Being a successful Christian

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

Awesome, meditate on the Bible and we will be successful, having money, good health and well liked.

As much as I would like to see that statement in the Bible, the more I meditate on it the more I know that is not the case. Paul was a great example of this, He knew the scriptures, walked by faith and preached the gospel. Yet, Paul never had a lot of money, didn’t have a position of power, was often jailed and beaten, and had some type of physical affliction that God would not take away, even though Paul prayed that God would.

So, was Paul successful? From here it doesn’t look like Paul was very successful. So was the Bible wrong then when it said that we will “have good success”?

Before we say the Bible was wrong, or that Paul wasn’t successful, here is another thought. By who’s standards are you measuring success? Fame, fortune, health, a place of power, these are all criteria that the world bases success on, but Christians are not of the world.

1 John 2:16 “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

1 Corinthians 2:12 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

No, the success that God tells us about in the Bible must be different than our own definition of success. Paul was successful, he obeyed God in what he did, so Paul’s success was in the Lord, and in doing the Lord’s work.

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Colossians 1:9-11 “that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Psalm 1:1-3 “1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.

We will be successful in the Lord when we do His work, according to His will. As Joshua stated, we will be successful by meditating on the Bible day and night, and not letting it depart from your mouth. This is the only way that you will be able to walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him.

Fully pleasing God… now that’s what I call success.

Does it not seem important that we be reading the Bible daily? How else our we to get to know our Lord? Every Christian needs to make it a point to read the Bible daily, this will help you have a Christ like attitude, and to avoid false doctrines.

It is vital in our relationship with the Lord, so make some time for it. God deserves at least a few minutes out of your day, right?

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Saving Faith

We all know that it is faith alone in Christ’s sacrifice that saves us, not any work we do. This does not mean, however, that to have faith means that you don’t have to do anything to show it.

James 2:1414 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?

James is not contradicting the Biblical teaching that we are saved by faith and not by any works. It’s true that no amount of good works can save you at all. But, what kind of faith does one have if it is never evidenced by works?

Do you see the difference?

Jesus gives us a life changing spirit when we accept Him, so how can someone truly believe and not be affected by that spirit?

Paul even recognized the need for good works when he wrote in Titus 3:8

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

One way to say it is “Faith alone saves, but faith that saves is not alone.”

James 2:15-1715 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?
17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Someone who has the love of God filling them will desire to help out a fellow Christian. It does no good to just offer religious advice and then send them on their way. Faith needs to take action, and more than just prayer. Yes it’s true that if we pray for someone God will provide for them, but sometimes he expects US to be that provision.

When someone is in need, prayer alone is not the answer. We need to step up and help out, especially with the most basic of needs. “Be warmed and filled” shows that the person in question knew what the needs were, they just refused to help meet those needs.

If someone has faith, but doesn’t put action to that faith, then what good is it? God has work for us and we need to do it. God filled us with love and we need to display it.

James 2:18-1918 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe, and tremble!

Some people may say that some have the gift of works, and others the gift of faith, or that some are called to works, but this is wrong! Faith is demonstrated through works.

The appeal of James is clear and logical; we can’t “see” someone’s faith, but we can see their works; you can’t see faith without works, but you can demonstrate the reality of faith by works.

Demons believe in God, but they don’t have an active faith. We need to have an active faith.

James 2:20-2420 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?
22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?
23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.
24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

Abraham was justified by faith way before he was asked to act upon it. The action did not develop Abraham’s faith, but it was an evidence of it. If Abraham did not have faith then he would not have had that action. Works and faith need to work hand in hand. Works must accompany a genuine faith because genuine faith is always connected with regeneration.

As Charles Spurgeon said: “The grace that does not change my life will not save my soul.”

James 2:24-2625 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Rahab is another example of someone who was not saved by their actions, but their actions proved that they were saved.
Rahab demonstrated her trust in the God of Israel by hiding the spies and seeking salvation from their God (Joshua 2:8-13), yet her faith did something; her belief in the God of Israel would not have saved her if she had not done something with that faith.

The lesson from Abraham is clear: if we believe in God, we will do what He tells us to do. The lesson from Rahab is also clear: if we believe in God, we will help His people, even at our own expense

Just as you can have a body without life, you can also have faith without works. Both are dead and mean nothing.

Our faith must be accompanied by good works.

Dealing with Discouragement

Definition of Discouragement – To deprive of confidence or hope.
Discouragement also means – Depressed, Despirited, Pessimistic.
Psalm 25:4-5 – Our Hope is in the Lord, we cannot lose our hope.
Psalm 42:11 – Why be downcast; praise God.

Being Discouraged Angers God
Numbers 32:9-11 – Discouragment angers God.

God promises not to leave us
Deuteronomy 31:8 – God PROMISES not to leave or forsake us.

Discouragment And Depression Are Not Natural
Joshua 1:9 – God commands us not to be discouraged.

Since God commands us not to be discouraged, is it a sin to be depressed?