One of the few Christianese sayings I like says, “If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?” I hope that anyone, especially a lost person who looks at my life for more than five minutes would conclude that I am a Christian, or at the very least there is “something” different about me. Of course there are times when someone looking at me or listening to me would conclude that I’m as lost as the next guy. But you and I, Brother we are supposed to look, sound, and act like Jesus. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and He should be conforming us to Christ’s image. Our lives are supposed to bear witness to Him by the traits we call the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23).
David agreed and this Psalm of praise to The Lord speaks about it as well. Children of God, trust Him and wait patiently for Him instead of struggling without Him. Verses 1-2 read,
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.”
God is our rock, our foundation, and our cornerstone. He rescued us from Hell and He gives us a new and solid path to walk as we follow Him. Our salvation alone is reason enough to praise Him for eternity. In our new state of grace, He even gives us the praises to sing to Him and the way to worship Him. Just as we read yesterday in James 3:5-12 the tongue is powerful. And one of the most powerful things it can do is praise God, not only in private or in church but always. People hear us praise The Lord and He uses our praise to call the lost to Him. Verses 3-5 puts it like this,
“He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.”
Our lives are testimonies to our souls. Our lives lived following Jesus, anointed by the Father, and filled with the Spirit testify to the beauty of God. He gives us peace and joy. He blesses us, provides for us, and showers us with good gifts. People notice, particularly when we relish and use the gifts God gives. We are not meant to keep our salvation to ourselves. We are not meant to hoard His gifts and not share them with the world. Those gifts and blessings have purpose. When we use them we get more. When we exercise them, they grow. I used to long for the gift of prophecy. So I prayed and asked The Lord to grant me that gift. He had given me the gifts of encouragement and discernment. And I recognized those gifts and used them often. So my Father, The Creator of the Universe gave me the gift of prophecy, and I exercise it often. I use it to encourage people. It has grown in me. God gave me a message the other night for a woman who was visiting our church while on vacation. It moved her. She was in awe of God and His love. Whatever that word meant to her, God used it to move her toward healing her broken heart. Had I kept that gift to myself, she may have left the church in the same state she entered.
Christianity is not like other religions. It is not about rituals, rules, and rigidity. It is a relationship with the Lord God Almighty. It is about love, receiving God’s love, reciprocating that love, loving others as He loves us, and emanating His love in tangible and purposeful ways. One of my favorite verses is Hosea 6:6, Jesus quoted it at least twice (as recorded in Matthew 9:3 and 12:7 and ). It says,
“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”
Salvation doesn’t come from following rules or performing rituals. Salvation comes from faith. It comes from, The Father’s call to us, The Son’s sacrifice for us, and The Spirit’s conforming us. All you have to do to be saved is acknowledge that you have done wrongs in your life, repent (regret and stop) from those wrongs, and ask Jesus to forgive you and be your Lord. There is nothing else required. Once you do that you are brought into a relationship with God Himself and He nurtures it as you submit to Him. We change because God changes us. We are new creations, born again spiritually. We no longer have to live like we did before. Verses 6-8 read,
“In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
We just can’t keep that awesome gift to ourselves! God is great! God is love! God is good! We are meant to tell people with our mouths, hearts, and actions. Verses 9-10 say,
“I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.”
We aren’t perfect. We are still going to slip up but we are forgiven. We have The Lord’s grace and mercy. He sees us as righteous, sets us apart as holy, and uses us to call others to Him.
But we will not go through life without suffering. In fact, some people will hate us merely because we are called by Jesus’ name and filled with His Spirit. The spirit of the enemy cannot abide the Holy Spirit of God. The enemy gets upset when we live our lives as a testimony to God. He doesn’t want to lose more souls to Heaven. But in Christ we are protected, sealed, and delivered from the enemy. The more he tries to hurt us, the more we know we are living boldly for Jesus. We can have faith in our Lord. Verses 11-15 read,
“As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
Remember Believer, You are God’s child with all the privileges and honors that entails. You can live your life confidently and courageously but not arrogantly. Without Jesus you are destitute. Without the Spirit you are a sinner. Without the Father you are an orphan. David says it this way in verses 16-17,
“But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!”
So ask yourself that question today, “if you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Do you sing a new song? Are you a new creation? Do your actions speak of Jesus? Do you love others as Jesus loves you? Are you filled with the Spirit and do you emanate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?