The Apostle Paul readily admits here that he’s not yet arrived at perfection in his spiritual life. So how come we think as soon as we become a Christian we’re a mature Believer that can’t fail? I Timothy 6:12 tells us to, “Fight the good fight of faith.” The journey of our Christian walk is going to be a struggle…it’s going to be a battle between good and evil, with us sometimes coming out of the skirmish bruised and battered. But we need to get back up and not allow failures to define who we are in God. Failures simply mean we’re still trying…and still fighting the good fight of faith.
Bread has been a staple of the human diet for centuries…it’s simple, filling, and easy to obtain. The Word is a lot like bread. In John 6:32-33 it says, “Jesus said to them, ‘I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jesus is the bread of life, and grasping ahold of His Word…being self-disciple in your study of it…will enable you to cherish and hide it deep in your heart. The Word is a lot like bread, it’s simple…just open the book. It’s filling…satisfying your very soul. And it’s easy to obtain…you can do it yourself.
Jesus taught the crowds that clamored around Him with parables…but when He was alone with His disciples, He would explain the meaning behind them. It tells us in Mark 4:10 that, “When He was alone, the Twelve and the others around Him asked Him about the parables.” Reading about God from some author isn’t the same as being alone with God yourself. Solitary time with God and His Word enables you to ask those tough questions you’re confused about. And as you probe deeper into His Word, that alone time with God becomes even more important…for it’s then that He can teach, edify, and exhort you.
Jesus had just told the Disciples that where He was going, they could not follow at that time. But impulsive Peter didn’t want to wait. Waiting on the Lord can be maddening at times. We think we know what to do…and so impatiently we attempt to steer the ship in that direction…only to do more harm than good. When God says, “Not now,” we need to be able to rest in it, knowing that His timing is perfect. And while we wait…we should strive to find delight in the delay and praise in the postponement…for it’s a chance to learn firsthand what patience and perseverance are all about.
God really does know who you are. To Him you’re not just a number or face in the crowd. Consider this Scripture in Psalms… “He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalm 147:4) Tonight go stand outside and look up…can you even begin to count the stars? So if this verse tells us God can name each one of those stars…how could you believe He doesn’t know your name? But it goes so much farther than that… for God not only knows who you are but is aware of every detail in your life, for nothing escapes Him.
When your motive of ministry to others is true…it is not only empowered by the Holy Spirit, but it’s powerful… impacting the total person. Your ministry doesn’t just tickle them with feel good, wishy-washy platitudes…it challenges them to a higher calling. The Christian journey should be an ever upwards climb filled with trials and tests that make us better…not a passive, apathetic walk where we are left weak and ineffective for the Lord.
The shepherds had just experienced the greatest light show ever…more sensational than the biggest fireworks display…more glorious than anything the world had ever seen. Mixed with their awe and wonder was excitement…they had just been told about the coming Messiah. No wonder they all agreed to, “go to Bethlehem and see this thing,(Rhema) the Lord has told us about.” They had been given God’s Word…the Greek word is Rhema…and their enthusiasm was infectious. And after they had found the Christ child, their elation didn’t wane, for in Luke 2:17 it tells us that, ” When they had seen Him, they spread the Word ( Rhema) concerning what they had been told about this child.” These plain, ordinary men were the very first missionaries, spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. They had no Theological degrees or advanced education… God’s Word had touched them and couldn’t contain their elation. They were compelled to tell others just as we should be. For the greatest story ever told is the one they spread…a Savior has been born to you; He is Jesus Christ the Lord.