Zion Baptist Church
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Baptist Missionary Association of America
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By Mrs. Connie Reifsteck - Aug 2010
3 “Be”s for Christians
1. Be a joyful Christian
Psalm 51:8 a “Make me to hear joy and gladness...”
This Psalm was written by David after the prophet Nathan rebuked him of his sin against God, Israel and Uriah. David confessed his sin, and in this verse he acknowledges his weakened condition. He had lost the joy in his spirit, and was petitioning God to give the joy back to him. David was miserable without the joy of God in his heart.
The first thing necessary for joy is to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Look at First Chronicles 16:10 “Glory ye in his holy name; let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.” Probably our first experience of real joy was the instant we acknowledged Jesus as Savior. After that, we will seek to know Him better. The writer Jill Briscoe said “Finding joy means first of all finding Jesus.”
As we mature spiritually we should “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.” (I Chron. 16:11) We can continue our walk with God when we “Remember his marvelous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” (I Chron. 16:12) Without Jesus, could there be any joy? You would have nothing to help you through bad times; you would have nothing to be thankful for; you would not have the promise of eternal life if you did not have Jesus in your life.
In both the Old and New Testaments God Himself is the ground and object of the believer’s joy. From the Old Testament, read Psalm 35:9 “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD; it shall rejoice in his salvation.” and Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Look at how Isaiah says the Christian is covered. Think of the most extraordinary formal wear you can picture, and it cannot measure up to what Isaiah describes, this covering is so much better! Is this not something for which to be joyful? In the New Testament read Luke 1:47 “And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.” And Phil. 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice.”
Writer Barbara Johnson said “Look for the light of God that is hitting your life, and you will find sparkles you didn’t know were there.” Have you noticed the sparkles in your life? It’s not enough to hear someone else talk about being joyful. You need to experience it yourself in order to understand it.
Can we expect to have joy all the time just because we know Jesus? No. Flesh is weak, and many times Satan hits just the right button to rob our joy. But, we can have times of joy frequently if we take the first several words of Psalm 51:8 and make it a daily goal.
By thinking of the blessings we receive daily we can keep joy in our heart. And we can joyfully give thanks for those blessings. One of the shortest verses in the Bible is I Thess. 5:16 “Rejoice evermore.” This passage further instructs us to “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (vv. 17 & 18) God wants us to be joyful, and by seeking Him, maturing spiritually, and being thankful for His blessings, we can experience that joy.
2. Be a Cheerful Christian
Proverbs 15:15 b “...but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.”
While being cheerful and joyful are close in meaning, they are different. Both are moods which are usually reflected on our face. Being cheerful indicates a lightness of spirit, being pleasantly optimistic. Being joyful is an expression of exultation, or a feeling of intense or especially ecstatic happiness. Being joyful is being cheerful plus a whole lot more.
Sometimes it’s hard to be cheerful. Sometimes we feel less like “cheering up” and more like “tearing up”. God did not promise a carefree life, but He did promise He would be with us and help us carry our burden. That helps make us cheerful in the light of trying circumstances.
Have you seen a grumpy Christian and wondered if they really had the love of God in their life? We are given instructions in Phillipians 2:14-15 “Do all things without murmurings (grumblings) and disputings; That ye may be blameless and harmless (innocent), the sons (children) of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (generation), among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” [words in parenthesis added to clarify meaning). Since God instills in us the willing and the doing of His will, we don’t have a legitimate reason to grumble.
We reflect how we feel. If we don’t claim the joy of Christ, we won’t be filled with the joy of Christ. If we don’t feel the joy of Christ, we won’t reflect it. Christ promises us abundant life, but we have to claim it. When we give Christ what is rightfully His, which is our hearts and souls, we will receive His joy. The most important place for Christians to be is in a lost world, reflecting the joy of Christ, being of good cheer in a dark place. That is where true Christian witness is done and where our life will reflect the gospel.
When we do God’s will and don’t allow ourselves to be influenced by the world, we shine as lights in the world. Healthy Christian lives stand out in testimony to the lost and put truth to our words. So we not only tell by words from our mouth, but we tell by our cheerful actions and cheerful lives that we are cheerful Christians. We show that we have something others should want.
When we’ve trusted Jesus as our personal Savior, he will transform us; not for today only, but for all eternity. Knowing this, God’s children can share Christ’s joy and message with a world that needs both.
James 5:13 b says “Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.” I read this quote by a lady named Marie T. Freeman in a book – “God is good, and heaven is forever. And if those two facts don’t cheer you up, nothing will.” I think she said it all.
3. Be a Practical Christian
James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
The Christian has an ongoing and all-encompassing relationship with God and with His Son. Our Christian life reflects the life of Jesus. Jesus did not spend all His time in a church building (or the equivalent in His lifetime). He was out in the world, teaching His diciples practical Christian values. In keeping with the teaching of Christ, our relationship with Christ will seek to honor Him by doing as He did, and not ignore Him by ignoring the plight of the world.
James 1:27 tells us practical work for the Christian. There are those among us who need help in one way or another. With cheerfulness we need to act in a manner that reflects the teaching of Christ.
“Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 Take care of those who have less than you, or need more than you.
Matthew 25:34-40 give us Jesus’ own words about practical Christianity. “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” The disciples asked when they had done these things for Jesus. He told them when they had done these things for the “least of these my brothers” they had done the same for Him. How we treat the least of our brothers reflects our relationship with Christ. As practical Christians we need to respond to the needs of others as Jesus would.
“If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” James 1:26 This is the opposite of what we as Christians are to be. This is an example of someone who has left his inner life unchanged. There’s an old expression to “put your money where your mouth is.” We should not talk as though we are followers of Jesus’ while we act like the one described in James 1:26. We should be as the one described in Matthew 25:34-40, living as Jesus taught.