Do you consider yourself a greater man than John the Baptist? “No way!” you say. “He was the Lord’s forerunner. Didn’t Jesus say that there was none greater than John the Baptist? Doesn’t that mean John was even greater than Moses and David?”
You are right. That’s true, but let’s look further to the rest of the Lord’s statement: “… notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
Friend, are you saved? Is your name written in the Lamb’s book of life? If so, then you are part of the kingdom of heaven.
We are greater because we have the Holy Spirit. The Spirit enables and empowers us to do what our Lord calls us to do. We can do whatever is His will.
Brothers we have no excuses, and we are not victims. We are joint-heirs (Romans 8:17) and must be about the Master’s business (Luke 9:62).
“Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).
Want to make your life following Christ a joy and delight? Wake up every morning and sincerely tell the Lord “I delight to do your will, my Lord.” Then spend quality time reading His Word with the commitment to live it.
“I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:8).
Have you observed a believer who claims to follow God’s will make a decision that you greatly wondered how that could be ever be God’s will? Or, maybe you are wrestling with a decision currently. Here are some thoughts.
Jesus gave a clear, unambiguous command concerning following Him in Matthew 16:24. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
If any man will come after me: would your desire, your love, your resolve, your delight be to follow Jesus? (Not begrudging or a legalistic “do I have to?”) Is the deep desire of your heart to please Him?
Deny himself: forget yourself, your interests and desires. This can be summarized as the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The flesh desires pleasure, fun, ease, attention, money, power, and gratification. Jesus’ will is guaranteed to go against the cry of our flesh. Otherwise we wouldn’t have to deny ourselves. I have to wonder if what is often claimed to be “God’s will” might be self-gratification.
Take up his cross: it will (or is assumed to) be painful for not only the flesh but the soul. Jesus’ greatest suffering was taking on our sins, which exceeded His physical suffering.
Another test might be to observe what the world thinks about your choice. If it is popular with the world, you can expect it not to be Jesus’ will. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if being godly parents guaranteed godly children? I believe that most Christian parents consider themselves to be godly. Therefore, Christians go about their normal “godly” lives and expect their children to be godly, just like they are.
Here’s an intriguing example illustrating the fallacy of our thinking that way. The very good king Hezekiah and the (believed-to-be) godly wife Hephzibah were responsible for bearing the most wicked king. Their son, Manasseh reined 55 years, the longest of all the kings.
I plead with you to make your most pressing focus—the cry of your heart—to be raising your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Don’t assume it will just happen.
Brother, if that isn’t your lived-out passion, you are headed for a train-wreck of a heartbreak. Then it is too late.
“Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 21:1-2).
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6:5-7).
Is what brings you joy worth Christ dying for?
The heavy burden on my heart is to do all we can to build up and encourage Christian families in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Consistent with that goal, I am compelled to urge each husband reading this to bless your wife (and your marriage) with Teri’s latest book, My Delight, a message from her heart to your wife’s.
A wife who followed this counsel recently said: “I feel new love for my husband and appreciation toward him. He is soo happy and a little bit sad, because it happened late in our marriage. 🙂” A now delight-filled wife
I strongly encourage you to order a copy right now for the sake of your marriage. You won’t be disappointed.
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).
Do you have fond memories of what you left behind in the “good ole days?” “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26).
Love of the sought after, popular things of this world is offensive to the Lord Jesus (Matthew 16:23). The cure isn’t just saying “no” to the appealing things of the world, but following Jesus wholeheartedly. Pursue a relationship with Him that makes the world look like dung. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Philippians 3:7-8).
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
The sting of the world is bitter, but there are no regrets when we (and our family) unashamedly follow Jesus with everything we have.
If your wife rated you, how would you do?
– Decisively leads our family in pursuit of the Lord Jesus.
– Makes decisions consistent with our children becoming dynamic followers of the Lord Jesus.
– Speaks of the Lord Jesus’ working in his life frequently with the family.
– Makes decisions consistent with his owning the responsibility of the family’s spiritual direction.
– Makes decisions consistent with his owning the responsibility of the children’s behavior.
– Sets the example and inspires our children to be diligent workers as they prepare for the future.
“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27).
Do you struggle with time to:
- Read your Bible daily in the morning
- Have Family Bible time
- Spend time with your wife
- Spend time with your children
- Increase the value of your vocational skills
Someone screams, “The house is on fire. Get out!” Whatever you were too busy doing before, now means nothing. You have a new priority that produces action. Brother, your problem isn’t time but misplaced priorities.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:33-34).
Last year while hiking two 14ers with the family, I had some discomfort in my chest. I attributed it to the cold and very heavy exertion. I would either slow down or rest to relieve it and then trudged on. To my disappointment, I recently encountered a similar ache during Teri and my exercise multiple days in the cold. I realized I needed to get it checked out.
Today, a heart catheterization and two stents later, (99% blockage on one and 90% on another), I’m sharing what I’ve learned.
1) Family history of heart disease should be taken very seriously.
2) Proper cholesterol levels are very important as well as blood sugar levels.
3) The amount of excess weight one carries is a significant factor.
4) Exercise alone isn’t good enough.
My Brothers, I want to encourage you to consider the above points and get your cholesterol checked at least yearly and move the numbers in the right direction.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).