Fired

The rising sun cast a rosy hue across the morning sky. This was THE DAY. The day that I would find out if I still had a job. If I still had a credential. As I briskly walked into the administration office, I could sense the irateness of the HR director. The words that came out of her mouth slowly sputtered out “You are terminated.” Terminated for what? Separation of Church and State.

What happened? How did Michael Suzuki get fired? I’ll start off by saying that I love the kids I teach. They are in 7th grade and I always knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was a child. Sometimes, you just know. You know what your God-given desires are and what you are called to do. Investing in the next generation is an important task. A task that impacts the futures and destinies of those being taught. Live out your convictions- more words I learned from the Pastors that I have grown up with over the years. Now it was all coming to fruition- Everything I believed was going to be tested in this moment. Would I cave into the culture and live out what I believe?

One student asked, “Do you support the LBGTQ community?” Was this a legitimate question? Was this a setup? I’m not sure but I just answered truthfully. Students were claiming to be homosexual and Christian. Out of love, I told them that it’s not possible to be homosexual and Christian. I gave them the Gospel message and told them that being a Christian is about the heart. We are sinners in need of God’s grace. To be a Christian, one must repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He was raised from the dead and is the only one who can forgive sins. This is our hope. An habitual, unrepentant lifestyle of any sin is characteristic of an unbeliever. It’s not possible to be homosexual and Christian. Unbelievers are going to hell but there is hope in the Gospel message.

God is working through this. I’m just thankful I had the opportunity to give the Gospel message to the students that are deceived. The ones that think they can be homosexual and Christian. In fact, we can’t be heterosexual and Christian if we are living in unrepentant, habitual fornication either. The Gospel frees from the Power and Penalty of sin toward new desires and a new heart that wants to obey. God can use this as a means for salvation to accomplish His purposes.

What now? I’m not sure what the future holds. I’m being diligent in applying to jobs and am open to anything at this point. But I don’t live for a job. Katie Davis Majors once said- “the Gospel of Jesus Christ changes people’s lives and their eternity. And that’s worth spending my life for.” We aren’t all called to be missionaries but we are called to be faithful to the Gospel message and proclaim Christ. It’s a message of utmost value. Like Diamonds. However, diamonds do not last forever. EVEN diamonds eventually turn into graphite over billions of years. It may seem like diamonds have supreme value and last forever but the Gospel message never goes away and is infinitely more valuable than diamonds because it affects eternity. Lets remain faithful to what has eternal value. Infinite value. What do you value with your life and are we willing to stand up for the truth? Could I do it again? I’m not sure. I was never looking to get fired but the Holy Spirit enabled me to stand firm. The goal is to be faithful and one day, He will say good job faithful servant. Lets live for that day and influence those around us! Let the love of Christ indwell your heart so much that we would want to give the message because of what He has done for us. For one day we will give an account with how we stewarded our time, what we said, and how we impacted the Kingdom of God. Judgment is coming for unbelievers and Glory awaits those that are saved. What a great truth we can set our minds and hearts on as we try to be representatives and ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. Stay faithful.

Graciousness

3 Gs For A Better Life : Gratitude, Graciousness and Generosity ...

Today I came across a post by Jim martin. Here is what he said are the 10 qualities of graciousness.

A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise. 

A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another. Humiliating another is not in this person’s vocabulary.  (And
please don’t say something that humiliates another and then try to escape responsibility by saying, “I was only joking.”)
A gracious person is always thanking others.  Do you go through an entire day without thanking another? 

A gracious person doesn’t monopolize the conversation. Someone else has something to offer.
A gracious person doesn’t try to play one-upmanship. (That’s nothing, you should have seen what I did!”) 

A gracious person pays attention to people. Sometimes people come away from such conversations saying, “He made me feel like I was the most important person at that moment.”
A gracious person desires to say what is appropriate. He doesn’t just say what is on his mind or whatever he might be thinking. (There is no redeeming value in emptying one’s mind of whatever fleeting thought has happened to land at the moment.)

A gracious person looks out for the comfort of others.<!–
A gracious person understands that she is not indispensable. You’ve
seen this person.  She desires constant attention.  She has a way of
constantly focusing most any conversation back on herself.  There is a
humility in realizing that you are dispensable. A gracious person constantly points out the good that he sees  “Would you like a cup of coffee?  What about a coke?  Can I get you a newspaper while I’m out?”

A gracious person looks for the good.  Maybe
you are visiting a friend who lives in another place.  Instead of
pointing out the inadequacies of your friend’s community, you are
constantly finding things that are good.  “This cafe has outstanding
peach pie!  That was delicious.”  “I just love the way you have planted
your garden.  It is beautiful!” 

That’s a great list! What else would I add?

Gracious people are gracious to everyone regardless of what they’ve done. They have an innate ability to make the day of other people better. People have needs including respect, being highly valued, feeling important, and conversing with others. They are slow to get frustrated, angry, or make assumptions but quick to love, interact, invite, elevate, and be a blessing to others through their words and deeds. Being warm, welcoming, elevating others, making others comfortable, being easy to talk to, being open to talk to, and thinking the best of others are great qualities for a gracious person to have. Gracious people will make your day better; you’ll look forward to meeting them and interacting with them.

Do you have any other thoughts on the quality of being gracious? I’d love to hear your comments.

 

 

 

Gossip

gossip

“I have never seen adultery send a whole church into meltdown. Gossip is perceived as a little sin but it destroys church.” -Unknown

Wow. What a statement. I’m not sure who wrote that but that woke me up. Gossip can be seen as an accepted sin in any community. And the fact is that it is accepted. The problem is that sin is sin and there’s no such thing as a sin that is accepted. We need to repent! I’ve even heard gossip about people that are passionate about scripture, posting verses, on fire for God. We need more of that. We don’t need more passive men but people that are on a holy pursuit of righteousness and character.

Why do I feel a need to write about Gossip?

I’m concerned about the unity of the church. I’m concerned that this particular sin is justified and accepted. I need a review of this. It’s a communal effort and I think we need a good understanding of the implications. What is Gossip and how do we handle it?

Definition-

Gossip is speaking against someone that you would never say to their face. (Speaking negatively against someone and running their reputation.) It has an inverse relationship to flattery.

Flattery- Saying something to someone that you would never say behind their back. It’s telling someone nice things that aren’t true.

What are some implications of Gossip?

  1. At the core of Gossip is a sense to lift yourself up and put someone else down. We feel a sense of superiority over another person.
  2. Sows distrust among people
  3. Harms our spiritual witness and faith. How can someone trust you with the Word of God and what He says when you are gossiping all the time?
  4. Destroys your integrity- Gossips are perceived as having worse characters. If someone gossips about others, they are likely gossiping about you.
  5. Harms or ends friendships
  6. Ruins reputations

From Midwestern Seminary:

  • Gossip is a sly and sneaky sin that can destroy the unity of a church.
  • Gossip points to self importance; ministry and service point to the importance of others.
  • There is never a time when gossip helps or builds up.
  • Once gossip is out about someone, it’s hard to correct it if it’s false.
  • Gossip not only hurts the reputation of the subject, but of those who pass it on as well.
  • If someone gossips about someone to you, they’d likely gossip about you to someone else.
  • Gossip is a very evil and destructive force within the church.
  • Churches should have an environment of trust that does not allow for gossip.
  • Every church covenant should address gossip.

Gossip has the power to damage careers, ministry, and families. How can we respond in a Godly with Gossip?

Think. Are you part of the problem or solution? If not it’s gossip. Are you listening to a gossiper? That’s a form of gossip because you are saying you are ok with the gossip. That you have an attentive ear to what they are saying. Shut it down.

Play the role of advocate- stick up for the defenseless person in the conversation- the person not in the room. Say something good about them or like we don’t have all the facts.

What is our typical response when someone hurts or offends us? We tell 10 friends and gossip about them, ruining their reputation. I think the correct response is to solve the problem with that particular person instead of damaging their reputation. If we can’t still work it out, go to the elders.

Last things

Talking about someone really has two options. We can say words that are life giving or life depleting. We can begin to see Gossip as facts when they are actually only rumors. We can look at a person through the lens of the gossip or through the lens of scripture. We can start assuming things about people including their motivations for everything they do. It’s not healthy and it’s never edifying.

How do you respond to the person being gossiped about?

Maybe you see this person in real life. There are rumors going around. We need to love this person. I think true love starts with the mind. When you engage in conversations with this person, what are you thinking? Are you thinking about the gossip or just trying to love this person genuinely? Are you maintaining eye contact and expressing body language that suggests genuine interest in this person or are you being cold and disregarding your brother? Do you look down on this person? What is your motivation for engaging with this person? Yes, we need to have unity in the church but that isn’t the ultimate motivation. The motivation  is a genuine love for beleivers and unbelievers. Its about forming love into our character as a pattern of life because of the Gospel. Its about sanctification and setting an example for others to follow. We have a responsibility to love others well through our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have a responsibility to care about the unity of the church. Lets get back to treating gossip as a serious sin and love as an essential responsibility.

Where’s the Line Between Helpful Info-Sharing and Office Gossip?

Kobe Bryant

-One day I’m going to teach. And I’m going to tell them about Kobe Bryant.

Image result for kobe bryant leadership

My first basketball experience-

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. I saw kids playing basketball at the courts when I was about 13. I never played basketball. Ever. But I just jumped in. My philosophy has always been that sometimes we need to just take a risk, fail miserably, and learn from our mistakes. I’ve never been one to sit on the sidelines. If you don’t try, you’ll never know how good you are. I’d rather fail miserably than wonder what if and not take action. So I did. I jumped in with no experience. And I made a fool of myself. (Literally running with the basketball like a football player.) But that’s ok. I learned how to play basketball. I learned about traveling, double dribble, goal tending, how to defend, how to shoot, screening, etc. I learned a lot. Kobe inspired me. I saw him on TV in the finals against the Celtics. I saw him win multiple championships. And I always pondered-

How does one get to THAT level? And what’s the definition of success?

Mentors-

Most of us have someone we can look up to. Whether that be your dad, your mom, a sports figure, etc. They’ve done it. They’ve been there. Kobe looked up to MJ. Everyone did. Kobe asked questions from great people so he could learn and execute. It’s amazing to me how children tend to emulate the characteristics of the people they most respect. Kobe used to bring is daughter aged 15 to come work out with him at 4 AM. That’s what we need. We need people to challenge us. Convict us. Encourage us.

The Legacy Of Kobe Bryant

Image result for kobe bryant career accolades

Quotes from Kobe-

Losing is a good thing. It means your weaknesses are exposed. Find the answer for success. Collect data on what went well. What needs to improve. Have an honest conversation. Face it. Learn from it.

“If you put in the work, anything is possible”

“Getting great at something is just math. If you are putting in 2-3 hours a day and everyone else is putting in 1.5 hours a week, you start gaining separation.”

“Are you doing everything you can to be the best version of yourself?

“Winners don’t make excuses. Do you want to be the best? Come with me. You want second place? Go somewhere else. ”

“Reach A level you don’t think is possible.”

-Leaders make tactical adjustments and are very specific. They don’t just say we are going to get better. They know how and tell their team.

Image result for Kobe bryant passing to shaq

Stories of Kobe

-He pulled back and didn’t score 40 pts a game so Shaq could move forward

-Shooting in the dark…..at 4 AM

-Watching every single game and learning every minute detail of how to improve……and how to help his teammates improve. Even analyzing the energy between the teammates.

Putting it all together

The loss of Kobe was tragic indeed. It happened just a few weeks ago. But his influence lives on. We’ve all been in Kobe’s shoes when he didn’t score one point as a 10 year old in a basketball league. But he didn’t get discouraged. He made a menu of skills and started practicing relentlessly every day. Jordan was cut from his sophomore basketball team in high school; but he persevered. Whenever I fail, I look to how the greats persevered through their trials and continued on. I reflect on how I was 13 and just jumped in to a basketball game. Kobe is part of that. Fail. Look like a fool. Lose. Let your weaknesses be exposed. Get better. Don’t make excuses. Have a great work ethic. And inspire the people around you. I like that. Set a goal and go for it. Nothing comes easy and it for sure didn’t come easy for Kobe Bryant. Inspire the people around you. I’d also add check your heart. We always need to have the proper motivation for what we do. Thank you Kobe.

From the Legend, John Wooden-UCLA Basketball Coach

Image result for john wooden definition of successImage result for john wooden definition of success

Counseling Well

 

 

 

biblical counseling.png

I love getting counsel and trying to understand how to live life better. I’ve had the opportunity to be counseled from different students fulfilling their clinical practice requirement at the university they attend. I’ve received good counsel and bad counsel from people I consider Godly; probably better men than me. In the future, I want to make sure I can counsel well and help others counsel well. Below are a few observations of how we should counsel well that I’ve learned throughout the years-

1) Focus on what they are doing right

Our brothers and sisters should be doing something right. I mean, if they are true Christians, they will be producing fruit of some kind. We can encourage them in how they are loving others well, serving in the church, etc. Counseling can seem like such a formal process sometimes. What a blessing it would be to do it with someone you consider a dear friend.

2) Don’t make assumptions

It’s easy to make assumptions about other people. Sometimes, we tend to make the biggest assumptions about people we barely even know; people we have almost never talked to. We draw conclusions about others based on rumors and inaccurate information. It happens all the time. I’d encourage everyone and myself to be careful with our words and draw on the facts that you know for sure. And if the facts lead you to believe something sinful about that person, we can encourage that person with the Word of God. Even through the trials of life, we need to have an attitude of encouragement. We are all sinners and we need each other. Be that person to encourage others.

3) Empathy and Selfishness

When someone expresses a desire of theirs, we can automatically say that they are selfish, sinful, and prideful. While this may be true, I think there is a time and place for that. People need empathy and want to feel like someone understands where they are coming from. Below are some characteristics of empathy that I feel are important really not just for counseling but for relationships in general:

Characteristics of Empathy

1.  validate

People need their feelings validated. They need to hear that they aren’t alone and that you can see where they are coming from.

Example: If someone tells you that they are sad because of situation x, it’s important to show them you care and see where they are coming from. Saying something like I’ve been in situation x and have never been sad because of situation x is focusing on yourself. We have to remember that just because we experienced a certain situation and felt a certain way doesn’t mean that it can affect another person a different way. You can validate how someone feels even if you don’t necessarily feel the same way in that particular situation.

2. Attitude

Although it seems simple, I know that godly people can get frustrated with other peoples sin. Our attitude needs to convey that of someone that wants to talk to that person, is there for them, and genuinely wants the best for them. In the best counseling situations I’ve experienced, I leave feeling like the person cares, has empathy, and has directed me toward the Word of God to see my sin. That is quite a skill and is hard to implement! Sometimes its easy to think that counseling is about fixing the other person with God’s Word. But it’s not. It’s about loving the other person with the Word of God and realizing that there really isn’t anything we can do to fix that person. We can influence their heart but ultimately, only God can fix that person and that person’s heart.

4) Getting Counsel

I highly encourage people seeking counsel to focus on getting counsel from older leaders in the church and not their peers; even if they are on staff. I do believe that young people can have great things to say and can have lots of wisdom. However, I also know that young people haven’t experienced a lot of things in life that older people have. Sometimes, older leaders in the church have been through more counseling situations and will have a better perspective on the topic.

5) Make definitive plans and follow up

Sometimes the person getting counseled needs a date to follow up on. We need to see how they are doing and get a better picture of the situation later on. Make the sacrifice and spend a little bit of time with this person and be a blessing.

Conclusion

I’m just making observations. I believe that if people I consider very godly can make some of these mistakes, I’m prone to make these mistakes too and I probably have. I hope  that in the future I can help counsel well in all contexts whether that be with friends, in the church, or with my wife if God provides one. All for the glory of God and His name.

 

 

Inclusion and Unity

Image result for the unity of the church"

Years ago I remember wanting to get into a Bible study desperately. I needed God’s Word. I wanted to know God’s revealed Will. I was in my 20’s and trying to pursue the Lord and what he wanted for my life. When I texted one of the people leading the Bible study, they said it was “exclusive.” He was young. I think this person had good intentions. I think he started a Bible study and just wanted to keep the group small. So why am I writing about this today?

Some groups of young people I’ve witnessed throughout the years keep to themselves and divorce themselves from other generations and people who are different in the church. They want homogenous groups of people that are like them in looks, personality, and maturity levels.

I’m guilty of this. You are probably guilty of this. We need to get back to loving other people well for the sake of the Gospel and the truth that we proclaim to follow. What do true disciples do?

  • True disciples love others, even their enemies.
  •  True disciples strive to obey the principles of the Bible and produce fruit

The Reality of Sin in the Church

Sin. It’s in the church. And it always will be. According to one statistic, around 60% of men in the church look at porn. That’s just one statistic. Believers in the church desperately need God’s Word and relationships with others who are striving for the same thing. We are all at different stages of maturity. We need each other. We need models of God’s love.

Who needs God’s Word?

Everyone. Believers. Unbelievers. Sinners. Unbelievers need the only message that can save. Believers need to be edified by the truths of the Gospel. Young people need older generations to speak truth into their lives. We all need the humility to be corrected toward following the principles and truths of the Word.

Is there a such thing as an Exclusive Bible Study?

Sure. I can see members of the same sex going through a study on purity and excluding other members. That’s totally appropriate. Generally, I’d say no. At the heart of Bible Study is studying the truths and principles proclaimed in the Bible and loving others well. Again, a young adult Bible study needs older leaders to speak truth into their lives; seasoned adults who know God’s Word and how to apply it to their life. They need models, sound teaching, correction, and discipleship.

What is the impact of exclusion?

Excluding people is a direct contrast to the love believers are called to. It’s a poor representation of the Gospel and doesn’t emulate the unity of the universal church.

A call to loving well

Loving well is thinking the best about a person. A lot of sin starts in the mind. Loving well is genuinely interacting with people because you want to talk to them; not because you have to. Loving well is inviting someone to take a seat next to you. Loving well is being open to talking to different kinds of people. Loving well helps people feel encouraged in their faith when they enter and leave the conversation. Loving well invites people to Bible Study because you care about them, the truth, and their salvation. Loving well speaks well of others. When people see love, they should see a love that no one else can provide except for God. It’s a love that’s different and transformative. A love that you can’t get by yourself. Only God can provide it.

Conclusion

People need the truth. People need relationships. People need models of the Gospel. We are sinners and can’t do this by ourselves. Love others well In thought and conduct because that’s who you are. Because its your identity. Because there’s a lot at stake. Christianity isn’t an exclusive religion. It’s inclusive and demonstrates love to everyone only by the power of the Holy Spirt. Represent the Gospel through inclusion and unity. Let your love demonstrate your testimony and changed heart for God and for people. There is no alternative.

(Below are six reasons for Gospel-centered unity pulled form the below website)

https://ftc.co/resource-library/blog-entries/6-marks-of-gospel-centered-unity

Gospel-centered unity showcases Christ.

Gospel-centered unity elevates the cross. 

Gospel-centered unity conveys humbleness. 

Gospel-centered unity demonstrates spiritual maturity

Gospel-centered unity reflects submission to God

Gospel-centered unity comes from treasuring God’s promises. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What it means to be man

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Cor. 13:11).

Emotional health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated. It is impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. – Peter Scazzero

becoming a man

Abandoning Childish Ways

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, we are called toward abandoning our childish ways. We move on the spectrum of love from an immature love toward a mature love that emulates Christ. Our love is tested most when we go through trials. When we don’t get when we want. When someone offends us. It is in these circumstances that we navigate conflict resolution and have the opportunity to exemplify the agape, sacrificial love we are called to live out. And that’s wisdom. Wisdom is skillfully living out the principles of the Bible in daily living. We are not perfect, and we never will be. But we can move right on the spectrum of mature love and influence others as we emulate the principles we have learned.

english long bowman

Proverb 127:4 Like Arrows

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children[a] of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate

How does this passage relate to 1 Corinthians:11? We have partly been shaped by our parents. They are the archers and we are the arrows. However, even if they aim right at the target, they have to have a good arrow for the target to be hit. One writer described the parts of the arrow like this:

Shaft- Identity

Feathers/fletching- Character

Nook- Relationships

Point-Mission

It is only through God’s grace that we can achieve the instrumental parts of the arrow to hit the target. The arrow needs to be released at some point with full force so that it can reach it’s full potential. It is when the arrow (maybe around age 18) that we move from dependence on parents to independence and more dependence on God. It is the start of adulthood physically but the real test of manhood and womanhood has just begun. True men and women have embraced the love their parents have taught them and live it out. They have gone from an immature love to a mature love that is sacrificial and thinks of others first. As the arrow swiftly flies through air, the goal becomes closer and closer. The shaft, fletching, nook, and point will determine where the arrow will land.

When does a boy become a man?

Interesting question. A person can be a man physically but spiritually and emotionally be a boy. Albert M. Gives a good description of when a boy becomes a man in these areas. The link is below.

http://equip.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/boy-to-man.pdf

 

 

 

Faith, love, and the task set before us

Sources: Ligonier.org, https://www.focusonthefamily.com, Macarthur Hebrews Commentary

Run For Your Life

Hebrews 12:1-2 wrong

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Lay Aside every weight

4 Laps. 1 Race. 1 chance to go to the CIF southern section. I vividly remember that day. A few years of intense training. The race was the 1600m district Final. The best 7 runners in 5 high schools for the mile race; slightly less than a mile which is 1607m. The gun went off. Top 3 runners make it. Lap after lap went by fast. Last 100m- I can see the finish line. It looks like I’m going to make it. 50m- I get passed but am still making it in 3rd place. At the line- confusion. The race was so close I had to lean my chest forward to increase my chances of placing; that’s how they measure it; by the chest. Miraculously, I was passed at the line and lost by one tenth of a second. 4th place. So close, but no cigar.

I write this not because I want to tell you about my race but because I think it’s a good way of thinking how we should run the race of faith. MacArthur points out that there are those who haven’t entered; unbelievers that need to get into the race. What a blessing it can be to evangelize and take people with us on this race of faith! It takes love. It takes care. Ultimately, it takes God to give them grace through faith to believe. We can love others by encouraging people to race the race with us. Sometimes that requires running at their pace so they can catch up. But it’s worth it because true love understands and slows down so others can get to where you are. I’m not saying pursue Christ less, but I am saying doing the basics with someone can be a blessing to someone who doesn’t know much at all.

Christians are running the race, but at different paces. There is a wide spectrum of Christians who compete with intensity and those who are merely jogging. So it goes with running cross country and track. The guys that didn’t care were on the team but didn’t really seem to care about doing well; they ended up kind of coasting through the year with no progress. And then there were those on the team who I looked up to. The runners who would run even on the weekends because they wanted to do well. Running is agonizing. Interestingly, the Greek word is the passage for race is agon from which we get agony. The race set before us is going to be tough. It’ll require discipline, perseverance, tenacity, and commitment. But ultimately, to run well, you need love. The love that is mentioned as the first of the fruits in Galatians:5. The love that is greater than faith and hope in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” It’s the love quoted from Deuteronomy:6 in the shema that contains the Greatest commandments: Love your God and Love your neighbor. Are we running the race with an intensity that puts aside every weight (sin) and loves others that emulates the love of Christ who died for us? He died for sinners. People who had no hope, and no faith. In the same way, we can die to ourself and exhibit the agape sacrificial love that puts our desires last and other people’s needs first. It’s a love that can only come from God. God is love. The true test of a Christian is one who loves others.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6)

Race well. Strive well. Bring others with you. Run to win the Prize. Running well requires love. A sacrificial love that only God can implant in your heart. The gun has fired. We are rounding the corner and the finish line is in sight. Finish well by loving well in light of the hope set before us. See you at the finish line.

Loving Well II

Sources: Ligonier.org

truth-in-love

Love and Evil

It does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6).

Rejoicing at wrongdoing

Rejoicing of other people’s sins

Nowadays we can be quick to point out other peoples faults and fail to look at the log in our own eye. We love to use our tongues as a fire for gossip that perpetuates the sins of others that assumes the motivations and hearts of others without clear evidence. The tongue is powerful. It has started wars and caused great strife. It also builds brothers and sisters up in Christ. It’s a double edged sword.

True love

True love thinks the best of others. Without clear evidence, only God know the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Note: This is different from seeing clear indications of sin.)

Accountability

What is accountability? Accountability helps those around us walk in a manner worthy of our calling. Ultimately, it’s walking in a manner worthy that loves God and loves other people. Usually, it’s our close friends that can help us keep us accountable along with the leadership and elders of the church. Accountability provides protection and requires humility to accept.

Loving through accountability

Sometimes people think accountability is unloving. That people should be able to go their own way and do whatever they want. Confronting sin is important and should be done in specific circumstances. Ideally, guys should holding guys accountable and girls holding girls accountable. Through accountability, we effectively love God more because we are taking off the weights of sin and putting on righteousness. We are living out our calling by mutual discipleship. Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens the face his neighbor,”

I hope that through an understanding of what God’s word calls us to do, I can rejoice with the truth, believe the best about people when there aren’t any clear indications of sin, and have an accountability to live out the calling. True joy comes from delighting in God and living out the will He has for us on our lives.