Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christian Conduct

"The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:7-11

God's Word is full of directives for conduct as a Christian. The book of Proverbs is bursting at the seams! But today the Lord had me focused on this passage in 1 Peter. It gives clear and simple instruction for these end times we are living in.

When I pray, pray with a clear mind and practice self-control. I am learning to keep a piece of paper handy when I have my quiet time. If I get distracted by my "to do" list or other things as I start praying, I can write my thoughts down therefore clearing my mind to pray. Having them written down assures me that I won't forget about them later.

I am also called to exercise self-control in order to have an effective prayer life. Indulging in or harboring things not pleasing to God will directly affect my communication with Him. I must come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart if I want my prayers to be heard and move His heart.

When I love, I am called to love others deeply. When I let my guard down and let people into my heart to love and be loved by, I am blessed. A love that grows and runs deep is very forgiving. When one of us falls down, the other loves enough to forgive or disregard the offense and the communication or relationship is restored. I am so thankful for friends and family in my life whose love runs deep.

When I am hospitable, I should be so with a happy heart. No one wants to be invited over to hear me grumble and complain. That wouldn't send them off feeling blessed or encouraged. I like people to walk away feeling loved on, hopeful and built up, even if they came in the door downtrodden. Much of that depends on the tone I set when I am exercising the gift of hospitality.

When I speak, I should speak as though God is speaking through me. I must seek to be yielded to the Holy Spirit and spend much time in prayer and God's Word, getting to know His character and His ways. Then prayerfully, the words I write and the words that come out of my mouth will be pleasing to the Father - a relection of Him - my mouth, a mouthpiece for His purposes.

When I serve, I should serve in God's strength. Whatever I try to accomplish in my own strength and power may eventually fail. If God has called me to serve Him in some way, I should work at it with all my heart, relying on the strength and power He desires to give me. In this way I am empowered by Him to accomplish the task in a way, and with an attitude, that prayerfully brings Him praise - not me.

Father, thank You for the clarity that comes from studying Your Word. Thank You for clear instruction on how I should behave as a Christian. Lord Jesus, I desire to represent You in a way that brings You honor and glory. Empower me to live a life and conduct myself in a way that accurately reflects You. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

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