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We’re No Longer What We Were

             An interesting phenomenon is evident and seemingly growing among professing Christians. It is emphasis on exercising our Christian freedoms to the extreme. The lines between what were once considered “worldly” and opposed to the standards of God and what are not have become quite blurred. Many of us live like the world, talk like the world, consume like the world, and party like the world. Now, I’m not suggesting that we be prudes about enjoying life, or live with rigid restrictions on everything, but, come on folks…isn’t it time we who name the name of Christ stop trying to see how close to the world we can live and still have a little bit of God, and start seeing how close to God we can live and still navigate in the world? I’m not going to try to name particular practices; the Spirit of God can prompt you about what is appropriate and pleasing to Him. Instead, let me point out a couple of things from Ephesians 4 (as we continue our journey through

the last half of the book) that might help us be discerning, and, dare I say—hold on—live lives that are more honoring to God and even better for us? In 4:17, Paul says in part, “walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk.” Gentiles, in this case, are certainly a group of people, but they are also indicative of anyone who does not know God or walk with God. He says that they do much of what they do through ignorance and hard-heartedness, and have become calloused in their immorality and pursuits of sensual pleasure and greed. Is it normal to live like this? YES! At least for those far from God, but not for those of us who know Him. Paul continues emphatically—“But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught  in Him…” All that is what we once were; it’s our former life and not what we are now. He tells the Ephesians (and us) that this does not just happen automatically, but that God’s people are to “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” In other words, God’s people must appropriate what is ours in Christ. We must make the conscious choice to rest in God’s strength and deny the urges to continue living like we once were. Does that sound boring and awful? It is if we haven’t been changed on the inside. Even then, we can struggle to resist what has always seemed so normal. One thing is for sure, the more we keep living by the standards of the world, the more we will love and crave those things, but, the more we set our focus on Christ, the more we will desire the things that are of Him.

             Leslie and I soon will have been married for 43 years, and the longer we do life together, the more we act and think alike—and actually enjoy it…even relish it! I’d rather be with her than anyone else. No doubt that is by God’s design and the reason why He likens the relationship of Himself and His people to that of a husband and wife. Are you in that kind of relationship with God or are you merely trying to enjoy the benefits without the committed relationship. I can’t enjoy the benefits of married life strictly on my own terms. If Christians are really to enjoy life, it will be on terms compatible with God. My wife has the novel idea that my love and commitment should be fully devoted to her. Sometimes she will offer an opinion about something I’m doing, and I will (most of the time jokingly) tell her to mind her own business, and she is quick to remind me that I am her business! Much more so with God; He claims exclusive rights over us, so if we belong to Him, we no longer belong to the world. When we live in that exclusive, yet intimate relationship with God through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, life becomes everything that the world can’t offer.

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"Isn’t it time we who name the name of Christ stop trying to see how close to the world we can live and still have a little bit of God, and start seeing how close to God we can live and still navigate in the world?"

Mike Manning        
Director / A.M., Harmony Baptist Association
2001 S Cherry St. Pine Bluff, AR 71601
501-581-9776 cell  -  870-534-1021 office  -  870-534-4625 fax

 

Harmony Baptist Association 's 100th Annual Meeting

 

             Harmony Baptist Association will celebrate our 100th Annual Meeting on October 23rd at White Hall First Baptist Church. If you would like to volunteer to be part of a Celebration Team which will plan this meeting, please contact Linda at the association office or Moderator Paul Williams at White Hall First Baptist Church. We want to rejoice in looking back and seeing what God has done for us and looking forward to seeing how we can join Him in advancing the Kingdom!!!

 

MISSION GROUPS COMING TO HBA

These mission groups will do ministry around our association. If you have VBS, BACKYARD BIBLE CLUBS, construction or ministry projects, contact Harvey Hibner or Brother Mike

 

BLOCK PARTY

Do you need to host a block party for your church to reach the neighborhood?

Contact Bro Harvey Hibner to schedule a date for him to bring the block party trailer to your location

 

 

 

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