Tag Archives: Bottom Line

I Think it’s Safe to Say…

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
2 Timothy 1:9 NIV

•”So many have the idea that in sanctification we draw from Jesus the power to be holy. We draw from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him… This is the mystery of sanctification… it is His holiness in us.” Oswald Chambers from Our Brilliant Heritage.

This Scripture reminded me how easy it is to equate holiness with behavior. Holy behavior is an convenient yardstick for us but even that good thing can be a problem if it’s the goal instead of the outcome of a relationship to Christ Jesus.     I’ve actually never thought in terms of holiness and power before. It seems an odd combination to me. Then I realized I’m sitting here with the perfect object lesson. Remember this is meant to be a spiritual comparison to ponder for daily life not an ad for digital devices.

I think it’s safe to say right now you’re reading on your computer, an iPad or maybe a smart phone.
•These are all amazing devices created for an important purpose. In my comparison these devices would be us. We are created for God’s own purpose that we might life a holy life.
•These devices have given us finger-tip access to almost limitless information. In my comparison this would be the resources of faith that God has made available online including many versions of the Bible and commentaries of saints, old and new.
•The bottom line is these devices are dependent on a source of power outside themselves. They have to be regularly recharged or they are not able to do what they were created to do.

I think it’s safe to say that is the bottom line of my comparison too. We are dependent on a source of power outside ourselves to live a holy life. Our holiness is “not because of anything we have done but because of his [God’s] own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time…” Our power source is this: “We draw from Jesus the holiness that was manifested in Him…”

Plans for the Future

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

This is one of the loveliest of all Scriptures. The Lord clearly states his plans are “to give you hope and a future.” Those plans are in place to preserve and restore his relationship with his creation.

Our bottom line is only a mustard seed away from believing what God has declared to be true. Remember the story about the mustard seed? The smallest of all “seeds” of faith  in him is all it takes.  “Call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” That’s the plan!

Practice…Simplicity and sincerity

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

We try many things in our attempt to “delight in the Lord” only to discover we still can’t find that bottom line because we’ve made it more about what we do than the desires of our heart. Our problem is we think we’re strong enough to figure out what the desires of our heart are instead of admitting we haven’t a clue. We take God at his word that our hearts are his domain without remembering he sees the reality of those desires. It’s a scary fact we have to face that God may allow us the desires he sees there.

C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory said this: “If we consider the unblushing promises of reward … promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us…”

The Westminster Shorter Catechism gives us a simple bottom line. Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

This is about the Simplicity of Grace.   Grace is not an exemption for our flaws. Grace is God’s bottom line.  It’s purpose is to change us through combining the desires of our heart and our actions with what he knows to be true about us. Grace is the place your heart finally learns the “desire” to “take delight in the Lord.” Grace is the Simplicity of what it means to “glorify God” and sincerely “enjoy him forever.”

Encouragement

2 Thessalonians 1:3 – Four Versions
3 Dear brothers, giving thanks to God for you is not only the right thing to do, but it is our duty to God because of the really wonderful way your faith has grown and because of your growing love for each other. TLB

3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. ESV

3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater; NASB

3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. NIV

The version of the Bible you read is a trusted source but it’s interesting to look at the same verse in different versions and note their similarities and differences in phrasing. It’s a way to amplify the bottom line of their truth. It’s so easy to read and agree but miss their importance to your own life.

1. Regarding thanks:
Dear brothers giving thanks to God for you
We ought always to give thanks to God for you [2]
We ought always to thank God for you
2. Regarding who:
brothers [2], brethren, brothers and sisters
3. Regarding why:
the right thing to do, but it is our duty,
as is right,
as is only fitting
and rightly so
4. Regarding faith:
wonderful way your faith has grown
your faith is growing abundantly
your faith is greatly enlarged
your faith is growing more and more
5. Regarding relationships:
growing love for each other
love of every one of you toward one another
love of each one of you toward one another
love all of you have for one another
6. Regarding growth:
growing, increasing [2], grows ever greater

Regarding 2 Thessalonians 1:3
Giving thanks to God for the growing faith you see in a brother or sister is “the right thing to do.” Seeing the power of faith at work in someone else’s life teaches us to trust God and encourages us.

Faith is personal but it’s not solitary. When we speak [or write] to that someone to let them know their growth has become part of our own faith it honors God and encourages them. That’s how “the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater…” and becomes a reality people can see.

The Bottom Line

Hosea 9:8 “I appointed the prophets to guard my people, but the people have blocked them at every turn and publicly declared their hatred, even in the Temple of the Lord.

10 “O Israel, how well I remember those first delightful days when I led you through the wilderness! How refreshing was your love! How satisfying, like the early figs of summer in their first season!,…

This is the bottom line: a faithful prophet and an unfaithful wife have become an object lesson for us. God is determined.  He will be our guard.  He will not let us self-destruct without a fight.