My Life is Not My Own

My Life is Not My Own

In worship yesterday, there were two lines in two different songs that moved me to tears. I just couldn’t stop crying. I’ve been thinking about those lines ever since…

“I need you more than the air that I breathe.”

“You’re never gonna let me down.”

My tears weren’t sad tears or happy tears. They were overwhelmed-by-the-goodness-of-God tears. 

It’s good for us to be reminded that we need Him. Desperately. It’s the most vulnerable place to be to need Someone more than something that keeps our lungs filled to stay alive. But here in this season, I really do need Him more than the air I breathe. I don’t want to just stay alive…I want to live

I’ve been thinking a lot about this verse. It was a prayer that Jeremiah prayed. 

“I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.” Jeremiah 10:23

Our lives are not our own. When we chose Him, we chose to lay it all down. Our plans. Our dreams. Our rights. Our everything. We don’t like to think much about this truth. When the Apostle Paul says, “To live is Christ, to die is gain”, it’s much easier to skim past that verse than to count the cost of living it out. 

The theme for this month in our women’s ministry is self-control and what I’ve come to realize is that I don’t struggle with self-control when I’m fully aware that my life is not my own. If my life isn’t my own, there’s nothing for me to control. But when I start losing sight of this truth, when I start taking the helm of my life, I begin to spin out of control. 

“You keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because she trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

I have always loved this verse. I memorized it this way…with her and she instead of him and he. God woke me up with this verse a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to dig a little deeper into its meaning. The Hebrew word for mind in this verse could also be translated as mindset or frame of mind. This word also means pottery formed by the potter. We could paraphrase the verse this way…

You keep her in perfect peace who’s settled that she is the clay, and You are the potter, because she trusts You. 

Self-control isn’t about taking control; it’s about releasing it. But not to just anyone…to Someone. The Someone that is “never gonna let us down.” He’s the potter. We’re the clay. He’s the peace-giver. We’re the peace-receiver. 

If this isn’t a truth that we meditate on daily, we’ll drift from the awareness of it. I know this all too well. When my mom died, I didn’t think there would ever be a day that would go by that I wouldn’t think of her. But after 33 years of being without her, there are many days that, sadly, I don’t remember her at all. 

Several months ago, my Dad and stepmom gave me a bag they found with some of my mom’s needlework projects. When I picked this one up, I couldn’t help but run my finger over each colorful stitch, knowing she had touched the thread too.

What was she thinking about each time her needle plunged up and down through the fabric? Surely, she was thinking of me and my sister as she stitched each word. As I ran my finger over them, it connected me to her in a way I haven’t felt connected to her in years. 

So, early this morning, I decided to go outside and plant my bare feet in the grass. His creation. I wanted to touch something He had touched. To feel connected to Him. 

There was no trace of the sun on the horizon and there were still stars in the sky over our quiet corner of the country. The dew was cold and refreshing under my feet and the only sound I could hear was the whir of the well motor in the field across the road and then there it was…the awareness.

The awareness that He is big, and I am small, and yet, He’s near

The awareness that He is in control, and I am not, and yet, I’m free

The awareness that He is the potter, and I am the clay, and yet, I’m at peace

He gave me life and breathed His breath into my lungs, and I am most aware in this moment that my life is not my own, and yet, I’m truly living.

We would like to thank Amber Curry for sharing this post.

Giving God Control

Giving God Control

Do you feel like you are in control of your life or are things controlling you? Most of us deal with some sort of “vise” that seems to take control of us if we aren’t careful. It could be that you have lost control by spending too much, eating too much, drinking too much, scrolling social media too much, exercising too much, and even watching too much tv. But did you know that God has given us everything we need to have self-control?

All year, we have focused on the following verses:

2 Peter 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Notice, since God has made His power available to us and has given us everything we need for a life of holiness, that means we can have self-control as Christians. It’s not an impossible task.

We also see from this passage that self-control is part of a chain of qualities that we should have in our lives and should grow in. That’s what Peter means when he speaks of possessing those “qualities in increasing measure.” We should take heart in realizing that all of us experience this process of growth. None of us have finally arrived. We’re all on the same journey together as we grow in these qualities, including self-control!

Exercise is not a sin. Scrolling social media is not a sin. Shopping is not a sin. However, anything that controls us can cause us to stumble. I don’t believe God wants to shame us or make us feel guilty about doing any of these things. However, when we put all those things BEFORE God, then we aren’t growing in our relationship TO HIM!

When we become a follower of Christ, that doesn’t take away everything that controls us. But the Bible reminds us that the world no longer controls us, but He who lives in us leads and guides us. 

Ephesians 4:22-24 “in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

 I want to give you practical ways to help you when you want to gain control over these areas:

These suggestions are not exhaustive, but here are a few practical ideas for exercising godly self-control, as seen in Scripture:

Step 1. Renew your mind through God’s Word. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

Step 2. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s help. “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:16,17-19).

Step 3. Confess your habits to God and others. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).  Look to Scripture or people in your life who lived a life of self-control. Ask yourself: what made them different? What kinds of habits did they include in their lives? 

Step 4. Identify and remove your triggers. “…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Step 5: Develop a plan: Develop an action plan to help you overcome those areas where you need to have self-control. Be as specific as possible. Use apps when necessary. Find people who will hold you accountable. Look for people who are going to be tough and who you know will help you stick to your action plan.

Step 6. Remember the gospel when you fail. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Praise God for the magnification of his grace in our weakness, as we pursue the important exercise of self-control, which is highly glorifying to him and the wonder of his eternal gospel! 

When you realize that you aren’t giving control of your life to Christ, it can lead to a path of destruction. You will spend time seeking after worldly desires instead of Godly desires.

But when you surrender your life to Christ, you will begin to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit in all areas of your life. And just like the verse in Peter that we’ve been studying all year, His (Christ’s) divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

We want to thank Vickie Young for sharing this post.

Love People, Period.

Love People, Period.

Brotherly love…. as I ponder what this really means I can’t help but wonder what the disciples must have thought and felt as they watched Jesus model this before them. In their day and time, to be humble was regarded as distasteful by the pagan world. Pride was more highly prized. So, this concept of showing brotherly love was new and very different. But they watched Jesus walk this out before their very eyes!

I decided to look up the definitions of brotherly love and came across this one that stood out to me. Brotherly Love: feelings of compassion toward one’s fellow humans. When you take a few minutes to stop and look around, or pay attention to the things going on in the world, do you see or sense brotherly love? Why not? As followers of Jesus our world should look much different!

1 Corinthians 13:1-8,13 says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” In other words, our lip service is just a bunch of irritating noise! “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. So now faith, hope and love, abide all three, but the greatest of these is love.” When we take time to invest in people, because Christ lives in us, He comes flowing out of us in love for others!

God is love. Jesus modeled love. One of the things Jesus said to His disciples is found in John 15:9-17: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

Did you catch that last sentence? “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” First, I want to be a friend of God, not His enemy. Second, this was not a request! As disciples of Jesus, we are commanded to love everyone! When we walk in obedience to Jesus, others are drawn to Him. In John 13:34–35 Jesus is telling the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another”. Love must be the distinguishing mark of Jesus’ disciples. Our world will begin to look very different if we show brotherly love to all people!

Colossians 3:12–14 says, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all this put-on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” People are messy! Relationships are hard. But the Spirit of Jesus who lives in you will flow through you and help you love others with a pure heart! 1 Peter 1:22

One of the hardest things I’ve had to learn is to love people, period, no matter what! Love them where they are for who they are with no strings attached and no expectations. That means even if they don’t love me back, I am commanded to show brotherly love. I am to treat people like I want to be treated, no matter how they treat me. Leviticus 19:18

Mark 12:30–31 ‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. If we profess to be a disciple of Jesus, we are commanded to love!

We have lost people who need a relationship with Jesus all around us. He showed us His love when He gave his life for us. We can show others His love when we love like Jesus does!

We want to thank Janie Keller for sharing this post.

Quality Kindness

Quality Kindness

Kindness by the very definition is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. That word quality has always stuck out to me. When we imagine anything of materialistic possession, we tend to lean to the cliche of “Quality vs Quantity.” The quality of our kindness is equally important to the quantity of people we come into contact with on a daily basis. Being friendly seems easy enough but when someone is not being friendly toward us, it takes that extra nudge from the Holy Spirit to say, “today I will not give in to flesh and continue to walk in kindness.” Generosity is so much more than purchasing that morning coffee for the car behind you. Being considerate of others places us in line with obedience to the Lord calling us to be selfless.

I love reading my bible in The Message translation. It always hits in just a different way. Romans 12: 9-10 says Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.” Whew, that’s so good! Love from the center of who you are! Out of the abundance of your heart, soul, depths of it all, pour out your love to others. God says “run” from evil and hold on for dear life to what is good. 

In our home, we recently had this very issue come up. Around spring break, we knew God was calling us to pull our boys out of public school and place them on a homeschool curriculum. There were many things lacking in the district they were in, and peace needed to be restored in our home. They had so many questions. “Mom, what do we do if we see our old friends? What if the bullies come up to us in the store?” “How do I answer if my teachers ask me what’s wrong and why we left?” My answer was the same with each question, “Baby Love, you just be kind. Do not respond with hateful comments. Kind words and kind responses. The Bible says a kind answer will turn away wrath, so just be nice.” 

As they now get up and get ready for the day, they say this scripture over themselves, “I choose to put on (shirt) compassion, (pants) kindness, (socks) humility, (shoes) gentleness, and (hair) patience.” Colossians 3:12. This is their daily confession. As we prepare for another day, starting it this way just sets the tone for who they come into contact with. 

The bible calls all believers brothers and sisters in Christ, and in John 13:34 Jesus gives the commandment to love each other just as He had loved those surrounding Him. In this chapter, first, Jesus washes the feet of the disciples. Then He talks about His betrayal, and in the verse where he is telling us to love just as He did, He also gives a glimpse in how one of His beloved followers will deny Him.

Ouch! That one hurts!! Jesus is sitting there telling us to love our brothers and sisters so deeply with the same love as He gave to us, knowing there will be days where we may say or do something we regret. Maybe just like in Peter’s case, we will say those things or do those actions more than one time in the same day. However, there’s always grace in the kindness we show to others. There’s always mercy in the forgiveness of our hearts when we show that kindness and it isn’t received with its proper intention. Each day is a challenge. God knew it would be. But by choosing to cover ourselves in the most beautiful attributes He gave us and beginning our days with, “Today, I will Love like Jesus,” those days won’t be perfect, but each one will be better than the day before. Every interaction we have is another opportunity to show the love of the Father. In actions, in words, in reaction, in silence. It’s all in the choice to be kind.

We want to thank Ashton Riddle for sharing this post.

Love One Another

Love One Another

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Galatians 5:34-35

Brotherly kindness. That brings so many things to my mind. Some are big, some are small, but all touch someone’s life.  

The example of brotherly kindness that came to my mind first was the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:25-37. When the expert of the law asked Jesus “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”, Jesus asked him what was written in the law. The answer was, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  That’s when Jesus shared the parable of the Samaritan helping the injured man on the road. Three people came upon the beaten man who was half dead-a Priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan.  It was the Samaritan who showed true brotherly kindness to the man. He took care of him and paid for a place for him to heal. The Samaritan loved this stranger with all his heart, all his soul, all his strength, and all his mind. To me, this is a huge example of brotherly kindness.

The second command was to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. If we stop to think about this, do we really do that, or even attempt that? In this day and time showing brotherly kindness has taken a backseat to self. With social media we feel the freedom to say or respond to things anyway we want to. We spew hatred, judgement, and our own agendas with words we would never say to that person’s face. We feel like we have a “right” to share what we think. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” If we truly shared brotherly kindness with each other, there would not be so much division in our country, our state, our community or our families.  

So, how do we show brotherly kindness?  It doesn’t have to be as big as the story of the Good Samaritan.  It could be as simple as smiling at a stranger we pass in Walmart. It could be opening a door or holding a door open for someone. It could be slowing down to allow someone to enter your lane of traffic (and not yelling at them to speed up). It could be telling the customer service representative to have a blessed day, especially after they have dealt with a long line of customers. And the list could go on.

I personally like to show brotherly kindness with a smile. I like to smile. I like to see other people respond with a smile. It was so hard for me during Covid when everyone was required to wear a mask. I couldn’t see people’s smiles and they couldn’t see mine. I’m so glad those days are past. Your act of brotherly kindness might be a handshake, a word of comfort, serving someone a cup of coffee, rocking a baby in Kid City, etc. The list is endless. Find your gift of sharing brotherly kindness. John 4:32 says, “A new command I give you. Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciple, if you love one another.” Your act of brotherly kindness could change the world-one person at a time.

We want to thank Hope Warren for sharing this post.

Cool to be Kind

Cool to be Kind

It’s cool to be kind. Such a popular quote to put on a T-shirt. As a teacher and mom, I love this quote. Out of the striving to be “cool” I see amongst the kids, I think initiating kindness should always be the first step, but sometimes we fall short. Today I want to talk about how we implement kindness in our everyday life to express to those around us they are loved and chosen.

The first and most powerful way we implement kindness is through the words we speak.

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24 NIV

I know when I speak, words of kindness aren’t always coming out of my mouth. I feel frustration; people aren’t perfect, and neither am I, but the Bible tells us the importance of our words. This specific verse tells us our words bring healing to the bones. I want others to be healed. I want the kindness that flows out of my mouth to lead souls to Christ. I want the children who surround me to be led to the feet of Jesus every time I speak. I want them to know it’s “cool to be kind” based on the life changing words that come out of my mouth. I want the desire of gossip to flee in the name of Jesus and unity to be spoken over every circumstance I find myself in. We as women have a big role to play in implementing kindness in our families, our jobs, our community. Let’s start with our words.

Another way we implement kindness is through the way we act.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:12

We are God’s chosen people set out to lead others to Christ. What a cool privilege we have! When I wake up and get dressed, not only do I want to clothe myself physically, but I want to clothe myself spiritually as well. I want to prepare myself in such a way that I am ready to face adversity with fruitfulness. I want to face negativity with positivity. I want to face an unkind world with kindness.

We are not only surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ, but we are also surrounded by the lost. If one lost sheep can find their home in Jesus Christ through my kindness, then every bit of effort to watch my words and my actions will be worth it.

It’s cool to be kind!

We want to thank Sarah Perry for sharing this post.

Choose God’s Standard

Choose God’s Standard

Haven’t there been some great teachings on moral excellence this month? If you haven’t had chance, go back and listen online or read the blogs from this month, you will be encouraged. 

Choosing to have moral excellence is laying down my own agendas every day to my own moral standards and partaking in the divine nature we have been discussing about all year. 2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. If I’m being honest, it can be hard, sometimes I let my standard of living be influenced by the world and not by the living scriptures. Sometimes there are even consequences to me choosing the worlds standards of living instead of God’s.

My husband and I lived the first five years of our marriage being swayed towards the world’s standard for how a husband and wife should live together.  Well, with the influence of the world came consequences. Two of them being that we were constantly bickering at each other, and we were not happy to be around each other. Around year 5 of marriage something changed though. We started church at Harvest and started to become partakers of His divine nature.

In the Bible story of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded with God to save his nephew Lot. The people from Sodom and Gomorrah were not living in moral excellence, but Lot was righteous, and God agreed to save him and his family (Genesis 18). At the end of chapter 19 when Lot and his family were trying to get out before the city was destroyed; something happens.

Genesis: 19:17 As soon as the angels had brought them out, one of them spoke. He said, “Run for your lives! Don’t look back! Don’t stop anywhere in the valley! Run to the mountains! If you don’t, you will be swept away!” 

The Angel of the Lord tells them not to look back or they will be swept away. In verse 25 & 26 you see a consequence of Lot’s wife not obeying what God commands of them. 

25 The Lord destroyed these cities and the whole valley. All the people who were living in the cities were wiped out. So were the plants in the land. 26 But Lot’s wife looked back. When she did, she became a pillar made out of salt.

Lot’s wife chose to look back. It doesn’t say what she’s looking back to. Maybe her friends, her home, or maybe just curious, but whatever it was, she chooses to not obey God’s commands and she received a consequence for that. 

So, when you choose to live a moral life, try not to look back at your past, choose to take up the divine nature of Jesus Christ because obeying His commands always come with blessing. Read His word, build a relationship with Him and choose to stay on that path. 

And when you do look back, make a mistake, or fall back into that unmoral habit, because we do, repent for it. Repent simply means turning around and getting back in line with what Jesus wants for your life. 

My husband and I can still go back to the place where we were in those early years, but we quickly repent. We want to get back on track with the moral standard God wants for our marriage because we have seen blessings and fruit from that choice. Choosing God’s standard in your morals is always the best course to take for living the life He has intended for you. It’s also the best path to take to receive the blessings he has for you. 

We want to thank Bethany Williams for sharing this post.

Do What is Right & Avoid What Isn’t

Do What is Right & Avoid What Isn’t

I grew up being a check list gal. If you told me the rules, I could 100% do what you asked. In Church, I was a box checker for character, a rule follower. On the same note, I associated sin and repentance with guilt and shame. 

The moment I had someone explain to me that with repentance, we simply turn from, change our mind about the sin, and align our thoughts, desires, and heart with God, life seemed to make more sense. This deeper understanding in turn helped me in my convictions and ease of repentance. 

I have had the same issue with Moral excellence as a Christian. When I think of those words, my brain floods with everything I’ve ever done wrong, how I am not a “good enough” Christian. But if you actually look up virtue, or moral excellence, one definition is: “the quality of doing what is right, and avoiding what is wrong”

It’s simple. God asks us to do what is right and avoid what is wrong…. 

In our theme verse for the year, God asks us to live in moral excellence so that we can escape the corruption in this world because of sinful desires.  2 Peter 1:9 says, “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”

God calls us to do what is right. And he gives us the wisdom to discern

Do what is right. In how we speak to our children, our husbands, how we speak about people. In our work, in our hospitality. In what we watch on TV. What we share on Facebook. What we do in secret, and in the light. God asks us to do what is right, and avoid what isn’t. And when we misstep, he asks us to turn from, repent, and realign our mindset with God’s heart. 

We don’t have to stay stuck in guilt and shame. God has a fruitful joy filled life for us

God gives us a roadmap on how to get through life and experience his promises. That doesn’t mean hard times won’t happen, but he has graciously shared how we experience an abundant life because of HIM. When we choose what is wrong- it brings strife, conflict, exhaustion, frustration, and hardship. But if we choose to walk in what God has called us to, leaving our old ways behind daily, and always looking forward, striving for goodness and virtue… we can experience the life that God promised us.

My prayer for you is that you can shut out any guilt or shame of the past. REMEMBER you have been forgiven, and walk forward, striving for moral excellence so that you can experience the blessings of God, and be a blessing FROM God to others.

We want to thank Lori Johnson for sharing this post.

Do you have any tips for recovering after “putting your foot in your mouth” during conversation?

Do you have any tips for recovering after “putting your foot in your mouth” during conversation?

Let me tell you, you’re in GOOD company. 

Everyone has done this at one time or another. We all say things we regret and we’ve all “put our foot in our mouth”. 

The question is, what do we do after we’ve messed up and said the wrong thing?

First, we acknowledge it. The only way to change is to acknowledge where we’re at and move towards where we want to be. 

We also need to apologize and then move on. God forgives you, most people will understand and will forgive you and you must forgive yourself. 

One of my favorite verses I pray, most days is Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” 

Submitting my mouth to the Lord has helped me “think before I speak.”

Being aware of your tendencies, submitting to God and asking him to help you, and apologizing when you’ve made a mistake will make you a better communicator all around.

We would like to thank Julie Snellgrove for answering this question.

Christ-like Character

Christ-like Character

I have heard the term “moral excellence” many times throughout my life, but I never truly understood what it meant. In my mind, excellence was equal to perfection. Perfectionism and people pleasing have been struggles of mine for as long as I can remember. Because perfection is unattainable, living life in this mind set led to many insecurities, fear, and self-doubt, which led me to believe I could not make a difference in the kingdom. Instead of being bold and speaking up at times when I should have, it was easier to be invisible. When people don’t notice you, they don’t see your failures. I couldn’t be perfect, so I didn’t want to be seen.

Thankfully, through maturing in my walk with Christ and through discipleship, I have been letting down my “shield of invisibility”. I had a choice to make and was ready to step into who he created me to be. I could choose to partake of his divine nature or continue the path of pridefulness and perfectionism. If moral excellence doesn’t mean I need to be perfect, what does it mean? I’m going to be vulnerable and admit that it took a lot of prayer and diving deeper into the definitions of perfectionism and moral excellence for this blog before I truly began to see the difference between the two.  

What I discovered is perfection is striving to be better than everyone else, but moral excellence is striving to be better than what one already is. Perfection puts the focus on worldly characteristics whereas moral excellence puts the focus on building Christ-like character. Webster defines moral excellence as “the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong”.  In other words, living a life of moral excellence means living with virtue and integrity.

As followers of Christ, we are called to increase in moral excellence so we will not be “ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8). I don’t know about you, but I have spent too many years as ineffective and unfruitful. I would much rather grow in knowledge and virtue and have a heart open and ready to be used by the Lord. So where do we learn how to practice moral excellence? 

First, through the example of Jesus-the only one who is, and ever will be, perfect! The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Jesus and moral excellence is Matthew 4:1-11 when Jesus is tempted in the wilderness. Even through hunger and exhaustion, Jesus resisted temptation (and used scripture to do so).

Second, through being diligent about spending time in prayer and in God’s word. Jesus was able to use scripture in response to Satan’s temptations because he knew the word in his heart. Through reading God’s word and hiding it in our heart, we will learn what Christ-like character looks like and how to respond like Jesus against the corruption of the world.

Across the nation, there seems to be more and more churches teaching “Progressive Christianity”. If you are unfamiliar, this movement seeks to re-define or re-interpret the Bible and the Christian faith. There is also a Christian deconstruction trend all over social media-which has ultimately led to many abandoning their faith. Instead of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong, so many have chosen to adopt the practices of the world. Peter writes “be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). We must consistently study God’s word, spend time with the Lord in prayer, and choose to stand for biblical truth. Not to show the world how “perfect” we are, but to show them who Jesus is. 

We want to thank Courtney Harper for sharing this post.