Make 2018 About Glory

I love New Years Day. There is just something exciting about a New Year. The opportunities seem endless, new goals are set, and new dreams are imagined. However, more often than not we look back at the end of the year and wonder what happened. We failed to meet our goals, and end the year feeling dissatisfied. As I’ve been pondering the exciting new year that we have been faced with, I have been challenged with a thought that I believe has the potential to radically change the entire scope and outlook of our year. I believe that it can change us from the inside out and change the lives of those around us. With this in mind,  I share with you my overarching goal for 2018 that I hope you will join me in: Make 2018 about Glory.

The reason I think that this has potential to enrich our lives is that I believe that each of us is already living for Glory in our lives. The imperative question, then, is simply; ” to whom or what are we bringing glory to?” Ultimately this question boils down to two possible answers: You are either bringing glory to yourself or to Christ. I believe that our best chance for an enriched and fulfilling life is to spend it passionately pursuing Christ in all we do. It is from this viewpoint that I have been pondering how and to what purpose I should be setting goals for myself in 2018. The verse that springs to mind as I ponder this question is I Corinthians 10:31 when it says, “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” We as Christians are called to an all-encompassing, passionate, pursuit of the glory of God in all we do. So with this in mind, I would like to share with you a few areas of my life I hope to glorify God in 2018. I pray that maybe one or two would be an encouragement to you.

Seek God’s Glory through His Word

“Wow, so original Tim.” This may very well be what is running through your mind right now, but while it may not sound exciting or ground-breaking, making 2018 about a diligent searching for the glory of God in scripture is the best decision we can make. There is simply no better way to gaze upon the glory of God, and then find out how we can have a part in magnifying that glory, then daily time spent seeking Him in His Word. There are many different ways this can play out in our lives, whether it is reading through the Bible systematically in 2018, or spending a certain amount of time each day devoted to the Bible. The method is not nearly as important as the end goal, which is to daily submit yourself to the life-changing words of the Word. Let us join with David when he prayed ” Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:15)

Glorify God through love for others

When asked what the greatest commandment was,  Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” This passage is so powerful. Everything we do in life should ultimately be done out of love for God and others. What better way is there to glorify the God of love than to be a people overflowing with love for others? I want 2018 to be a year where the love of Christ is so present in my life that I cannot help but extend that love to others. Let us let love be the end goal.

Glorify God through giving

This ties into the last point and is really just a specific way to love. As followers of Christ, we are who we are because of a gift. The just and holy Creator of the universe looked upon sinful mankind and gave us an inexpressibly amazing gift in the person and work of Christ. Christ was killed by sinful men in the place of sinful men so that we could receive the Gift of all Gifts – God Himself. Let us be amazed and driven to action as we ponder this great gift. Let’s glorify God through the giving of our time, energy, and money as we seek to point others to the Giver of all good gifts.

Glorify God through work 

This may seem like the most mundane and meaningless of the list, but when it comes to glorifying God it is of extreme importance and an area that I would like to do better in in 2018. God is a God of Work, he modeled work for us when He created the Universe in six days and gave work as a gift to the first man ever created. So whether you are in college or a career,  work as hard as you can with the Glory of God as your focus. Set Goals, work to meet them and accomplish them all with the Glory of God as your focus. Look to Jesus for help and work as hard as you can to bring him glory as you point others to Him through your work.

I hope that one of these was a help or an encouragement to you! Lets together make 2018 the best year yet as we set and achieve goals; all with the glory of God as our overarching theme.

 

Stop Trying to Impress God

A couple days ago I came across a passage in the book of Luke that really got me thinking. Am I trying to impress God, or am I impressed by God?

In Luke 18 Jesus tells a short parable about two men who went to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee; a  very respected religious leader who strived to live a moral and good life.  The other man was a publican, someone who would have been looked down upon by the religious people in those days. The Pharisee prayed toward God and began to list all of his religious service toward God that he had done that week, and thanked God that he was not like the publican. However, the publican was so humbled in God’s presence he wouldn’t even look up, but humbly pleaded for God’s mercy. Jesus said that the publican went home that day justified instead of the Pharisee. As I thought about this story it really got me thinking of how I can apply this to my own life. Am I doing things to try to impress God , or am I so impressed and in awe of God’s holiness that I long to become more like Christ and can only cry out to God for mercy because of my feeble efforts? Just a couple thoughts:

  1. I’m Not Impressive

Even our best human efforts are not able to impress God. So it is flat out foolish when I so often resemble that  Pharisee in the temple when I try to line up my good deeds against other people that I have observed in my life. It’s silly and even worse than that, prideful.  God is infinitely more holy than us, so for me to think that my good acts could impress God is frankly laughable and grossly prideful.

 

2.  There’s no need to Impress God

Trying to impress God is not only foolish but it’s just a waste of time. If you have placed your faith in Christ, God loves you boundlessly. I realized that God sees me through the lens of His precious son and is filled with so much love toward me that I cannot fully imagine it. I John 3:1 says “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” This is love that has nothing to do with us, thats why it’s so impressive.  So rest in it Christian. God loves you, not because of how impressive you are, but because of how impressive Christ is.

3. God’s love makes me want to be more like Christ

The publican in the temple got it. He realized he couldn’t measure up so he threw himself on God’s mercy. This is what you and I need to do . The more we fall in love with God the more we will realize how far we have to go. The only thing left to do is ask God to help us be more like Christ because we love him.  Ephesians 5:1 says, ” Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” This verse sums it up. We are loved by God. We are his children, so we should want to follow him because of the great love he has bestowed on us. Think about that phrase: “dear children”. That is true affection. This frees us from uselessly trying to impress God. We are his children, we want to love Him.

So, lets realize we can’t impress God. Lets just be impressed by him and His amazing love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I a Christian Atheist?

Do you believe in God? Now I realize that some reading this may be atheists and if you are I would encourage you to keep reading my friend. However, this question is specifically directed at all of my fellow believers that may be reading this. I want to challenge you to dig into this question a little deeper, myself included. Do you actually believe in God?

You are probably wondering why I am asking this question considering that most of you reading this would wholeheartedly affirm with me that there is indeed a God. Let me answer that question with a question, directed at myself as much as anyone else: Why aren’t we living like it?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines Atheism as “a lack of belief or strong disbelief in the existence of a god or many gods.” Now all of us who believe in God would obviously disagree with this worldview. However, a thought that has been haunting me recently is simply this: ” Am I a Christian Atheist?” Now, of course, this term needs some clarifying as this may sound like a bit of an oxymoron. So before we go any further let me define what I mean by that. I realize that there is actually a theology out there that is literally called Christian Atheism. However, by the term Christian Atheist, I am simply referring to someone believing in God but living as if there is no God and that they are the God of their own life. If you were to ask me if I believed in God I would say that I do without a doubt believe in God. However, I fear that so often I live as if I believe that God doesn’t exist. I would like to assert that if we as believers in God truly believe in Him a certain lifestyle is only a natural offspring to this worldview. So let’s really come face to face with this question. Do I live in a way that makes it obvious that I believe in a God who controls my eternal destiny, or do I rather live in a way that to anyone observing gives the appearance that I am the God of my own life? 

I would like to make two propositions. First, that a true belief in God has radical implications for how I live my own personal life. Second, that a true belief in God has radical implications for how I live my life for others. I would like to dive deeper into each of these propositions, and I pray that this would be an encouragement to you.

A True Belief in God Has Radical Implications for How I Live my Own Personal Life

I believe in God, but it can’t stop there. Belief in anything always dictates a certain amount of action. For example, let’s say that I believe the weather report when it says that a huge hurricane is going to hit my town tomorrow. Yet I just continue on with my daily life and make absolutely no preparations for the hurricane. Any logical person would conclude that I do not actually believe the weather report that claims that a hurricane on the way. Sure I might say that I believe the hurricane is coming but my actions paint a completely different picture. We can take this same principle and apply it to belief in God. If we actually believe God and His Word than our lives must look drastically different. If I really believe in a supremely holy, sovereign, omnipotent, all-knowing, merciful, loving God that is also the judge of this world and holds holy wrath toward sin than I must live my life in a way that portrays this to be true. If I really believe the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:28 when he says “And Fear not them which kill the body but are not able to kill the soul: rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Wow, those words have radical implications. Romans 1 says that everyone has knowledge of God and that to deny God’s existence is just sinful man suppressing his own God-given knowledge of God Himself. Again these words have radical implications. All of sinful humanity stands condemned before a holy God whether or not we claim to believe in Him. However, if I do in fact believe in God I acknowledge that He alone is in control of my eternal destiny. Whether I spend eternity in heaven or in hell comes back to what I do with this belief in God. Thankfully, this is where Jesus steps in. God’s perfect sacrifice that atones for the sin of sinful man saves any who come to Him. It doesn’t stop there though. Jesus is the Lord of my life and if I truly believe this then my life is not my own. Suddenly every action I make is of extreme importance. Suddenly it is important how I speak, what I watch, how I spend my time, even what I think (ouch)

 

A True Belief In God Has Radical Implications for How I Live My Life For Others

If I truly believe in God, and believe what His word says about life and eternity, I come to the realization that my life’s purpose is to give myself for the needs of others. When I realize the utter and complete havoc that sin is wreaking all across the world then I realize that I do not have time to waste my life on only my self and my selfish desires. I must realize that my life is but a vapor or mist that soon vanishes. I must give my life for the furtherance of Christ and his glorious name. This is simply the only logical conclusion that can stem from a true belief in God. There are men and women who have never heard the name of Jesus. There are fellow believers all over the world being persecuted for their faith. There are those who are unloved, downtrodden, destitute, poor, and homeless. If we truly believe in God we must respond to His call to come and die with Jesus and give our lives for the glory of His name and the service of others. This, my friends, is the only proper response to a true belief in God. We have eternal joy waiting for us on the other side. Let us rise up and live in a way so that all the world can see that we really believe in a true living God. Or would you rather be a Christian Atheist?

Friend, pray for me that I will live my life in a way that shows the world around me that I truly believe in God, and that they would be drawn to Christ through my actions. I pray the same for you.

Do I Really Value Jesus?

Do I value Jesus?

I mean, do I REALLY value Jesus?

This is a question that I have been wrestling with in my mind recently. Yes, I love Jesus. But…. Do I value him above everything else? Am I a disciple of Jesus or merely someone who is in love with his benefits? Is Jesus more important to me than EVERYTHING else? Am I in love with HIM or am I in love with a version of Him that makes me more comfortable in my Americanized Christianity I have come to accept.

I would say yes to all of these quickly, maybe too quickly. But please friend, let’s really examine this question. Seriously, do YOU value Jesus Christ? I mean, really value him above all else. Like what if God stripped you of everything but Himself, would Christ be enough?

If you would have asked me those questions a year ago, I no doubt would have said yes. I also would have been lying. And I would venture to say I think most of us would be if faced with this question. Think about it, please, with me.

If I lost all my friends would Jesus be enough?

If I lost all my money would Jesus be enough?

If I was called to lose my LIFE would Jesus be enough?

Those are sobering questions to me. My halfhearted love of Christ came to a screeching halt when I encountered God’s Word. I realized something was wrong. These men in the New Testament loved Jesus so much they died for their faith, they were beaten and persecuted. They died poor. But here’s the stunning part. They gloried in it! These men were so in love with Jesus Christ that they rejoiced in flinging their lives away in His service.

For example, check out Acts 5.  A couple of the apostles were beaten and bloodied for preaching the gospel. Their response is what knocks me back and makes me come face to face with the reality of my hearts passive love for Jesus. Read verse 41!! THEY WENT AWAY REJOICING! Why?? Because they counted it an honor that they were counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s name.

Wow, this is so convicting to me. I struggle to stand up for Jesus because I fear that I might be “made fun of.” But these men were bloodied. They were beaten, and then they went away excited.  This response is so antithetical to the way I so often live my life. It is so convicting how I so often am so very passive about the very one who shed his blood for me. But it also fills me with HOPE. This is the amazing part. Think about it. I really enjoy basketball. Am I willing to be beaten for basketball? Am I willing to die for basketball? NO!! I would gladly give up basketball to ensure my safety. But Jesus…Oh, Jesus. He is something ten thousand times better than anything else. He is worth suffering loss for, He is even worth dying for. ONLY THE BEST THINGS ARE WORTH DYING FOR. This is the wonderful part. Jesus is the best of the best.

Paul sums it up in Philippians 3 better than I could ever. He states everything that he has accomplished in this life, and he accomplished much before his conversion. He was of rich lineage, highly intelligent, and zealous for the law. But he said he counted all these things as a total loss for Christ. Then he used really strong language describing what they amounted to compared to Christ. Dung, rubbish, totally worthless, or without value. He valued Jesus so much everything else looked like something that flies would be buzzing around at a city dump compared to the glorious Christ he loved so much. This passage shook me to the core! I am so far from this! Yet, I am filled with hope and joy because I realize how truly glorious our Savior is. I want to value my Lord the way that Paul did. The way the apostles in Acts valued Him. The ones who got excited that they got to be beaten for their Jesus. For He is worth it.

Friend, will you pray for me that I will see Jesus as simply better than anything else. Will you join me in striving to value Jesus Christ ABOVE ALL ELSE?

 

Who I Am

My name is Tim Hunter. I am 19 years old. I am a Christian. I love sports, reading, and laughing. But most of all I am a child of God. I love Jesus because he first loved me. I started this blog because I love people my age and can relate to the struggles they go through. God has been showing me a lot through his Word and my prayer is that this can have a positive impact on at least one person.

I believe that modern day, American Christianity can be so shallow and meaningless at times. There are literally hundreds of things vying for our affection. But nothing about God or Jesus is shallow at all. He is a never-ending source of all joy and meaning. I want to push myself and others to join me on my journey to know God, to love him, and to live for more.

So join me on my journey to live for more.