JOHN SHIRK – Allegiance is defined by devotion or loyalty. As our pledge of allegiance to the flag demonstrates patriotism for our nation, so our pledge of allegiance to Jesus expresses a different type of loyalty.
If we follow Jesus, our citizenship is in heaven, but currently we live on the earth as Christ’s ambassadors. We are here to represent Him as a matter of first priority. Part of representing Jesus well is to be loyal and responsible citizens to our governments. Romans 13:6 urges us to pay taxes for those who give their full time to governing. “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Jesus said, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Caesar may have our taxes, but only God deserves our worship. We are wise to set apart Christ as Lord, and have that firmly established in our mind and heart. That way, if there is ever a conflict between what the government tells us to do and what Jesus tells us to do, we know which voice to heed.
Allegiance is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – There is generally a different view of freedom in our culture from what the Bible says.
For some people today, freedom means the right to do your own thing. But this view of freedom leads to using other people for one’s own advantage, immoral conduct, and lawlessness. People get hurt if this view of freedom is pursued. A train may be confined by railroad tracks, but those rails liberate the train to go forward and fulfill its purpose. If the train is derailed, the result is a train wreck. The good news about Jesus is that if we get off track, His grace provides a way for us to get back on track, and to be liberated from “doing our own thing.”
In the Bible, freedom is connected with the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
If the Son sets us free, we will be free indeed. So, the key to living a life of freedom is following Jesus.
Freedom is a quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Assurance can be described as confidence in a guarantee. To be assured is to be sure and secure. This is what it’s like to be in the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
With assurance, we have the faith to believe that God is true to His word. He fulfills His promises. When He says that He loves us, He means it. They are not just empty words, but are backed up and proven by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
One of the hymn writers captured the awe and wonder of this word in these lyrics: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit washed in His blood.”
Hebrews 10:19-22 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”
Assurance is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Eagerness can be defined as enthusiastic desire or interest.
With eagerness, we want to push ahead with something. We want something to get done or be fulfilled. God’s grace feeds us with eagerness to glorify Him.
There are a number of ways that we can tell if we have truly been set free by the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. We lose interest in the values of the world like getting rich and being famous. We gain interest in the virtues of God’s Kingdom. His priority becomes our pursuit. One of those priorities is to purify our faith, so that we are responsive to His words. Titus 2:14 tells us that Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Eagerness is one of the ways that God motivates us to get things done.
Eagerness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Worship comes from an old English word “Worthship”, which indicates the worthiness of the one receiving the special honor or devotion.
Jesus is acknowledged in this way in Revelation 5:12, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.” He is worthy of our worship.
Sometimes, worship is put into a category limited to a Sunday morning church service or a certain type of music. But in reality, worship is a way of life that seeks to bring glory to God with our daily activity. Warren Wiersbe has defined worship this way:
“Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are-mind, emotions, will, body-to what God is and says and does.” This is what we find in Romans 12:1, “In view of God’s mercy…, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship.” With words that praise God, hands of service, and a heart of gratitude, we can express our worship for Jesus as Lord and Savior each and every day.
Worship is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Transformation is a dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of. Oftentimes, our culture uses the word “transformation” to describe a dramatic change of appearance. The Bible talks a lot about the transformation of the heart in connection with the Christian life.
When Jesus touches our lives with His grace, our character becomes different. This process of changing character takes place in different ways in different people, at different paces. For some people, the transformation of the heart is instantly noticeable by other people. At other times, the transformation moves gradually to the surface.
Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Much like the dramatic change of bullfrogs and butterflies, a metamorphosis takes place where we are born again to experience new life in Christ.
One of those key transformations in a growing disciple is a renewed mind. Deceitful desires give way to holy ambitions when our mind stays focused on Christ.
Transformation is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Peacefulness is a state of freedom from storm or disturbance. In a peaceful state, there is the presence of calmness and tranquility in our heart, mind, and soul. What is absent is mental stress or anxiety. This does not mean that our circumstances will be calm and tranquil. The Christian experience might be compared to the eye of a hurricane, where trouble surrounds us. And trouble might affect us. In fact, Jesus said that we would experience trouble in this world.
There will be tornadoes, floods, unexpected losses, times of grief, and family conflict. Jesus was about to die on a cross, and He said to His disciples, “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Why did He share this with His disciples? So that in Jesus they may have peace.
Peacefulness depends on a relationship with Jesus more than favorable circumstances. If Jesus overcame sin, death, and Satan, then the record reflects that He is able to help us overcome the troubles of this world in the picture of eternity. Nothing can separate us from His love. Our lives are in His hands. And His grace is sufficient to provide for us an abundant and eternal life as we follow Jesus with a devoted heart.
Peacefulness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – One definition of stability is “firmness in position”. Stability does not just happen by waking up and saying to ourselves, “today, I think I am going to be stable.” Our sense of emotional and spiritual stability is strengthened when we hold to a foundation of faith. Biblically speaking, that foundation is God’s Word, which directs us to faith in Jesus Christ.
Stability keeps our lives from falling apart when the storms of life hammer us. Jesus linked stability to applying His Word into our everyday lives. He said in Matthew 7:24, “everyone who hears these word of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Jesus went on to describe the foundation of those who do not put Jesus’ words to practice. Their foundation is like sand. When the storm hits that house, it is easily collapsible. It’s not easy to be hit with the storms of life, but our hope is sustained by believing in a living God who loves and values us, and has a good plan for our lives.
Stability is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – While this is stating the obvious, for the record, outreach is the act or process of reaching out.
Outreach began at the cross, when the arms of Jesus were extended on the cross for our sins. In that moment, He was reaching out to us with the Father’s love.
Outreach extends beyond our own interests to consider the needs of other people. It could lead us to reaching out with a meal to someone who is going through a crisis. It could lead to reaching out with a helping hand to an elderly neighbor who doesn’t have the mobility they once had. Or it could lead to reaching out our hands to comfort someone who is grieving.
Outreach also is a term that describes the effort by believers to share the Gospel with people who have not yet heard about Jesus or received Him as Lord and Savior.
Philippians 2:4 says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Outreach is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.
JOHN SHIRK – Earnestness is marked by a sincere desire to be near God and to be right with God. Intense conviction accompanies a person with an earnest faith. The Apostle Paul noted how godly sorrow produced earnestness in the life of the Corinthian church.
In Psalm 63:1, David wrote, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” This is the picture of someone who recognizes their incompleteness without the grace of God. It’s like being in a desert without any water or source of refreshment.
There are a lot of voices claiming to satisfy the soul, but they turn out to be a mirage that leaves us empty. Jesus has living water to offer the thirsty soul. His grace is able to satisfy the person that earnestly searches for Him.
Earnestness is a character quality that enables us to represent Jesus in the world today.