A life that’s been set free from sin is a beautiful sight. When you turn from your sin and live a life more in tune with God, you testify to the glory of God and give others hope that he can change their lives. You know that the suffering, affliction, and brokenness come from going and doing things your own way. You know what its like to be enslaved to your passions. Yet you should also know there is more to life than bondage’more to life than alcohol or pornography ‘more to life than envy and jealousy’more to life than work or football. There is healing and freedom. There is beauty and joy. There is love, forgiveness, and mercy.
And you have the wonderful privilege of proclaiming this Good News to those around you, both in your vocal testimony and in the testimony of your life. I love the saying: Go out and preach Jesus to all you meet, and when necessary, use words.
When you surrender your life to Jesus, he’ll put you on a path of new life. Your salvation is assured, and now you will live a life of gratitude. You’ll change from the inside out because God got a hold of you. Others will notice, and God will be given the honor and glory.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of knowing the truth but no one believed you? Joshua did’and he had to live with the consequences of this for almost forty years.
Joshua was one of the twelve Israelites chosen to spy out the land of Canaan. Their report on what they saw would help and entire nation of people make a decision about entering the Promised Land. When the twelve spies gave their report, ten said it’d be impossible to conquer the land. Joshua and Caleb agreed that the task would be difficult, but they urged the people to trust God to help them. They saw God as loving, powerful, and able to lead them safely into the Promised Land.
The people, however, rebelled and sided with the majority report. They ran from the responsibility of surrendering their lives to God. The result of their irresponsibility was tragic. A whole generation’with the exception of Joshua and Caleb’died in the desert.
Many of us think we can escape pain by avoiding responsibility and its demands. What we fail to realize is that we often experience a much deeper pain when we run away from responsibility than we do when we accept it. Joshua experienced significant pain in his life despite putting God first in his life. But that pain was used by God to develop him into one of the most effective leaders in all of history.
Did you know that service is a way of saying thanks to God? You can never truly pay back the overwhelming love and support your parents may have shown you. But you can pass the love on to your children. In the same way, you can never repay God for granting you life in Christ and for blessing you, but you can pass his love onto others in practical ways.
One of the great barriers to service, however, is pride. Pride causes men to scoff at the thought of putting others first. Pride teaches you to calculate how every action will further your own reputation or advance you toward your goals. Pride makes you keep careful record of who is next in line for something good.
The apostle Paul had much to say to us about sacrifice. Chapter twelve of the book of Romans portrays several specific areas in which you can be a living sacrifice and serve God in the world. As a living sacrifice, you surrender using your gifts solely for your own advancement. You seek to bless others instead and sacrifice your time and resources for their benefit. In the process, your life will be shaped into the image of greatest man who ever lived: Jesus Christ. Where do you sense God calling you to serve? Let your motivation for service flow from a heart that’s thankful to God for the grace he’s shown you.