Truth for Today

A WELCOME FRIEND

No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 
~ HEBREWS 12:11

Evaluating a trial as a joyful occurrence is something a Christian must discipline himself to do, because joy is not the natural human response to troubles. He must make a conscious commitment to face each trial with a joyous attitude. Paul was a prisoner in Rome when he said to the Philippians, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice. . . . I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (4:4, 11). He had learned to be content and rejoice in the midst of trials. That’s not something that happens by accident.

When you see a trial coming, take on an attitude of joy that comes from anticipating the perfecting work the Lord will do through it. We must have a decisive conviction that we are going to face trials with a joyful attitude. It is the joy of one who counts it a privilege to have his faith tested because he knows the testing will draw him closer to the Savior. Then a trial will become a welcome friend.

Truth for Today

NO FOOL’S PARADISE

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. 
~ PSALM 23:4

We have to realize that God is going to allow us to go through tests and that He is working all things out for His own holy purpose (Rom. 8:28). I know we all dream of a perfect environment of comfort and tranquility. Although any temporary rest from trials May lead us into believing we might find permanent exemption from them, our lives on earth will never be free from trials. We can live in a fool’s paradise, never forecasting any trouble and predicting a future of ease, but that is a fantasy. Christ warned His disciples and all who follow in His footsteps to expect trials in this life (John 15:18–16:6).

Puritan Thomas Manton once observed that God had one Son without sin, but no Son without a cross. As Christians, we can be assured that we will have trials. But our confidence is that we will have victory over them through the presence of God. Trials will come, but God’s grace will meet us in our time of need.

Truth for Today

LOVE ME, LOVE MEN

On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
~ MATTHEW 22:40

Jesus said that the Ten Commandments could be summed up in two commands: love Me, and love men. Perhaps you wonder how you can ever live up to all the commands in the Bible. The answer is very simple: love God, love men, and do what you want.

When you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and you love your neighbor as yourself, you can do what you want because you will be the person God wants you to be. Because of your love, you won’t kill anyone, defile anyone, steal anything, or covet what another person has. The Spirit will cultivate in your heart a love that precludes any desire to do wrong.

Truth for Today

BEARING TRUE FRUIT

Bear fruits worthy of repentance.
~ LUKE 3:8

Your essential character—your inner motives, convictions, loyalties, and ambitions—will eventually show through in what you say and do. Good works do not save you, but every believer is saved for good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10; see also Gal. 5:22–23; Col. 1:10).

For the believer, true fruit-bearing occurs with the help of Christ. The apostle Paul speaks of our “being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:11). On the other hand, unbelievers (including those who falsely profess Christ) will eventually demonstrate the bad fruit that their unregenerate lives inevitably produce.

If you are bearing fruit, you will be growing in all the areas Peter lists: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (see 2 Pet. 1:5–9).

Truth for Today

ENTERING THE GATE 

 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us. 
~ TITUS 3:5

When you enter the narrow gate of salvation, you must do so alone. A turnstile perhaps best represents the concept of the narrow gate. Just one person at a time, with no baggage can pass through a turnstile. God has ordained that people enter His kingdom singly, not in groups. You can’t ride in on the coattails of your church, your family, or your friends, no matter how godly those people are.

God’s gate is so narrow that you must go through it not only alone but naked. You can’t go through the gate clothed in sin and self-will. As the hymn writer said, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” That’s the way of the cross, which is the gospel. And the gospel is the narrow gate, which involves self-denial. Jesus said, “‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it’” (Matt. 16:24–25).

Truth for Today

HUMILITY SHOULD RULE 

Do not be conceited.
~ ROMANS 12:16, [NIV]

Conceited, self-serving Christians are a serious contradiction. If we would follow Christ we must be submissive to God’s will as contained in His Word. Any confidence you have in yourself, your own wisdom, or your natural talents must be subordinated to the Lord’s commands. 

In no way should you be conceited, or in any respect consider yourself better than fellow believers. Instead, God wants you to accept and embrace every member of the body of Christ: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:4).

Truth For Today

HOLDING ON TO WHAT’S GOOD 
 
Cling to what is good. 
~ ROMANS 12 : 9

As a servant of Jesus Christ, God wants you to bind yourself to everything good, to whatever is inherently right and worthy. That task requires the use of discernment. With the help of God and His Word, you must carefully evaluate everything and thoughtfully decide what to reject and what to cling to (1 Thess. 5:21–22).

As you separate yourself from worldly things and saturate yourself with Scripture, that which is good will increasingly replace that which is evil. Then, you will fulfill Paul’s message to the Romans: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you May prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (12:2).

Truth for Today

A CHANGE OF NATURE 

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
~ 2 CORINTHIANS 5:17

When you receive Jesus Christ, are born again, and enter into God’s kingdom, you become a totally different individual. The change that occurs when you’re saved is more dramatic than the change that will occur when you die because then you already have a new nature and are a citizen of God’s kingdom. Death simply ushers you into God’s presence.

In his epistles, the apostle Paul says that when God transformed us, He gave us a new will, mind, heart, power, knowledge, wisdom, life, inheritance, relationship, righteousness, love, desire, and citizenship. He called it “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Some teach that when a person becomes a Christian, God gives him something new in addition to his old sin nature. But according to the Word of God, we don’t receive something new, we ourselves become new!

Truth for Today

INTIMATE COMMUNION

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
~ JOHN 10:27

The apostle Paul taught the Ephesians that one of the functions of the church is to build up the people in “the knowledge of the Son of God” (4:13). The word knowledge refers to full knowledge that is correct and accurate. That is the knowing of which Jesus spoke in today’s verse. He was not speaking of merely knowing their identities but of knowing them intimately, and that is the way He wants His people to know Him.

Paul’s desire is for every believer to develop this deep knowledge of Christ by building a relationship with Him through prayer and faithful study of and obedience to God’s Word. Growing in this deeper knowledge of Christ is a lifelong process that will not be complete until we see the Lord face-to-face.