Tools - Compass 5

As we follow the direction of the compass we are given, follow the lead that Jesus provides, we are aware that we are all part of one body, the body of Christ.  We are aware that we each have our own part to play.  We all contribute toward the wholeness of God’s love.

We know that to function well together we must put off falsehoods and speak truthfully with one another.  In that way we truly live out the goodness we are called to have.

Now we must learn more about the wholeness of being the body of Christ as we all move in the same direction we are given.  What realization does Jesus speak of?  How do we show that we love Jesus?  How is this love shared?

Growing strong in our faith we learn to follow the direction that Jesus offers.  We follow the example of sharing God’s love as Jesus did.  We all begin to move in the same direction with our faith, moving closer to the holiness and perfection we are called to.

As we move forward in our faith we begin to realize our one-ness with the Lord.  When we are moving in the right direction in faith we will have Christ dwelling inside us.  With Christ as a part of us we are then a part of Jesus.  And as we are part of Jesus we are also a part of the everlasting God.

When we obey the commands of Jesus we are showing that we love him.  As we show love to Jesus and we share the love of Jesus we are part of the body of Christ.  That is when we know we are going in the right direction in our beliefs and in our lives as Christians.

The compass cannot take us to where we need to go.  We must move forward in faith.  But as we move in our journey we must realize that we are part of God and God is part of us.  With that we will have the strength and wisdom to reach our goal, and we will have the love we need for ourselves and the love we need to share.

DAILY CHALLENGE:  How do you know Jesus is IN you and you are IN Jesus?

Tools - Compass 4

While a compass can be very helpful in getting us to our destination, just looking at the compass is not going to accomplish the task.  It is not enough to simply know which direction to go if we want to get somewhere.  We need to actually move in that direction if we have any intention of reaching our destination.

If we are all part of the one body, the body of Christ, we all must function well together.  To do that we must be honest with one another.  We must speak the truth so that we can function properly as a unified group.

As the writer of Ephesians gives us the compass for heading in the right direction with our faith, we are now told how to go forward in that right direction.  What should we NOT do?  What should we do?  Why should we do this?

We are given the direction in our faith.  We know that we should be moving toward holiness and perfection by following the example of Jesus.  But knowing what we ought to do does very little for us if we do not act on it.

Our path of faith leads us to be Christ-like in our thoughts and actions.  If we will move forward in our faith we must learn to be honest.  We must speak the truth to one another, removing or abandoning all falsehoods.  We should not try to conceal our struggles and doubts or our own failings.

Instead we should be open and honest with one another.  Speaking the truth with our brothers and sisters in the faith will allow us to receive the guidance and encouragement we may need to move forward on our path of faith.  Speaking truthfully with one another will help us to live out the various ministries we are called to do.

When we abandon falsehoods and take on the truth we will function much better as a unified body.  As each of us belongs to others in Christ we must be honest in our dealings with one another that we might grow spiritually.

DAILY CHALLENGE:  How can you be more honest within the body of Christ?

Tools - Compass 3

Doing a little car repair last summer our son encountered a common occurrence.  When he had put the car back together he was left with a couple of bolts and pieces.  Where did they belong?  Where did they come from?  No one knew.

The car seemed to function well without these pieces so we did what any good mechanic would do – we threw them away.

Sometimes we may find extra parts and pieces to our mechanical devices, even though the machine seems to work without them.  What we will never find, however, are extra people who are not part of the body of Christ.  In his letter to the believers in Rome Paul talks about the importance of all the people who are part of the church.  What comparison is made?  What is the relationship between all of these parts?

I believe one of the biggest problems in any church or place of worship is the common belief that this person or that has no ministry to do.  I believe we all must realize that each one of us has something we can do for the kingdom of God.  Every one of us is capable of serving the Lord and the church – and each other! – in some way.

We may be talented at teaching or leading a Bible study.  We may be good at offering encouragement.  We may be good at music or singing.  We may be good at listening to others.  There is always something that each of us can do that will glorify God.

Aside from realizing that we are all important in some way it is also essential that we remember the last few words of Romans 12:5 – “each member belongs to all the others.”  By refusing or failing to be part of the body of Christ we are not only letting God down, we are depriving other believers of the riches of the wholeness of the body of Christ.

While we are all on different paths of faith we must be heading in the same direction following the guidance of Jesus.  We all must follow the compass of God’s love and become part of the whole body of God’s kingdom.

DAILY CHALLENGE:  How will you join in the body of Christ?

Tools - Compass 2

Doing a bit of traveling lately and staying in hotels I have quickly learned the benefits of signs.  I have learned to watch for the small signs in hotels that show the direction to go to get to specific rooms, the lobby, the restaurant and the exit.  These signs are there to keep people heading in the right direction and, if necessary, to turn us around.

While we may be familiar with Jesus calling the first disciples, fishermen summoned from their work to take on new ministries, we may not be as familiar with the calling of some of the other followers.  Who did Jesus see?  What was Levi’s job?  What did Jesus say?  What did Levi do?

Scholars believe that the person known as Levi in Mark is also called by the name of Matthew when names of the twelve disciples are listed.  Jesus was walking along when he encountered this man – Levi or Matthew – and saw what he was doing.

Levi was a tax collector.  As such the implication is that he was a supporter and servant of the Roman government, a government that in many ways was seen as an oppressor to the Jewish faith.  In that job we could say that Levi was doing the wrong thing.  He was involved in worldly activities – work that focused on money and perhaps an oppression of the poor.

But Jesus came along and pointed in a new direction.  He gave Levi a compass to follow.  Jesus simply said, “Follow me,” and in those two words he was showing this man a new way to live.

By following Jesus Levi turned from the wrong direction, a life that was not holy and good and focused on God.  Instead he turned in a new direction.  He would learn to set his heart and mind and soul on the heavenly, on being kind and loving, on serving the Lord instead of mankind.

Jesus calls each of us to turn from the temptations of life.  He calls each of us to leave the direction and path to destruction and heartache, and take on a new direction of spirituality.  If we can follow Jesus we will be following the right and perfect guide to a life of spiritual wholeness.

DAILY CHALLENGE:  What can point you in the right direction in your life?

Tools - Compass 1

It is easy to feel lost in this world.  It is easy to believe we are very much alone in our journey in life, making our own way through the pitfalls and snares of living.  It is also easy to fall into the belief that we can find solutions through other people and unique beliefs.  Television personalities and celebrities offer their own advice on how to do things.  Many people begin to rely on the belief in angels and spirits and the powers of crystals to help them out.

But as Christians we need to have a reliable compass in our hands as we make our journey of faith.  We need to get the proper and correct direction in our beliefs so that we might be the children of God we are called to be.

As Ephesians provides us with the equipment we need for our faith journey we know we have the backpack – the foundation of faith found in God’s love and Christ’s salvation.  We are given the flashlight of God’s love to guide us and given the binoculars of the Holy Spirit to see our faith in a new way.

Now we are given the compass we so desperately need.  What does Ephesians say about the body and the Spirit?  What other statements are said about our beliefs?

While many may seek their own way of finding peace and fulfillment in life, Ephesians points out that there is only one body and one Spirit.  We who believe in God are part of the body of Christ, the living out of God’s love.  We are filled and guided by the one Holy Spirit who is of God.  With the Spirit as part of who we are we are securely joined with all other believers.

If we can keep our hearts and souls focused on the one-ness of God – one Lord, one faith, one God, one Spirit – we will have what we need to point us in the right direction.  If we can learn not to be distracted by the temptations of following other ideas and leaders and focus on being the body of Christ we will have peace in our journey of faith.

DAILY CHALLENGE:  What can keep you focused on living as a member of the body of Christ?