knowing God and living for Him. You know God to live…in other words, you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ which leads to eternal life. But then, you live to know God…that is, you continue to faithfully walk with God, which develops this close, intimate relationship that only grows deeper every day. I pray that you would know God to live, and live to know God. Amen.
In ancient Greco-Roman Society, slaves were looked upon as a commodity…but often it was slaves that served in stations of great responsibly, with rank and privilege. Fast forward to modern times and the common work place. Your approach at work will speak louder than any Bible verse you have taped up at your desk. Your manner of helping others without an ulterior motive will shine brighter than any religious plaque . When you honor God in the everyday grind by being that positive, giving individual…(even when the boss isn’t watching)…you show others what it’s like to be Christ-like. Like the ancient slaves, you have been given great responsibility in your workplace…it’s to be an ambassador for Christ, and a lover of people.
We all want the very best for our children. We also may want them to succeed in areas where we didn’t…like Sports. But just because that “mini-me” looks like you, doesn’t mean he has any desire to be the football , basketball, or baseball star you weren’t back in the day. Pushing kids into activities they aren’t excited about will only exasperate and infuriate everyone. Each one of our children are unique individuals, with God- designed gifts, talents, and passions. By building on their strengths, we can foster what the Lord wants for them, rather than what we’d like to live vicariously through them.
Let’s look at this verse from the perspective of different generations. Read this verse to a young child and they’ll readily agree that they need to obey Mommy and Daddy…but the dance starts in the application of this into everyday living. As children grow, so does their autonomy. We draw a line in the sand and they push their big toe across it…just to see what happens! Let a teenager read this verse and you’ll probably get eye-rolling and an argument of every point…like, what exactly is the definition of obedience? And does everything mean “everything”? Finally, we read this as a parent or Grandparent, having gained a wealth of experience, wisdom, and insight… and we say, “Yes, Amen!” to this verse. For all those past experiences and circumstances have drilled into us the importance of obedience… not only to our parents, but to God.
I cringe inwardly every time I over hear a married couple bickering in public. It hurts my heart to hear a husband belittle his wife, and she return it with a volley of sharp and biting comments. The type of love in this verse that the Apostle Paul is talking about is a love rooted in the mind and will of the person, and means to value, esteem, prize…to treat as precious. The fastest way to embitter a person is to make them feel devalued, worthless, and unappreciated.
The act of water baptism is full of symbolism and meaning. For those watching, it’s a public declaration of the person’s inner decision. For the person being baptized, it’s a time of newness of soul and spirit. In Romans 6:4 it says, ” We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Therefore, within the action of water baptism, our old self dies, and our new self emerges out of the water.