Investment 5

1 John 2:24-25

Visiting friends and relatives over the holidays we got to see many generations of our family and the family of our friends – parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. And as we spent time together we could see family traits emerging in younger generations. This one looks like grandpa. That one acts like Mom.

Our heritage, whether physical attributes or parts of our personality, is handed down from person to person and lived out in our lives. And the same is true of our faith in Jesus.

The author of 1 John has some direction for believers. What should remain in us? To whom does that connect us? What are we promised?

If you look to the very beginning of 1 John you will see the first indication of what John is talking about here. In 1 John 1:1 it says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched – this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.”

He is talking about Jesus Christ and pointing out that the experience of the reality of Jesus, the knowledge that Christ is of God, has been handed down from those who were witnesses. This knowledge, this foundation of faith, has been handed down over the centuries to each of us.

Now it is up to us to embrace that heritage. It is up to us to invest ourselves in our faith, to accept as true the Son-ship of Jesus. And this Son of God, Jesus, must remain in us. He must be part of who we are and how we relate to the world.

If we allow Jesus to live within us and if we live out the example of Jesus then we are connected to God, the Father. If we can have Jesus remain in us then like Jesus we can say, “When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.” (John 12:45)

And what is the reward of this? For one we are part of the glorious and joyful ministry of God’s kingdom. We are part of the blessing of grace to the world. And we are promised everlasting life.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can Jesus remain in you?

Investment 4

John 12:44-46

We are planning to teach our children how to cook. We already have them help out as much as they can in the kitchen, but we intend to give them more responsibility and more detailed instruction in meal preparation.

In doing this we will be passing down recipes and cooking techniques that have been handed down over the years. Our parents taught us and they learned from others in the distant past. Our children will learn and will some day teach others. The learning and skills will be a continuation of knowledge and ability from generation to generation.

So, also, our belief in Jesus is not an isolated occurrence. Who do we believe in when we believe in Jesus? Who do we see when we see Jesus? Why has Jesus come?

If we will accept Christ as our Savior then we must accept that he is indeed the very Son of God. We must believe that Jesus was God in flesh come to live among us. And if we believe that then we believe in God.

The teachings of Jesus and the way that he lived must, therefore, be the teachings and example of God Himself. If we are to imitate Jesus then we are living out the goodness and holiness of the Almighty.

Belief in Jesus requires an investment on our part. We must be willing to accept the truth about our Savior. We must be willing to live a life that follows the example of Jesus. When we do that we can live a life of goodness, a life that is filled with the light of hope and love from God.

When we invest ourselves in our faith in this way we are investing ourselves in showing God to the world. If we imitate Jesus in our caring for others, in our sacrificial love for them, then the world will see Jesus when they see us. And if Jesus is the example of God, then we must also be the example of God to those who have not met God yet.

It is an awesome responsibility. But it is also a glorious calling for each of us. We can be Christ to the world. We can be the example of God in our living.

DAILY CHALLENGE: How can you show Jesus to the world?

Investment 3

Hebrews 10:23-24

I can get distracted easily. If I begin to make the bed in the morning I might spot a dirty towel on the floor and take it to the laundry room. Then I notice some dirty glasses that need to be put in the dishwasher and an important paper that should be filed away. Eventually I make my way back to the bedroom to discover the bed is only half finished.

In time I get things done. It just may take me a round-about route to finish things.

Unfortunately even the most devoted of Christians can find themselves being distracted. What does the author of Hebrews encourage us to do? Why should we do that? According to verse 24 what job should we do?

Sometimes it can be easy to jump into our faith and be excited about our relationship with Jesus. We know what we ought to be doing – caring for others, helping those in need, professing the story of Christ. But we can be distracted by other things.

Life can get in our way. Our job takes up a great deal of our time. Our family obligations require that we go here and there to take care of matters. And, of course, we need to have some time for ourselves.

In all that we have to do our faith can take a backseat, be pushed aside and tucked away in a corner until we can get back to it. But a true relationship with God, a true life that seeks to walk as Jesus walked, requires that we invest our hearts and minds in what we are doing.

We need to hold on tightly to the hope of salvation that we believe in. Jesus is again our model. He is always there for us. Can we be there for him at all times?

And what about others? We are supposed to keep our own faith strong and then share that conviction with other people. The author of Hebrews tells us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” We can’t do that if we allow the worries and busy-ness of life to distract us from walking like Jesus.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What needs to be set aside so that you might be more invested in your faith?

Investment 2

1 Peter 1:14-15

When our children were in elementary school the issue of school uniforms was a hot-button topic in our town. Many people opposed them as a form of oppression and a way to remove individuality and creativity. We were fine with the concept of school uniforms. It made it easy to decide what each child would wear every day.

After seeing children in school uniforms in other countries I realized that they are a way to provide a sense of belonging to the children. It is evident at a glance who the children are and where they belong. Their outward appearance is an indication of who they are.

When it comes to our faith in Christ we too must put on a sort of uniform. What does Peter urge us NOT to do? How should we behave? Who is our model?

While we may not be expected to all wear the same clothes to show the world we are followers of Jesus, we are urged to have the same type of behavior and attitude. If we will be obedient children of God – that is, if we will love God and do as He desires us to do – then we will not fall to the temptations of earthly life. Rather, our behavior will be the actions of holy people, people who live as Jesus did, expressing care and compassion to others.

Being a child of God means more than just a superficial name we call ourselves. It goes deeper than outward appearances and uniform clothing. If we will be children of God we will be holy because God is holy. We will live a holy life sharing God’s love with all around us.

Like God we must be caring for the people who are in need. We must be forgiving of those who need to know forgiveness. We must resist the temptations of the world, the desire to get ahead in life at any cost, to worry more about ourselves than anyone else, and to find pleasure at the expense of others.

Holy behavior and faith in God requires an investment on our part. We must put forth the effort to live holy lives, modeling ourselves after God in human form – Jesus. “Faith” is more than a word and “Christianity” is more than a name. It requires our commitment to live as we should.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What must you do to be holy?

Investment 1

1 John 2:5-6

There is an old saying that we often quote – “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck.” It is a simple and true statement. We recognize what things are and who people are by the way they behave. The same can be said of people who believe in God.

The Book of 1 John is a book about living out faith. In the second chapter John talks about investing ourselves in our belief in Jesus. How is God’s love made complete in us? How are we to “walk?”

There are so many religious terms that believers can throw around without really understanding what they mean. One of them is the expression that we must walk like Jesus. What does that mean?

Like the expression about a duck the same can be true of us. If we are going to be Christians, if we are going to be the children of God, then we must walk like Jesus did. And that has nothing to do with putting one foot in front of the other or the way we carry our body.

To walk as Jesus walked means we must invest ourselves in our faith. It means we must try to live out the love of God in the same way Jesus did. It means that we must be humble and peaceful, and tolerant of others.

To live out the love of God by walking as Jesus did means to love God as deeply and passionately as Jesus did. God must be first in our thoughts, and obeying the commands of God must be the most important thing in our hearts and minds.

It also means that we must care for all human beings in the same way Jesus did. Jesus desired that every person have a life of comfort and spiritual security. He desired that people should be free from the guilt of sin and the erroneous way of holding onto worldly attitudes – desiring the temporary pleasures that earthly things can bring.

If we will walk as Jesus did then we must concern ourselves with the well-being of those around us – friends, family and strangers alike. We must stand for justice and fairness. And we must also value the sharing of love and compassion more than the temporary comforts and advantages that earthly life can tempt us with.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What must you do to walk more like Jesus?