“FROM INSPIRATION TO PERSPIRATION” By Pastor YAU
Text: James 1:19-25 March 13, 2011.
1) Beautiful garden landscaping: I love to visit beautiful gardens whenever I have the opportunity, gardens in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada and in Sydney, Australia. I also love to enjoy beautiful landscaping of homes when I drive by. They inspired me and make me want to create something special for my own yard. But I have trouble moving from the inspiration part to the perspiration part to make my dream become reality. The problem of this is because I am not willing to spend time, energy and resources to make it happen. So my yard remains barren and there is nothing I can feel proud of in it.
2) Beautiful Christian qualities: This can be true in our spiritual lives as well. We can listen to wonderful testimonies of people and marvel at the work God is doing in their lives. We can hear uplifting music and feel so sweet and close to God. We also can listen to dynamic sermons and feel inspired to commit to follow God more diligently. But soon after we walk out of the church, we have trouble putting effort and time to follow through. So, we remain the same old me without any change and there is little we can feel proud of our spiritual life.
SOME CHRISTIAN VIRTUES: (Philippians 4:8)
1) Whatever is true: Being truthful is the foundation of Christian virtues. God is truth and His word is truth. Satan is the father of all lies, but God is the source of all truth.
2) Whatever is honorable: Honorable means dignified, noble and worthy of respect. Our words and deed are to be worthy of respect from others so as to bring honor to our God.
3) Whatever is righteous: This has to do with right, correct, fair and just in the eyes of God. God has given to all of us a sense of right and wrong good and bad. We need to do right in all things. We cannot please a righteous God when we don’t choose right.
4) Whatever is pure: This has to do with our thought. It needs to be clean, holy, undefiled, free from blemish, free from worldly pollution and free from the control of sin.
5) Whatever is lovely: This has to do with or external expressions. We much act graciously, generously, patiently to be pleasing, attractive and admirable before God and man.
6) Whatever is of good repute: This is about our image to others that is worthy of their respect and our good reputation. This is also one of the qualities in selecting deacons. (Acts 6:3)
7) Whatever is excellent: This is about moral quality in Christian living. Being morally pure, blameless is a virtue all of us need to seek. It is also about doing our best and grows to excellence instead of mediocrity.
8) Whatever is praise worthy: This is about the effect of our life to the glory of God: we must live our life that will make God worthy of praise not ridicule.
9) Dwell on all these things: Dwell means to sink in deep thoughts, to put in serious consideration and to wisely calculate. We are not just to know all these virtues, but to simmer, to practice and to make these parts our everyday Christian living.
FROM INSPIRATION TO REALITY: (James 1:19-25)
1) Be quick to listen: “Everyone must be quick to listen.” (1:19) This is be a careful listener, paying full attention to make sure we get the message right. This is about our attitude toward learning the teaching of God and His word. No casual listening or careless attitude to God’s instruction may get us anywhere to full Christian living.
2) Accept with humility: “And humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you.” (1:21) Too often we are too proud to accept the word of God and its authority in our life. We either refuse or deject God’s authority in His word so we won’t put it into our everyday living to improve our stand before God.
3) Be doers of the word: “Do not merely hearers to the word but do what it says.” (1:22) This is the most common problem that hinders us from transforming inspiration to reality: we only hear the word, but cannot or will not put effort to transfer it to our life so it will bring results. We learn because we want to do.
4) Dare to face the truth: “Anyone who listens to the word of God but does not do what it says is like a man looks at his face in a mirror and goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” (1:23-24) Most of us will feel touched when we listen to the word of God. We will see the true condition of our life and the need for correction or improvement. We may also have the desire to put what we heard into practice the next day. But when we get up the next morning, we forget what we have heard and the decision we had the day before.
5) The law of freedom: “But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this.” (1:25) This is about correct perception on the law of God. Too often we consider the law of God is restrictive or a hindrance to our freedom. But in fact the law of God is perfect for our freedom from sin. There is no other way we can be freed from sin except by following the perfect law of God.
6) Guarantee of blessing: “Not forgetting what he has heard but doing it, he will be blessed in whatever he does.” (1:25b)God is never mean to us wanting to put us under heavy yoke. He wants to show us a better way of life, a life that is flourishing and beautiful like well groomed gardens in the spring. He promises us blessings beyond measure if we are diligent to follow his law.
1) Shake off mediocrity: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Phil. 3:12) We need to have this same desire as Paul did to press on to a higher ground in our Christian pursuit. In all the virtues listed above and others in the Bible, we are to seek, strive, make progress, push forward to a life that is what Christ wants to see in us.
2) Winning the prize of God: “Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (3:14)Winning the prize of God is winning the approval of God. In all our life, we strive to win the approval of parents, teachers, bosses and others to make us feel accomplished and honored. But none of these may come close to winning the approval of God who has saved us from our sins and has prepared us eternal reward in heaven.
3) A call to the matured: “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.” (3:15)All of us who desire to be mature in our spiritual pursuit should have this same mindset and purpose of life. No one would consider him be excluded from this goal. Every man and woman of God need to have this mindset to attain to the goal God has set for us.