Tag Archives: Christian discipleship

How’s Your Social Media Image?

While at a social media site a few days ago, I noticed a post by a well-known worship songwriter. In it, he used profanity. It disappointed me at the time. I marveled at the disconnect between writing songs which glorify the Lord and using language which was so far from how Jesus would speak.

This is not by any means the first time I have seen such language coming from people in ministry. It seems to go on quite a bit, in fact. Maybe in some circles it is considered “hip.” However, I doubt if it is hip in the Lord’s eyes.

I wonder how many of us realize that we are constantly exposing the true condition of our hearts via social media. The things we personally say, “like,” and repost there clearly reveal to everyone the depth of our intimacy with Jesus.

Do we ever stop to consider who might be scrutinizing our witness of Him? Are we perhaps causing other believers to stumble through what they see us promoting? Does it make someone think, “It must be OK, if he’s doing it”? (Or maybe they just struggle with judging us, based on what they see.) How about the nonbelievers’ reaction? Do they say to themselves, “I see that Christians are no different than the rest of us. Why should I even consider becoming one?” Who are we, in our thoughtlessness,  disappointing or grieving?

The apostle Paul spoke on these matters two thousand years ago. He said, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Ambassadors act and speak on behalf of the higher authority who sent them. When we don’t do well at accurately representing our Savior, we hurt His cause, even to the point of driving others away from Him.

The Bible gives us guidelines for how believers are to speak:

Do not let any corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth. Instead, speak what is good, for the purpose of building up, so that it may minister grace to those who hear it. — Ephesians 4:29

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. — Ephesians 5:4 (ESV)

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one who speaks the very words of God, … that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ …. — 1 Peter 4:11

My purpose is not to suggest that we all point the finger at those who use vulgar language or do anything else inconsistent with Christ. Rather, it is about each of us taking an honest look at our own heart. May we not fall into the trap of smugly accusing our brothers and sisters. Romans 14:4 warns against that: “Who are you to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yes, he shall be held up, for God is able to make him stand.” With those we know well, perhaps the answer is to talk with them about how their speech affects us. For the rest, we can always pray for them when we see something amiss. Prayer changes people; judging them does not.

When I come before the Lord in the day described in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, I want to have as little wood, hay, and stubble showing up as possible. I have no desire to provide the materials for the mother of all bonfires! I want to have my actions, words, and thoughts increasingly line up with what Jesus would do, say, and think. The route to doing that is keeping close to Him through prayer and the Word, so that I become more and more like my best Friend.

We have been promised a future “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, which will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4). Speaking of that day when Jesus appears for His own, 1 John 3:3 sums up how we should conduct ourselves in the meantime: “And every man who has this hope in Him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”

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Lord Jesus, may we endeavor to be the best ambassadors for You that we can be. Help us to guard our words and actions carefully, so that we might elevate all those who observe us into a higher attraction toward You.

River Life: Entering into the Character of Jesus

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Before Whom We Stand Is Here!

BeforeWhomWeStandbigElijah knew Him intimately as “The LORD … before Whom I stand.” 

Who is this mighty God Whom we love and serve? What does it mean that He is sovereign? Does He do miracles yet today? How can we be certain that He will do for us what the Bible says He will do?

In Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God, I present simple, foundational explanations of God’s nature, as revealed in the Bible. You will discover His impeccable character, how the Persons of the Trinity function together, and the particular roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. You will also discover how God’s nature affects the way He interacts with people.

Whether you are established in your faith, a new believer, or someone seeking to know more about what Christians believe, this book is sure to increase your understanding of Who the God of the Bible is.

Before Whom We Stand can be used for individual study, discipleship classes, as an evangelism tool for reaching seeking nonbelievers, or as a supplemental Bible class text for the older homeschooler.

Available in print from Amazon and Full Gospel Family Publications.

Available as an ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo, and other ebook distributors.

Changing Your Negatives into Positives

Every one of us struggles with negative qualities in our character — flaws that we would prefer not to have to overcome.  Perhaps you feel badly about having certain traits, and you wish you could change them.  There is good news: your weaknesses can become your strengths, and God delights to help you with the necessary changes. 

Every character flaw is actually a good quality that has run amok.  Once we understand this concept, it is far easier to love ourselves as we are, and make the adjustments that will set things right.  You see, our less-than-lovable character traits are due to a marring of God’s image within us, a distortion of God’s original plan for us.  The distortion is there because of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin way back in the Garden of Eden.  But ever since Jesus redeemed all mankind through His atonement at the cross, He has been restoring all things.  He wants to restore you! 

Let’s take a look at some common negative character qualities, and see what God wants to restore us to.  Each negative quality has an equal and opposite positive side to it, the unmarred trait that was God’s original intent for us. 

1.)  Stubbornness becomes persistence and perseverance when the restorative hand of God is applied.  The persistence/persevering side is crucial for intercessors and Christian leaders. 

2.)  Criticalness is the flip side of discernment.  Discernment is a vital tool in getting Kingdom work done.  When we understand the difference between these two, we no longer have to feel paralyzed by negative impressions received in our spirit-man.  (See my post, Criticalness or Discernment?)

3.)  Bossiness is the immature mark of born leadership.  Born leaders see the goal and just want to get it done!  Developing a heart of servanthood helps us overcome bossiness. 

4.)  Arrogance transforms into confidence.  Arrogance is all about me and what I can do in my strength; confidence is all about knowing who I am in Christ and letting His Spirit work through me. 

5.)  The tendency to be controlling becomes decisiveness and the ability to take the lead when a need presents itself.  Control has a root of not trusting God.  As we yield to Him and let go, He teaches us when to take the reins and when to restrain ourselves.  We learn to delegate, rather than manipulate, and to leave our hands off of whatever is not our realm of responsibility. 

6.)  Paralyzing timidity and fearful caution change into prudence that weighs situations in the balance and moves forward in wisdom. 

7.)  Blunt lack of tact, when redeemed, becomes a steady directness, a stay-the-course truthfulness, seasoned with grace. 

All of the above negative character traits become positives when they are remolded by the Holy Spirit into actions tempered by love. 

How does God bring forth the positive? Time with Him reshapes us into His image and imparts His heart to us. We become like the One we lavish our hours upon in prayer, Bible meditation, and listening to Him.

Suffering brings forth humility and compassion for others.  Yielding ourselves to His discipline, allowing Him to bring us through testings, and submitting ourselves to others are all necessary components for growing in Christ-likeness.  The refiner’s fire cannot be avoided if we wish to move forward in the Lord’s plans for us.  When we bring our known faults before God and actively ask Him to redeem them, we open the way for Him to transform us. 

There is a good future ahead of you.  Don’t let your weaknesses keep you down.  Instead, give the Holy Spirit free rein to work on them, and watch Him change them into strengths worthy of honor.

 For character building resources for children and adults, please see our website — Character Building for Families