Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October 11, 2012

"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" II Peter 1:5-6
One of the embarrassing moments of my mediocre athletic experience happened when I was playing High School baseball for the Warsaw Tigers. I came to bat with runners on  base and a chance to knock them in with a base hit. The pitch came and it was a late-breaking curve that I started to swing at but then tried to stop my swing and take the pitch for a ball. However, my bat went too far and made contact with the pitch resulting in a weak little ground ball that the first basemen easily scooped up and tagged the base. I was out. Upset at myself, I  took off my batting helmet as I crossed first base and slammed it to the ground so hard that it bounced back higher than my head.
My head coach was coaching first base and as I turned to head back toward the dugout he was standing there in the coaching box waiting for me. He was clearly angry and he lit into me about how I not only made myself look bad but I made the whole team and Warsaw High School look bad.
I had never seen him so upset and I knew he was right and was justified in his scolding of me. I immediately apologized as I realized I had only thought about myself and my own frustration and forgot that I represented Warsaw Community High School and the WCHS athletic program.
In my disappointment with myself for making an out I lost sight of my "Tigerness".
That is a picture of what Peter means when he call on us to "add to our faith.....godliness..."
What is Godliness?
Godliness comes from the Greek word "eusebia" and is used in the New Testament to express the idea of inner piety or spirituality. Vine defines this word as, "piety, which, characterized by a God-ward attitude, does that which is well pleasing to Him." Thayer says, "Reverence, respect, in the Bible everywhere piety towards God, godliness." And, Arndt and Gingrich says it refers to, "the duty which man owes to God piety, godliness, religion."
Thus, there are two parts to godliness. First, there is the "God-ward attitude" of "reverence and respect." Second, there also is the "doing of what is pleasing" to God, as the "duty" that we owe to Him.
Just as Coach Bock sternly admonished me for embarrassing the team with both my attitude AND my actions, Peter urges these believers to "think like God and act like God".
Godliness loves God and lives like it loves God. Godliness thinks and acts like God so that others think well of God and want to know Him as well.
Do you love God? Do your actions show it?

October 10, 2012

"When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted." Matthew 28:17

Now, why did they put that last phrase in there? Isn't that curious? I understand that Matthew would want us to know that the eleven remaining disciples worshiped the Risen Jesus - but did we need to know about the doubters?
How could you doubt Jesus when He is right there; risen, alive, and triumphant?
This serves as one more proof of the authenticity of the Bible. Had it been written by men who were trying to deceive they would not have included those three words "but some doubted".
So, what should we make of that statement?
Personally, I take encouragement from it! Here's why:
First, it tells me that these "some who doubted" (and we don't know how many of them there were) worshiped through their doubts. Even though they were unresolved in their faith, they didn't let it keep them from falling at the feet of the Resurrected Jesus.
Haven't you come to church some time when you were struggling with a doubt? What better place to be when you are unresolved in your faith?
Second, it tells me that God can use spiritually unresolved people to change the world! This same group of eleven became the foundation for the Church of Jesus Christ. So, not only did they worship through their doubts but the served through their doubts.
How many times have you stepped out into some new endeavor for the Lord and you weren't sure what the result would be. It was scary and uncomfortable for you but you leaned on His strength and worked through your doubts! I'm sure you have done that. I know I have!
Third, it doesn't say whether the doubts they had were toward Jesus or about themselves. For every doubt I have had about Him, I have had a thousand toward myself. In fact, when God began to lay the calling for ministry upon my heart, I resisted for four years primarily because I had serious doubts about my ability to measure up to that calling. I believed God could do it I just didn't think I could. Fortunately, a good friend assured me that when He calls He enables.
Why are those three words included in this significant portion of Scripture? I think it is because God want us to know that it is okay to have doubts as long as we worship through them and work through them. God is greater than our doubts!
If you are struggling with some doubts today - bring them to the feet of Jesus!