Saturday, December 6, 2014

NTDS (31): A Christian Selfie

Rom 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. NIV

Chapter 5 of the book of Romans is one of the most wonderful chapters in the Bible. It not only presents the gospel message, but in the five verses above, it also gives us a portrait of the Christian experience. A selfie, if you will. There are four items listed that every Christian should be experiencing. Take a look with me, point by point and see if this describes you.

Verse 1. You have peace with God
Verse 2. You rejoice in the hope of God’s glory
Verse 3. You rejoice in your suffering
Verse 5. You have God’s love in your heart

This is what a selfie should look like for every believer in Christ. Does that describe you? You might be saying, “sort of” or “partially.” Well, that is good, but not good enough. All of this should be happening in your life. If it is not, then ask yourself, “which parts of this do not describe me,” then determine to figure out why they don’t and what to do about it.

Let me help you with some possibilities. Maybe you don’t feel like you have peace with God. That can be common, but it is important to not let feelings get in the way of truth. Paul says we have peace with God because we have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ and we stand in His grace. That is the truth and if you have placed your faith in Christ, nothing can ever change that, so rest in that peace.

If you accept that truth, then, of course you can easily rejoice, knowing that you participate in God’s glory. That should help you with number three. I would imagine that is where the majority of us would look at our portrait and say, “not so much.” So, we need to look at the qualities that suffering brings about in us, listed in verses three and four, and no matter what, focus on the glory that will certainly come. Look at these promises:

Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Rom 8:18
 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
2 Cor 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Think of the apostles’ response after they had been imprisoned and flogged, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”
 Acts 5:41 NIV

If you are struggling with being able to rejoice in your sufferings, cling to these verses and ask God to help you rejoice in spite of your difficulties, remembering that the trials only last for a short while and in the end, lead to the assurance of eternal glory with God.

I would hope that all of your portraits reveal God’s love in your heart. If you are not sure whether or not you demonstrate Godly love, look at 1 Cor 13:4-7
 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. NIV

If this is an issue for you, remember that God’s love is placed there by the Holy Spirit. You cannot manufacture it on your own. Ask in faith for His love, believing that He gives it to all who ask and it will be poured out upon your heart!

Now you should be able to post your selfie for the world to see. When they look at it, what they should see is Jesus Christ. I pray that is the case for you and me!

God bless you


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