JOHN SHIRK – One definition of sacrifice is to offer to God something precious. Another definition is the surrender or destruction of something desirable for the sake of something higher.
In the Old Testament of the Bible, it was customary to offer animal sacrifices to God. The animal became a substitute to suffer the wrath or punishment of the sins of a person. However, their sacrifice was not enough to forgive anyone’s sin. Animal sacrifices were a sign of things to come, when Jesus would lay down His life for the sake of our sins. Speaking of Jesus, Hebrews 7:27 says, “He sacrificed for their sins, once and for all when he offered himself.”
What is our response to this great outpouring of God’s love for us? Romans 12:1 says, “In view of God’s mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” The picture of the Gospel is a view of God’s people, dying to their sinful natures, and coming alive to God’s purposes. Various Christians will make sacrifices in different degrees, but all Christians will have some type of cross to carry, surrendering selfish ambitions for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Sacrifice is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Calmness is a state of being free from storm or disturbance. A calm atmosphere is defined by quietness and tranquility. Calm weather is a scene where the wind is hardly detected.
Sometimes our lives can be like the weather, in the midst of a fair weather season where our activities follow through according to plan, our vehicles are working, our job performance is productive, and our relationships are growing.
Then, comes a storm where the winds blow and test the foundation of our faith. An unexpected disappointment, a relational conflict, water in the basement, a financial setback. These types of things can agitate worry or fear.
The eye of a storm is a place of calmness. And in the storms of life, that calm place is found in our relationship with God. His grace is our source of trust. His truth is our solid foundation for troubled times.
In an atmosphere of swirling conflict and trouble, Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”
Calmness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – To be conscientious is to be careful to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. Our conscience is that inner sense of right and wrong. When our trust is in Jesus, our conscience is made tender to the ways of God. Our palms might get sweaty when we are in the midst of doing something that we know is wrong.
According to the Bible, our conscience can be weak, where we have stricter standards than other believers on disputable matters. Yet, if we participate, our conscience can be defiled because according to Romans 14, “everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
Our conscience can also be seared, where we have become numb to sinful practices. A person in this situation might have crossed the line so many times, they are no longer troubled by their disobedience.
The Apostle Paul often spoke of a clear conscience. He lived with a clear conscience because he developed his convictions from the Word of God, and then aimed his life in that direction. He said in Acts 24:16, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.”
Conscientiousness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – To be willing to do something is to cheerfully consent or be ready. In our relationship with God, willingness gladly gives God permission to do with our lives whatever He chooses for us in His timing.
Here are three excellent examples of willingness from the Bible.
Isaiah said to the LORD, “Here am I, send me.”
In Second Corinthians 8, the Apostle Paul commended the church for their generosity not only to give, but also for their desire to do so.
And the Israelites expressed willingness to respond to Joshua’s leadership following Moses’ death. They said in Joshua 1:16, “Whatever you have commanded us, we will do, and wherever you send us, we will go.”
Some time ago, Kelly Willard recorded a song called “Willing Heart”, which offered this insight on how to develop a willingness to follow God’s plan for our lives. “If you don’t have a willing heart, ask Him to give you one. If you can’t make a start, trust in His power.” Without trust, it is difficult to have a willingness to follow a leader. Jesus has proven His faithful love and power for us at the cross and empty grave.
Willingness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – To exercise discretion means to show discernment or good judgment.
Wisdom is a much-needed treasure for discretion to take place in our moral choices.
Proverbs 2:9 describes the process and the great value of discretion.
“Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”
God’s Word is our source of wisdom, helping us to learn the ways of God, and teaching us to reject what is evil.
Discretion is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – To be consecrated is to be set apart for a special service. In the Bible, this usually means being set apart for God.
Consecration often has to do with purity and holiness. Leviticus 20, verse 7 says, “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy.”
In our pure devotion to Christ, God sets us apart for special purposes to serve Christ. He provides us with spiritual gifts that are useful for building the faith of the church and planting seeds of faith in the lives of unbelievers. This was the experience of the Apostle Paul, who described himself in Romans 1:1 as a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.
Consecration is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
WJTL’s John Shirk sits down with Steven Curtis Chapman to talk about his new tour, his new album, overcoming adversity, and looking toward the future.
JOHN SHIRK – To be prudent means to exercise good judgment or wisdom gained from experience and knowledge. One reliable place for gaining knowledge of the truth is the Bible. That is where we come to understand the Lord’s will-how He wants us to live in such a way as to honor His name. That is where we learn about Jesus, described in First Corinthians 1:30 as our source of wisdom from God.
Several other words help to clarify what the wisdom of prudence looks like. Careful, cautious, and self-restraint, particularly in our speech and behavior. Prudence keeps our actions from getting reckless so that our witness for Christ is not undermined by careless words or actions.
According to Proverbs 1:4, the wise sayings of Solomon in the book of Proverbs are useful “for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.”
Prudence is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – There are various definitions of promptness.
One definition is to be on time. There are some practical benefits to being prompt for meetings and appointments. The other person comes to see us as more dependable when we are consistently on time. And you can be more productive in your work if you are not late in getting to your task.
Another definition means “To be ready to act or respond.” James 1:19 identifies promptness this way: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
When we listen to others, we communicate that what they say matters. This passage can also apply to our relationship with God. When our heart is in tune with His words in the Bible, we live in a state of readiness to trust and obey Him when He tells us to move.
Promptness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – There are two definitions of mercy that we will look at. One view of mercy is an act of kindness or compassion. This is what happened in the story of the Good Samaritan, who was prompted by compassion to show mercy on the person beaten up by robbers.
Another expression of mercy is the disposition to be kind and forgiving toward those who are undeserving of kind treatment.
Ephesians 2:3 talks about how we were by nature the objects of wrath. Then, verse 4 says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.”
Both forms of mercy involve a compassionate heart that is motivated to reach out and help the person in need. As we walk in Jesus’ footsteps, His influence of mercy spills over in the way we treat other people. Jesus says in Luke 6:36, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Mercy is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.