We need a clear view of the path we are walking. Many people wander aimlessly through life, as if in a fog. But the New Testament provides the clarity we need to please God. Note three ideas which help us keep our vision clear.
We begin with CHRIST CRUCIFIED. Paul says, “we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto us who are called, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (I Cor.1:22-24). The cross represents the greatest gift, love, sacrifice and pattern ever given to mankind (2 Cor.9:15; Rom.5:8; John 3:16; I John 2:6). It is central to our very existence. When Paul wanted to call the Corinthian church back from division, immorality, immaturity, and corrupt worship, he appealed to the cross. He asked, “Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (I Cor.1:12,13).- These questions helped them refocus on the precious sacrifice of our Lord. We respond to the cross through obedience, dying to sin and becoming more like Jesus in love and character (Gal.2:20).
We continue our walk with God through PENITENT FAITH.. Through continual study and growing in faith (Rom.10:17) plus an ongoing habit of repentance, we can accomplish all the Lord calls to do and to be. The sinner, with penitent faith, is ready to confess his faith (Rom.10:9,10) and be baptized for forgiveness (Acts 2:38). The Christian, trusting in the truth of God’s word, is ready to work, worship, live and think in the ways God has instructed. From the standpoint of penitent faith, we can reach out to a lost and dying world.
Finally, our vision is clear as we develop a GRATEFUL HEART. Paul says we are to thank God in all circumstances (I Thess.5:18). Paul doesn’t say “some” or “most” circumstances, but “all” of them. What a challenge! Only through a trusting faith (2 Cor.5:7) can we obey such a command. A thankful heart is essential to faith. Note Romans 1:21, “when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful…but they become vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened.” While unbelievers cannot see the blessings of God in the world, Christians are always abounding in thanksgiving (Col.2:6-8).
This is where we stand. Our lives revolve around Christ crucified, a penitent faith and a thankful heart. From here, the Lord works in us and through us (Phil.2:13).
* Some of these thoughts were gleaned from the editor of the Gospel Advocate magazine, Gregory Tidwell