James 2:10-11 (NIV)
10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
Who do you say Jesus is?
It is important that Christians know who Jesus is. It’s not enough or acceptable for us to learn to walk in His footsteps. We must try to establish a personal relationship with Him. Because only then we’ll get to know Him and the power of His might.
The disciples were His brethren for a long time; they saw the miracles. But when Jesus challenged the group to see if it knew who He was, everybody failed except Peter.
The Bible says Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi. While there, He asked his disciples. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
“Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say, Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.”
“What about you?” He asked them. “Who do you think I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
That exchange tells me that up to that moment, those men were still skeptical about Jesus. They were just going through the motion for the benefits.
What benefits? You might ask. There are a lot of advantages to gain from embracing Christ. Politicians do it to attract a certain voting block. Business people do it to enhance their status.
But embracing Jesus for vain reasons is a recipe for disaster. It’s like building a house on sand. When the wind of tribulation blows, we need a good solid foundation to withstand the test of time. That’s why it is so important that we seek to know the Lord better. And strengthen our relationship with Him.
Twenty-sixteen was a challenging year for many, including myself. But I will not dwell on the past. Instead, my mindset will be like that of the beloved apostle Paul, when he declared. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Like Paul, I compare the Christian life to a race; a marathon. You never know what’s coming up next. Some days it’s like a piece of cake, other days the obstacles are more than you can handle. And as long as you continue to press on you will never be comfortable. The enemy is your competitor, and he is much smarter and trickier than you are.
Some Christians will tell you that their troubles ended when they accepted Christ. But that’s so contrary to what Jesus and the apostles taught us. As Christians, we are vulnerable to the schemes of the enemy, and we will fail sometimes, but we must not quit. If anything, we must continue to press on toward the goal to win the prize.
So, my friends, as we usher in the new year, let’s not become complacent, conceited or self-righteous. Rather, let us be humble at heart as the beloved apostle was when he wrote. “Brothers and sisters, I don’t consider that I have taken hold of it yet, (the prize). But here is the one thing I do. I forget what is behind me. I push hard toward what is ahead of me. So, I push myself forward toward the goal to win the prize. God has appointed me to win it. The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Happy New Year!
There comes a time when everybody goes through the storms of life. Often they come when you least expect or when one is most vulnerable. And if one is not careful he or she could become so overwhelmed that you forgot Jesus could calm your storm.
Even so, being followers of Jesus Christ may not stop the tempest or the rolling billows. But you can rest assure Jesus can calm your storm. Still, sometimes your blessing comes at the end of the storm. And all you need to do is stay calm and ride it out. The late John Newton who knew a thing or two about storm and tempest wrote, “With Christ in the vessel I can smile at the storm.
Without a doubt, my fellow world citizen, if you got caught in the storm of life do not panic and do not despair. Just remember the following words spoken by Jesus. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Just like many of you, I worry about tomorrow. I worry about my future, my kid’s future; there is always something that causes any number of us to worry. But sometimes our worry is unnecessary. Other times it’s out of genuine fear of what might or might not happen. Either way, worrying is an unwelcome burden we take unto ourselves.
As Christians, we shouldn’t worry so much. In fact, we should cut worry out of our lives. Instead, we should pray, and do what Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). The writer of 1 Peter 5:7 said: “Cast all your anxiety on Him (Jesus), because He cares for you.” Also, the Psalmist David said this: “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain thee. He will never let the righteous be move, (Psalm 55:22).
My late grandmother thought me how not to worry about things I cannot control. A long time ago she noticed that I was beside myself. She asked me what was wrong. I told her that I feared I did not do well in my grade nine achievement exams. She looked me in the eyes and said, “Too late! Worry won’t change what you wrote on your exams.” That was good advice, but I do not always use it for my benefit.
Indeed! Worry never made a wrong decision right. It never changed the course of a hurricane, and it never stopped a financial disaster. But it can wreak havoc on one’s health. Why waste precious time worry?