Although Jesus has already defeated the devil, the devil continues to beat us by introducing doubt, focusing our attention on ourselves, and convincing us to objectify and worship the good gifts of God.
We must beware of spiritual comfort and naivete because we have a very real and dangerous enemy who seeks our destruction.
While we typically think of war as an aggressive action, as citizens and soldiers in God’s kingdom we wage a different kind of war. While it requires intentional action, advancing in spiritual combat means having humility for ourselves and confidence in God that is acted upon through prayer and worship.
Temptation, suffering, and doubt are to be expected in the Christian life, but they don’t have to define it since God promises to grow our faith, work for our good, and shape us into Christ’s image.
It is tempting to serve Jesus only when it is easy or convenient, but experiencing real life means acknowledging difficulty while relying upon Jesus for the power to overcome.
Serving God well begins with slowing down enough to listen to him and experience the fulfillment of his generous promises to us.
What is successful, wise life management? It is the faithfulness that comes from humbly living in unity with others who want to live like Jesus and seek his ultimate approval.
We’ve all experienced the destructive consequences of bad decisions, both our own and those of others because our actions affect one another. But the gospel and a return to healthy life stewardship can redeem us in the destruction and bring hope for the future.
When God transforms us with the gospel and gives us a new identity, his gift of eternal security enables us to hold resources loosely. Such confidence allows us to share generously for the sake of others and the advancement of God’s kingdom.
God has entrusted us with much, and we will have to account for it. Yet even knowing what we should do, we don’t always act like it. But an honest examination of ourselves and a decision to act wisely will prepare us for the examination to come.
Corporate worship isn’t about getting or experiencing something. Gathering for worship is about stoking our desire for God, testifying to his greatness, and pursuing what God desires for us together.
If life is a journey, we’ll find the journey to be good if we trust in Jesus’ strength and remain single-mindedly focused on the Creator rather than the creation.
Suffering, injustice, and conflict are not part of God’s design for creation, but when it comes, he is attentive to his people and is pleased when we come to him in prayer, depend on him to endure, and long for the restored world he intends.
God’s plan has always been the forgiveness and freedom of broken people through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. And now God continues the work by equipping us to speak the good news.
Forgiving others requires uncommon sacrifice, but God’s love and care for us strengthens us for the task and is reflected in us when we forgive those who have sinned against us.
We often put as much effort into hiding and justifying our sin as we do sinning itself, only making it worse in the process. But when in the midst of our consequences we acknowledge our sin and receive God’s forgiveness, he disarms our disobedience and blesses us with his protection and direction.
Thriving requires keeping the end goal, approval from Jesus, in sight. But thriving in a tumultuous world also needs a generous amount of grace, forgiveness, and awareness. And we must guard against the common temptation to be distracted from following Jesus by the good things he gives us.
In a world filled with nearly instant transactions, a flourishing life requires slowing down long enough to offer meaningful worship and consider on a regular basis who we are and who Jesus is.
When life seems to be everything but thriving, recovery and renewal begin with an honest assessment both of our circumstances and ourselves. As we recognize our own limitations, acknowledge our spiritual condition, and listen to Jesus, he offers us the opportunity to rest and experience renewed life with him.
We can move beyond merely surviving to a thriving life with Jesus when we know him genuinely and risk loving others the way that he loves us. There are risks in loving others, but the potential for thriving only comes in community.