By Greg Silverthorne
As I stated earlier in this Series, Worship is an essential element of an abiding Christian’s life. However, a Christian, one who is fervently and effectually faithful, must do more than just worship the Lord two hours on Sunday morning. Even if God is worshiped ‘in spirit and in truth’, more is required of Christians. There are six habits, six (6) Potent Pillars, that anchor a man, woman, or child who is ‘Real’ in their Christian life. How many of these habits do you practice?
- This post will explore 3 of these six Potent Pillars.
- It is part of the Our Stories, Our Praise, Our Worship SERIES that was launched last year.
Your PRIORITIES: Put God First, Everyday!
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
A God-first approach to life is, like proper worship, essential to experiencing ‘Real’ Christian Living. My Pastor (Dr. Rev. James A. Webster) said something long ago that helps me know what an abiding Christian should do and prioritize.
- A saved child of God’s priorities, respectively, should be God, Family, and Church. God should get priority over Family, and Family over Church. While, as Pastor Webster acknowledged, the ordered priorities overlap a bit at times, they’re generally a good way to guide the steps of a Christian. They are, I feel, the Proper Priorities for any man, woman, or child who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, as the keeper of their spiritual soul.
Once in place, and followed faithfully, taking a God-first approach to life, my Pastor and I feel, will serve a Christian well. As opposed to improper priorities, or no priorities at all (!), putting God over family, and family over church is generally a prudent way to please the Lord – and enjoy Real Christian Living. The Christian Assurance Pillars I introduced and explored in a Series last year (link), along with the “Your Christian Walk: Get S.E.T., Worship, & Rejoice!” post (link) in this Series, capture what ‘Real Christian Living’ is. As I noted in that post:
A faithful, Kingdom-seeking Christian is Sanctified, Empowered, and Transformed. Their Walk and Worship is for real!
Please avoid a church-first approach to life. I’ve learned during my walk that a casual observer can confuse someone’s Diligence (as a churchgoer) with their Discipleship. That another person is physically in Church every Sunday, like clockwork, is not the same as their walking effectually with the Lord everyday. The latter involves one wearing ‘the full armor of God’ Scripture tells us. However, the diligent, but not transformed, are only wearing their Sunday Best attire – and no armor!
The Book of Matthew offers insightful guidance on this Christian Living pillar. Matthew 6:33 (which led this section) is, by the way, the Biblical verse that anchored by embarking (as an adult) on my current Christian walk! To put it simply, Kingdom seeking shouldn’t be a Secondary (or Tertiary) Priority for any child of God who wants to enjoy real Christian living. Those who seek the Lord’s Kingdom first and also honor ‘the Great Commandment’ (Matthew 22) surely have the proper priorities.
- Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22: 37-38 NKJV)
Just as a church-first approach is an ‘unreal’ way for a Christian to live, a work-first approach to life isn’t good either. A Christian worker who is a workaholic, and puts their family and God last, is surely not being ‘real’ in their Life Priorities. An abiding Christian has a God-first mentality. Never forget who your Real Boss is!
- He’s the one who allows you to wake up on Monday morning, not the one who approves your time at work every week or two.
At the core of this Potent Pillar (PRIORITIES) is the 2nd Christian Assurance Pillar:
Sovereign Waymaker and Merciful Shepherd
Understand that the Lord is the linchpin for their joy and peace. There is no limit to the power of God. If you put him first, how can you fail? Read Romans 8 and Psalm 23. If he’s for you, who can be against you?
Your PATH: Be an Effectual Faith Walker
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
Faithful Christians do Everyday what other Christians only do occasionally.
At the core of this Potent Pillar is the 5th Christian Assurance Pillar: Right, righteous Path
Those who do what’s ‘good’, who ‘cast their cares’ on the Lord, and who walk on God’s uncrooked path (Proverbs 3:6), can be assured they’ll never ‘fall’. While they’ll slip or stumble, the spirit will step in and help those -who are on the right path- regain their balance . . . and continue walking.
- SCRIPTURE: John 14:1, 4-6; Hosea 14:9; Isaiah 30:21
1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. John 14: 1, 4-6 (NKJV)
- Scroll to the top of this page for a moment. The header image for this blog showcases this powerful New Testament scripture.
- A faithful Christian’s soul, like a Compass, always points them in the Right Direction. An effectual Faith Walker’s Christian Compass keeps him or her on the right path! Walking by sight isn’t going to get you to the right, God-pleasing Destination. If you’re an abiding Christian, you know ‘the way to go’, even if Thomas, Doubting Thomas, didn’t!
Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them. Hosea 14:9 (NIV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
- Check out a Devotional I posted on this blog last year (Link)
- The eleven Disciples in Matthew 14 who were fearful (unlike Peter) didn’t have the ‘walking wisdom’ expressed in this verse from the 30th Chapter of Isaiah. At times in your life, you’ll even be able to ‘walk on water’ too! Know the way; walk in it.
Your POWER: Be Strong, Be Sanctified
This is why I remind you to fan into flames
the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1: 6-7 (NLT)
Once a Christian is on the right Path, and has the proper Priorities guiding their steps, they need to tap the Power that lies within them. If you do, you’ll be strong – and make progress to be truly sanctified.
Stir up the Gift!
When I think of Christians living their lives with Power, these two 2 Timothy verses come to mind. The New Living Translation was cited above. The New King James Version of 2 Timothy 1: 6-7 reads:
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
A great Gospel song featured on this blog (post), “Stir Up the Gift”, makes this New Testament scripture come alive. Joe Pace and the Colorado Mass Choir encourage all Christians and believers to ‘stir up the gift’ that the Lord has placed in them.
Will you stir up the gift that God’s placed in you?
Be Strong: What Saith the Lord
- Joshua 1: 1-9 (NIV) speaks for itself on being strong. The powerful words in this Old Testament scripture make it very clear what saith the Lord on being strong. Read these nine verses and be blessed . . .
1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them–to the Israelites.
3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. 4 Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates–all the Hittite country–to the Great Sea on the west. 5 No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
6 “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” [Emphasis added]
As explored earlier in this Series, in “Your Christian Walk: Get S.E.T., Worship, & Rejoice!“:
A Real Worshiper has a Spiritual dimension which, over time, becomes stronger and more robust. These Christians don’t just ‘talk the talk’, they ‘walk the walk’ too! A Sanctified Christian demonstrates regular, continuous Spiritual Growth. Sanctification, it’s important to note, occurs in stages – not in a single, simple step . . . For those who choose to go beyond just declaring themselves a child of God, John MacArthur feels that Cognition begets Conviction, and Conviction begets Affection.
At the core of this Potent Pillar (POWER) are two Christian Assurance Pillars:
Displaying Christian Courage in the face of Giants, Lions, and Life’s inevitable Storms:
Being an ‘untimid’, strong Christian. God has given you a spirit of power, not of fear. Know that God’s got your back! Being concerned, not worried, when you encounter life’s ‘lions’.
Live faithfully, pray effectually, and praise continually.
Your walk is revealed in your everyday actions, not just your worship. ‘Walk by faith, not by sight’.
In summary, the first three Potent Pillars of ‘Real’ Christian Living:
- Your PRIORITIES: Put God First, Everyday!
- Your PATH: Be an Effectual Faith Walker
- Your POWER: Be Strong, Be Sanctified
This post has been in my ‘mental Crock Pot’ for quite a while! My economic storms in 2014, which I’ve overcome thank God, kept me from being able to do it the way I felt it needed to be done – until today. In a few days (Feb. 3rd) the other three Potent Pillars of ‘Real’ Christian Living will be set forth and explored. Hint: The prolific man who wrote over half the books in the New Testament serves as the basis of one of those Pillars.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you.
(To be continued)
Crosses: Jerry Worster/flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
God – Paul Ford/flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Red Hallway (Seminary at the Univ. of Chicago) – Chris Smith/flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Man on Blue Mountain – Shane Gorski/flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)