Phillipians 1: 21-24 NIV
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.
Phillipians 2: 13-14
13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
The author of these verses; Paul a hater of Christians and born again Christian. This is the epitome of two faced. How did this happen? This would be called a miracle. Can you imagine how Paul felt when those who he now followed in Christ began to fight him and constantly challenge his message. All the letters he wrote, all the time he spent on his travels bringing God’s good news, all the people he mentored and spoke to, and all the faith he now had in Christ. Wouldn’t he be owed something? Wouldn’t he be entitled to grand acceptance, love by believers, and red carpet treatment? Imprisoned many times, hated by Jews and leaders, and set to die. Where are his just dues?
Our life is full of contracts and expectations. We see everything as, “What will I get out of doing X?” For example, just recently I was in a heated discussion with my son over my expectations of him after his day at camp. He went into a long discussion about how he was exhausted and deserved time to rest and not do any work. Work can wait. It seemed I was being extremely unrealistic.
Unrealistic expectations can produce minimal outcomes. I can say I have experienced this too often.
How about those entitlements?
I worked hard so I deserve…
It’s my country, and I am owed…
I found it, then I should…
I have rights, and I should receive…
I loved you, so you should…
I have the right to be happy because…
As a Christians, we are provided a contract of sorts and are given entitlements from God. He grants us freedom from our sins through Christ. This makes me want to jump up and yell, “Hallelujah!” Wait, there’s more. We need to look closely at that contract’s fine print. We have some work to do.
This contract we have as Christians is very elusive. One minute we can read all the fine print clearly, and next, only a few words jump out, but the rest are blurry. The world’s view says, “Just sign here, and all will be well. Remember God is good.” Hmm? Sounds to good to be true.
You see that fine print, well it reveals God’s expectations of us living in this fallen world. It says we need to follow the path of His will, and then we will receive all the blessings bestowed to us of peace and joy.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It also says that if you don’t follow God’s will, then the contract is rendered null and void. What are we then entitled to? Well, we receive hopelessness, frustration, and lack of fulfillment. Our worldly enemy just smiles when he has so nicely gotten us to believe that contract we agreed to is working in our favor while we read it blindly.
How do we as Christians fulfill our requirements to this contract?
Jesus’s brother, James lets us know clearly what we do.
James 2: 19-24, 26
19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
We need to walk the walk and talk the talk. Only then in our words, actions, and reactions will we benefit from our contractual obligations with God.
Here is just a tiny glimpse of what having “real” faith will provide.
Eternal glory 2 Timothy 2:10
Freedom and confidence Ephesians 3:12
Forgiven Ephesians 1:7
Blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Ephesians 1:3
Righteous and holy in Christ 1 Corinthians 1:30
Romans 8:2 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
So, my friends in Christ we need to put on our reading glasses and dive into the truth. This truth of how we should live our lives in this world can be found in the oldest contract; the Bible.
As we know from Paul’s example, we can’t serve two masters. Which will you chose?