Accountability

Scripture

11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. – Romans 14:11-12 ESV

Observation

Every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. We then will be accountable to Christ. 

Application

Accountability is important in the Christian life. We are first accountable to Jesus Christ who has given us life and called us into fellowship with Him. We also are accountable to others God places in our lives. This accountability ensures we remain faithful to our calling as a followers of Christ. It keeps us focused on the mission and purposes we have been set out to accomplish. 

It is hard to be accountability because it is hard to humble ourselves in order to receive correction and guidance. We must yield our individual rights for God’s purposes and be willing to be teachable. One of the greatest tools in this accountability is the Word of God. 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

There are four areas of guidance the Word of God provides in our accountability. 

Teaching:  It first provides the foundation of our Christian understanding by teaching us God’s ways and purposes.  The doctrines of our faith, the precepts of God’s Word lay the foundation for the life we are to live. We do not have to guess what or how we are to live because we have been provided full understanding.  

Reproof:  There are times when we find ourselves on the side of the road and in the ditch. Because of sin we may not even be aware of our true condition. To us it is just another day of struggle. The Word of God quickly reveals to us when we have gone astray, when we are off course. It reproofs us and points out our waywardness. 

Correction:  Once the light of God’s Word is shed on our condition then God begins to provide a correction to our current situation. He shows us how to get out of the ditch and to get ourselves back on the road. The corrective course may come through a Christian friend who speaks into our lives and provides insights into how we may correct our thinking and decision making.  These are important accountable relationships who we trust in order to receive Godly counsel. 

Training:  Once we return to our corrected path and on the path God has set before us, then the Word of God provides further teaching on how to proceed. We are reminded of the truth of God’s Word and how we are to continue on this journey with God’s guidance and the accountability of others. Training will prepare us not to make the same mistakes. It equips us with the skills to remain on the path set before us. 

We will all give an account of ourselves to God. As we prepare for that day may we learn to live according to His principles and remain true to His purposes. We will all bow down and proclaim Jesus as Lord. May our daily lives make the proclamation today that He is Lord. 

Prayer

Jesus may you be Lord over every area of our lives. Place in our lives your Word and individuals who will keep us accountable as we give an account of ourselves to you.  Equip us to walk the path set before us. 

  
  

To the Lord

Scripture

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. – Romans 14:8 ESV

Observation

In chapter 14 we are encouraged to live as unto the Lord in all areas of life. Romans points out the things that could lead to confusion, such as the food you eat, or the days you set aside for observance. It comes down to the fact that whatever we do we do it “to the Lord”. 

Application

The Christian’s life is not defined by our practices but by our commitment and our obedience “to the Lord”.  For many we want to make the Christian life about the practices or disciplines of our faith; our prayers, our Bible study, our fellowship, or our sharing. Romans reminds us that in whatever or however we do it let our aim and focus be “to the Lord”.  What does it mean “to the Lord”?

First it means that our end goal it to exalt and glorify Christ. Our goal is not about our efforts or our disciplines. It is ultimately about exalting Christ above all else.   He becomes the reward for our seeking. Is our goal to show our obedience or is it to be obedient for Christ’s sake?  May we find at the end of our disciplines Christ being highly exalted. 

We also do all things “to the Lord” by living and serving as Christ demonstrated.  Our model for service is clearly seen in the life of Christ. We live not to be served but to serve. Our selfish ambitions are set aside for Christ’s ambitions and we find the greatest joy in serving selflessly as He served the needs of others.  

Prayer

Lord my our dedication and service be unto You. May you be the sole motivation for all we do.  

  

Put On Christ

Scripture

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. – Romans 13:14 ESV

Observation 

We are called to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and not give any room for the flesh. 

Application

In Romans 13 we are challenged to no longer live according to the flesh but “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ. This putting on requires us to set aside our own desires and agendas and pursue Christ alone. So how do we put on Christ?  Below are three ways to clothe ourselves with Christ daily. 

Remember Christ’s Agenda

As we begin each day we remind ourselves of Christ’s agenda. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. – Romans 10:17 ESV.  In order for us to put on Christ and walk in faith we must begin with His Word. In the Word we discover the purpose by which we are to live. We are also challenged to adjust our lives to His purposes and to set aside any sin that hinders us. 

Pray the Word

As we face the challenges and decisions of daily living we must seek the Word of God that speaks to our needs and the needs of others. George Mueller, a Christian evangelist and director of the Ashley Downs orphanage in Bristol, England in the 1800’s often sought scriptures to find answers and guidance to his prayers. With every need and concern he would find a biblical promise that would speak to the specific circumstance.  He would continually plead that promise within his prayer until he obtained an answer.  When we pray the Word of God and plead His promises we are draw closer to God’s will and purpose. 

Meditate on the Word

Mediation for the Christian is an opportunity to reflect on the promises and purposes of God found in His Word. As we go throughout the day we reflect on God’s Word and allow it to clothe us in Christ and His agenda. We remind ourselves throughout the day what our mission is and who we are all about, the exalting of Christ. 

Prayer

Lord guide us today in “putting on Christ”.

  
 

Law & Love

Scripture

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:10 ESV

Observation

Love fulfills the requirements of the law. 

Application

Jesus summed up the law in two sentences: “…you shall love the Lord your God…You shall love your neighbor as yourself…” – Mark 12:30-31 ESV. What may seem complicated has been simplified in developing loving relationships.  Love empowers us to accomplish what God has required. 

The Christian life is built on a love relationship with God and with others. We love God and others because “Christ first loved us”.  Many want to make Christianity a list of requirements but Christ has called us to a genuine relationship based on love. Religion has its foundation in accomplishments while Christianity is based on a love relationship. 

Prayer

Lord may we learn to love and live in relationship with You and others. 

Government Authority

Scripture

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. – Romans 13:1 ESV

Observation

We are to be subject to all government authority because all have been established by God. 

Application

In a free and democratic nation, the call to submit to a government “for the people and by the people” may be an easy task.  When the government does not respect the religious liberties nor the God given rights of it’s people then the task of submitting becomes difficult. We see that clearly taking place in various parts of the world. 

Romans is very clear that by submitting to governmental authority is submitting to God’s authority.  “Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience”. – Romans 13:5 ESV. Submitting is hard to do because it goes against our “grain” of independence.  Submitting to those in authority insures we will “live peaceably” in the country where God has placed us. 

There are other passages of scripture when Gods people have stood against government authority because it went against God’s authority. For instance when Daniel faced the laws against praying to any other than Nebuchadnezzar he responded with bowing and praying to God. 

When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. – Daniel 6:10 ESV

God does call us to submit to His ordained authority but scripture is also clear that when that authority raises itself above God, then we must always choose a path that honors and exalts our Lord and Savior.  

Prayer

Lord may our governmental authority never forget You are Lord over all and it should always seek to honor You.  Give us wisdom to know when we are to submit but also when we are called to stand against ungodly practices and agendas of government officials.  In all we pray that You would be glorified. 

Peaceable

Scripture

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”. – Romans 12:18 ESV

Observation

We are called to demonstrate peace to all, even to those who seek to do us harm. 

Application

In I Peter we are challenged to “…live peacefully with all.”  This seems to be an even greater challenge as we face the changing world we live.  While in our nations past we seldom encountered others from different cultures, but today whether in the city or countryside we are facing an ever growing cultural shift.  How do we bring together the various lifestyles?  How do we live peacefully with all? 

Diverse cultures, nationalities, and religions can bring about a greater challenge to live peaceably. In his book, Reaching Out, Henri Nowen writes.

In our world full of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture and country, from their neighbors, friends and family, from their deepest self and their God, we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found.

The diversity does create a greater challenge but it also offers us a greater opportunity. The opportunity we have is to offer a place where individuals can feel at home and experience community. In a world of strangers we look for a hospitable place, a place where we live “peaceably with all”.  We as followers of Christ can offer that to the world we live. 

Prayer

Lord empower us to offer a “peaceable place for all”, A place where we find community around our fellowship with Christ. Help us to see our current challenges as opportunities to offer Christianity hospitality. 

Blessings in Persecution

Scripture

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.  15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. – Romans 12:14-16

Observation

We are called to bless, rejoice, weep, and live in harmony with one another. 

Application

How difficult it is to express blessings to those who persecute us. We are called to avoid cursing those who seek to harm us. How different is this principle from the way our culture expresses itself. We quickly turn against those who persecute us and stand against us. How can we bless when our natural tendency is to curse?

The only solution is that we clothe ourselves with the person of Christ and allow His nature to come through. 

 “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires”. – Romans 13:14

We do not have within us the ability to bless, rejoice, weep and live in harmony in our own nature but we must allow Christ’s self sacrificing nature to be expressed through us. 

In a world where persecution is on the rise in the Middle East, may we pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who are facing real persecution and death. In their despair may God fill them with joy and peace to face their persecuters with the person of Christ.  As seen in the death of Stephen, when Jesus is revealed in such difficult situations we pray that the hearts of persecuters will turn to the one who gives real power and purpose. 

Prayer

Lord, may we reveal the mercy and kindness of Jesus Christ, even in times of persecution. We also lift up our brothers and sisters dying for their faith. May you provide peace at their greatest time of need and may the persecuters see Christ in their responses and turn to Him for salvation.