Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How Do Your Friends Rate You?

Dear Friends,

As part of our continuing commitment to you as a member of New Hope Family Church, we will be providing you with an assessment of your Christian lifestyle. A comprehensive survey has been mailed to your family and friends giving them an opportunity to anonymously evaluate your attitudes, words and behavior. Included in the assessment will be their observation of how much time you spend reading your Bible, your prayer time, and time spent each day in worship to the Lord.

You will be evaluated on the spiritual fruit that is visibly demonstrated in your life i.e. love for God and love for others, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Your friends and loved ones will be encouraged to provide an honest and accurate evaluation of your Christian lifestyle. You will receive an individual rating for each survey dimension and an overall rating of your lifestyle and Christian maturity on a scale of 1-10.

As you read the above you’re probably thinking:
1) Awesome! I love this! Bring it on Pastor!  or..
2) That does it! I’m going back to my old □ Baptist □ Lutheran □ Foursquare □ (Other) church!

But honestly, what would your friends and loved ones say about you? Yes, you’ve been saved by Jesus but are you following Jesus? Too many Christians think that accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior, buying a Bible, saying a quick prayer as their head hits the pillow at night and then coasting through life is about as much “religion” as they really need. But being “born-again” is only the beginning of the journey. And that journey is one of spiritual growth. If you have experienced a new birth in Christ, the fruit of that abiding fellowship with Him will be manifested in your life. (John 15:4-5)

When you have truly accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live within you and produces the fruit of a genuine spiritual life. (Galatians 5:22-23) Are you growing spiritually and  increasing in love for God and others?

You cannot expect to grow in the Lord if you only open your Bible in church on a Sunday morning. Without nourishment, a person will starve to death in about four to six weeks. All living things eventually wither away and die without the proper nutrients. We need the spiritual nourishment that scripture provides. God’s Word transforms our thoughts, shapes our character and creates within us a passion for living a Christ-like life. The apostle Peter encourages us to “..grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) You need a daily supply of His Word in order to spiritually grow.

In last week’s AMEN Corner we saw that prayer is an intimate conversation between two people who love each other. You need that daily conversation time with your Heavenly Father in order to spiritually grow. And hey, don’t you do all the talking! Listen for His voice.

An essential part of your Christian growth is engaging in the good works that God has prepared for you to do. (Ephesians 2:10) You have God-given gifts. They are not to be locked up in a vault for your personal use but were given to you for the purposes of helping one another. Christians are called to emulate Jesus who came as a servant. (Matthew 20:28) If you are preoccupied with your own needs and unable to think past your own agenda, pray that God will turn your self-centeredness into a Christ-like other centeredness.

If the thought of family and friends evaluating your Christian lifestyle makes you a little nervous, than the assessment that really has been scheduled for you in the future should cause you some concern. Please read about that one in 2 Corinthians 5:10.

Look at your yesterdays. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is telling  you about how you've lived your life so far. Now look at your tomorrows. What will you be doing differently? Because on that day when we’re standing before Jesus, what we want to hear Him say is, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21)  Amen?