“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21
I started a new bible study with a group of ladies from church this week. We are starting a 7 week study on the book of James by Beth Moore and I am glad to get back into a time of shared study with these ladies. As I stated to them the morning we started, “I may be blogging about some of the things we are studying because I just write about whatever God lays on my heart from my study time each morning and now this bible study will be added to the mix.”
Well, this morning is my first blog that is related to the Beth Moore bible study Mercy Triumphs. At the end of day two of the first week the section is titled “Resurrection Power” and the study focuses around the brother of Jesus and his transformation into a disciple. At the end of the day's study we come to a point where James the brother of John had been killed by Herod, Peter was miraculously released from prison by an angel, and then news is sent to James (a relatively new believer – within probably the past month) that all of these things were happening to those who are calling themselves now “Christians”.
As Beth ponders the thoughts of James and this new wild ride his believing in in half-brother to be the Son of God has launched him on, she concludes with this quote,“It's time to live like those who cannot die.” (Beth Moore) It was that quote that struck me this morning and made me think how I wanted to bring in some more biblical ammunition to help each of us take a step closer to living the way these new believers had to decide to live when death was only a step away every day they chose to make their steps worthy of the Lord they called their God and King.
Read these verses and see what I mean:
“For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:8
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
“But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” 2 Corinthians 6:4-10
I am going to leave you to ponder the truth in these verses this morning as I will be doing as I go about the busy tasks of my day. Meditate on them today with me. Let us read them and have them sit heavy on our hearts as we internalize what the call of following Jesus should really look like in our obedience and service to the Lord. Fear is our adversary when we start to dwell on the “what if...” scenarios that may follow our obedience, but the knowledge of the Lord and the fact that He has already overcome all we could ever encounter should be the rock on which we stand firm and resolutely agree in our hearts that we will follow Christ Jesus our Lord wherever He may take us - even if it means death of our mortal bodies.