“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” (Psalm 19: 1-4, NLT)
Have you ever wondered why we humans think the stars are beautiful? We know they are just gases, atoms, heat and pressure millions of miles away, but why is it all so majestic to our senses?
Or what about the changing of the leaves during the fall season, why is that so stunning to us? A running horse in a big green field, galloping as it seems to shake the ground beneath your feet no matter how far you stand from it, why can’t we look away?
“Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her.” – 2 Samuel 13:15
One common expression many Christians say is that we should all try to be balanced. But what does being balanced really mean? And what does the Bible say about being balanced?
In one sense this is not a hard question. As Christians, we should be “balanced” in such a way where we are level headed, not overly dogmatic, and respectful of other people’s beliefs even if we don’t hold them ourselves.
Christians should also be balanced in that we should not hone in on one doctrine, trying to make the Bible and the Christian faith all about this one point, for as John Stott said, “Every heresy is due to an overemphasis upon some truth, without allowing other truths to qualify and balance it.”
“He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”-Luke 14:12-14
“For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.-Romans 15:8-9
Should we try and pay God back for all the good he’s done for us? We should not try to pay God back because this would be an attempt to steal God’s glory.
Rather, we should now serve him because it benefits us, glorifies him, and is a proper response of thankfulness towards God’s free gift of grace given to us through Christ Jesus.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29
Jesus spoke to the masses, he visited towns because that’s where the people were, and every Christian is told to make disciples of all nations. Like Jesus, to love well, we must go where the people are.
When Paul visited Athens, he spent his time in the marketplace where the Athenians “spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas” (Acts 17:21). By roaming the city streets, Paul gathered precious info about their pagan beliefs, thus giving himself a better opportunity to share the gospel in the most effective way possible (Acts 17:22-23).
So where are the people today? Where do they “spend their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas”? Where can we go to better understand their beliefs, culture, and current trends with the hope of giving ourselves the best opportunity to present the gospel most effectively?
There is a giant hole in the universe that can be felt no matter where you turn. Every song you here, every show you watch, and every novel you read has some echo of this hole reverberating through its content.
The Bible has never been more available to people. For example, by simply clicking on BibleGateway.com or downloading the free app, you can have every version of the English Bible right in your pocket.
But no matter how many options we have to read the Bible, we never will read it unless we know why we should. So what’s the point of reading the Bible? If you can’t answer the question, “Why should I read the Bible?” odds are you probably won’t read it.
Isaiah 62:5, Mark 10:9
The difference between teen romance and a deeply committed marriage is persevering faithfulness. When you date, you are gauging whether or not you want to remain with that person. When you get married, your only thought is to remain, love, and be faithful no matter what happens. Likewise, to be Christian, you must move past the dating season and fully commit to your marriage with God.
Colossians 4:3-6, Galatians 1:10
Does the Bible say we should not care what others think about us? No, but it does say we must seek to please God over people.
As every Christian matures, one of the things the Holy Spirit will surely convict us of is seeking the praise of man over God. In our sinful nature, we care about what others think of us for the wrong reasons.
Caring What Others Think of You Can Be Expressed Wrongly in Two Ways
When we seek the praise of people, it can be expressed in many different ways. The two ends of the spectrum are obsessive pursuit and obsessive avoidance. One person may do anything to be praised by people, while another person will do anything not to be seen by people, but both can have the same root issue – caring too much about what people think of them.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45
Put simply, we will never find God and live free by just avoiding evil but rather through pursuing Christ.
(To get the context for this article, you’ll want to read through Mark 2:1-12)
What does Jesus want from you? The most obvious answer is that Jesus wants us to love and obey him. But how does he want us to love and obey him? What does it look like?