When we are in the flesh, it is so easy to deceive ourselves and live in denial of what is truly motivating us. But what may really be going on in our heart is that we envy their success and feel too diminished to be gracious in defeat. Christian ministers who abuse others sexually might tell themselves that they are helping the person in some way, but what is really motivating them is their fleshly desires and the ego gratification involved.
Whatever action or inaction we take that is motivated by envy, hatred, etc.
We made dishonesty, selfish desires, envy, etc. Now we are to make a new life based on Christ, the Word of God, and the spirit of God that lives in us. We are to put on this new self as an act of our will, with faith that the spirit of God is in us to support this change of lifestyle.
This new lifestyle is based on true righteousness and holiness, with honesty at the foundation. That is why the very first moral commandment that follows concerns honesty:. To speak the truth to our neighbors means that we are speaking the truth first to ourselves, and no longer allowing ourselves to live in deception. If we ask the Lord to reveal the true state of our hearts, he will.
It may not be flattering, but it is liberating. When we see that what is really motivating us is fear, doubt, hurt, anger, envy, etc. As long as we are living in darkness, we have no choice but to walk according to the flesh. Right conduct will follow from a right heart.
More organizations committed to social issues that love others without borders but are unashamed about their faith will pop up. The investigation of that process is called theology. It wasn't an accident that Mary went to Elizabeth and that Elizabeth proclaimed that, indeed, the Lord Jesus would be Mary's son. For one familiar with the Lord, it wouldn't take too long to put two and two together and realize that God first spoke this word to Mary in His written Word. I must confess that I found his response gratifying, though I am not sure that he is right.
But sadly, instead of men and women looking like Jesus we sure have a lot of talking heads. We sure have a healthy dose of condemnation in our ranks. Christians not having the influence we once had in the s gives me great hope. Everyone is a Christian because they grew up in Texas. Or they go to church. Or their mom and dad raised them that way.
Their belief is cultural, and no one intends to follow the man they claim governs their life, so we end up this giant homogenous blob of hypocrites that judge and condemn people, instead of looking like they did in AD. Instead of rushing to the aid of others, or paying for pagan burials like our ancestors did, we have half-hearted followers who run rampant through the streets of social media pointing the finger to everyone except themselves.
More organizations committed to social issues that love others without borders but are unashamed about their faith will pop up. Christians were never relevant or cool to begin with. Celsus realized this from the beginning.
Culture at large will see the things we do and traditions we follow as silly myths. People will be curious why you were kind to them when they may have been a jerk to you. People will wonder why you value the broken, poor, and marginalized and use your finances, life, and time to help them even if they never change. And finally, people will come to understand the truth of what we believe as Dr. Timothy Keller so eloquently put it:. May we at HeartSupport, and fellow followers around the globe live, love, and speak in such a manner that inspires our fellow man and causes God to do a work in their heart.
You can read the account from The Book and this should help you to see what I am trying to show you. Okay, so Mary gets a prophecy from the angel of the Lord. But let's remember for a moment that although this is the first time Mary has heard anything as amazing as this by way of an angel, it is not really the first time she has been made aware. In Isaiah, for instance, chapter 9 foretells the birth of Christ. This passage reads, "For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.
And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David" verses , The Book. For one familiar with the Lord, it wouldn't take too long to put two and two together and realize that God first spoke this word to Mary in His written Word.
God could have stopped with that Old Testament Scripture, but obviously Mary needed to know that that word was meant for her personally. Enter the angel Gabriel. From Gabriel she got a pretty specific word which reiterated some of what she knew from the words of the prophet Isaiah, like the idea of Jesus sitting on the throne of David and reigning forever as the Most High.
In truth, I have only come recently to understand that what I have been doing for he has to say it is not easy because, in his words, "Hauerwas only knows For I think what it means to write Christian is to have a vocabulary It has taken the church centuries to develop habits of speech that help us say no. The primary challenge modern culture offers Christian faith is that the . There are different religions, because God created us as religious beings, “in More and more in fact does ethical reflection come to refer to nature at a .. It is against a background of Christianity that all our thought has significance.
But God didn't stop there. It was so important for Mary to know that this was truly God's will for her life that He let her know it was true through someone she respected and loved.
Remember when the angel told Mary that Elizabeth, who was considered to be barren, was in the sixth month of her pregnancy? Now we can just think that the angel told this to Mary to show her that God can do the impossible, that God was capable of doing miracles with Elizabeth just as He was able to work a miracle in Mary's womb.
And this is a good word to us. But don't overlook a second point here: If the angel hadn't told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant too, would Mary have gone to see her? And if Mary hadn't gone to see her, guess what? We wouldn't have that amazing prophetic revelation straight from the lips of Elizabeth herself. Not long after the angel left her side, Mary was on her way to see Elizabeth. When Mary finally came into the presence of her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth was overjoyed.
It says in Luke 1: Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, "You are blessed by God above all other women, and your child is blessed. What an honor this is, that the mother of my Lord should visit me! Elizabeth just confirmed to Mary what the angel had spoken, for later Elizabeth says, "You are blessed, because you believed that the Lord would do what he said" Luke 1: How did Elizabeth know that Mary had a crisis of belief not too long before visiting Elizabeth?
I mean, Mary being but a teen wasn't quite sure how this whole virgin birth thing would be possible. That's a pretty big crisis of belief. But Mary believed and she gained favor with God and somehow Elizabeth knew this. Well, we know from verse 41 that she was filled with the Holy Spirit before she spoke those goose-bump provoking words. Something inside of Elizabeth and I am speaking about more than just the joyful leap of her infant John inside of her womb said that Truth and Life just stepped inside the door. This whole scene was instigated by God. Did you see it?
It wasn't an accident that Mary went to Elizabeth and that Elizabeth proclaimed that, indeed, the Lord Jesus would be Mary's son. That was spoken confirmation number two. First there was an angel who made specific what had already been predicted by the prophets; and then there was the Holy Spirit inspired word of a relative. Now what could possibly be needed? Old prophet, angel, word of a relative.