Finding Your God Center

Finding Your God Center

Finding your God center is an ongoing journey for Christ-followers. Because we live in a world of opposites. Right and left. Hot and cold. Big and little. And the best location is somewhere in the middle. Here are three principles from Ephesians 5:15-21 to help you find your God center.

Finding your God center involves watching your walk

V.15  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,,,

The word “walk” in v.15 is used figuratively and means your personal conduct and behavior. And notice that Paul takes a positive, proactive approach. He doesn’t rag on you about all the bad things to avoid. Or prescribe a specific “to do” list of good things either. But he provides three general principles to follow.

  • Take charge of your conduct
  • Control your use of time
  • Consider God’s will

Of course, our conduct is not completely controllable because we are still sinful. And often speak and act without thinking. But you can be mindful of it. And that begins with your identity as a child of God. Along with an awareness his Spirit is always present for support. You’re also to be mindful of his will as revealed through scripture. Like demonstrating love for others and treating people how you want to be treated. Along with other instructions throughout the Bible that present God’s will.

Watching your walk is both challenging and rewarding. Prayer, Bible Study, Worship and walking with other Christ-followers helps a lot.

Finding Your God Center involves navigating between legalism and license

V.18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit

The two opposites for Christ-followers are legalism and license. Walking on the extreme side of either one is like hugging a porcupine. It gets prickly.

The Ten Commandments represent God’s law and are fairly straight forward. And the inspired writers of the New Testament added other teachings we accept as straight from God. But sometimes, we add our own extra rules not spelled out in scripture. And then make our rules as important as God’s law.

This sometimes, leads to pride because we do such a good job keeping them all. Which, by the way is a sin, so maybe we didn’t do as well as we think. But other times, keeping those rules becomes a heavy burden. And God doesn’t want that for us either. Because He gives us grace. And Jesus wants us to experience the truth that sets us free.

On the other hand, grace is often used as an excuse for license.

Because Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:8-9 we are saved by grace and not works. Our relationship with Jesus Christ frees us from the law because of grace. And if you push grace to the extreme, you can reason that because God forgives your sin, you can simply sin and ask his forgiveness. Although Paul reminds us that grace is not freedom to sin.

And he warns about a lifestyle of debauchery which is unrestrained indulgence of lust and sensuality. And just like legalism, can become a form of bondage. In the middle of legalism and license is a lifestyle that pursues holiness and righteousness. Not because you have to, but want to please God.

And again. Prayer, Bible study, worship and walking with other Christ-followers helps a lot.

Finding Your God Center involves getting over yourself

V. 21 Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Entitlement is the word for our culture. Submission the word of God. And it’s not easy. Because of course, you have rights. So did Jesus. But he gave them up for you and me. And says if you will be his disciple you must take up your cross and follow him.

The Greek word for “submission” is hupŏtassō and means to be obedient, subject yourself to and put yourself under. It doesn’t mean demeaning or disrespecting yourself. But choosing an attitude of humility. Nor is Paul talking about political, civil rights. But how to interact with others in your personal relationships.

As Jesus demonstrated to his disciples at the last supper, following him involves a heart willing to serve.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

God’s Word Guides, Frees, and Redeems

God’s Word Guides, Frees, and Redeems

God’s Word Guides, Frees, and Redeems you according to Psalm 119:129-136. It guides you with light and understanding, frees you from the bondage of sin, and redeems you from man’s oppression.

Because the Bible is not a collection of rules that take the fun out of life. But it molds you into the person God created you to be.

God’s word guides, frees, and redeems you by providing light and understanding

V.130 The unfolding of your word gives light and imparts understanding…

We live in a complicated world. Confused by competing messages. Fooled by deception. Captured through seduction.

What can you believe? Who can you trust? How can you know when something is true?

The Bible claims to be God’s words. According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, it’s God breathed. Which means He supernaturally spoke through its writers. Therefore, it is absolute truth. Accurate. Consistent. Reliable.

In a world blanketed by the darkness of sin, God’s word illuminates with a discerning brightness. And His Spirit guides your understanding. So when you read, study, and know His word, you recognize what’s false by holding it up to His truth.

God’s word guides, frees, and redeems you by releasing you from the bondage of sin

V.133 Keep steady my steps and let no iniquity get dominion over me

Sin is subtle. Stealthy. And quietly creeps up on you. We seldom plunge into it headlong, but slowly and imperceptibly. One slight detour from God’s path followed by another. A slow fade of small decisions in a parade moving steadily away from God. The gradual slide into a sink hole until we are firmly stuck in a mire.

And it starts off as fun and pleasure. Harmless and victimless. Until its seductive lure becomes a compulsory grip you can’t escape. God’s words guide you towards right behavior. His precepts towards healthy relationships driven by character and integrity.

And while many claim God’s word burdens you with legalistic demands, Jesus claimed the opposite. His truth sets you free. And his power releases you from the bondage of sin.

God’s word guides, frees, and redeems you by redeeming you from oppression

V.134 Redeem me from man’s oppression that I may keep your precepts

The desire for acceptance. Social expectations. Cancel culture. They are powerful forces that exert themselves in society. And the loudest, most insistent voices demand compliance. Even when you think or believe differently. And especially when you disagree.

So what do you do?

You can reverse your position and go with the flow. Disagree, but remain silent. Or stand firm and risk rejection.

And while I don’t have a specific answer on how to respond to the culture, scripture does reveal how to overcome oppression. Galatians 4:3-7 and Luke 4:18 are two passages among many others that provide an answer. The power of Christ and the power of God’s word offer freedom to those willing to listen and respond.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 4:14-23

A Study of Philippians 4:14-23

A Study of Philippians 4:14-23 reveals the importance of relationship in ministry, investing in eternal rewards, and assurance that God meets your needs.

A Study of Philippians 4:14-23 reveals the importance of relationship in ministry

V.14 To share my troubles…

V.15 no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving…,

The first thing this passage reveals is the importance of relationships in ministry. Paul uses two similar words to communicate this. The Greek word for “share” in V. 14 is synkoinōnēsantes, which means to share in company with, to co-participate in. And the Greek word for “partnership” in V.15 is kŏinōnĕō, which means to share with others. To communicate, distribute, and be a partaker.

Both words express a similar idea to the Greek word kŏinōnia, which means partnership, participation, or social interaction. And describes the unique sense of community when Christ-followers engage socially.

In other words, the Philippian church is not simply giving to a good cause. Or contributing to an online fund raising account. They’re investing in the ministry of someone they know and have a relationship with. Not just because they care about Paul’s ministry. But because they care about Paul and his welfare.

It underscores an important principle. The church should be relationship driven. Church programs are good. Worship and proclaiming God’s word a must. But ministry without relationships lacks spiritual power and Kingdom impact.

A study of Philippians 4:14-23 encourages investing in eternal rewards

V.17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit

The Greek word for “fruit” is karpós, and in secular Greek refers to “product” or “gain”. It’s financial language that describes earning interest in an account. Jesus also uses karpós in Matthew 7:17 when he says, “a healthy tree bears good fruit.” And he is clearly speaking in a spiritual context.

It appears Paul is doing the same thing. In other words, he’s saying their financial investment into his ministry is a spiritual deposit that earns dividends in the Kingdom of God. Jesus supports this idea further in Matthew 6:19-21 when he talks about storing treasure.

A Study of Philippians 4:14-23 provides assurance that God will meet your needs

A sacrifice pleasing to God…

The Philippian church gave sacrificially. Even perhaps, to putting themselves at financial risk. Paul points this out in 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 where he speaks of their poverty, and yet, the sacrificial generosity of the Philippian church in providing for his ministry.

And it’s not the gift itself, that pleases God. But the sacrificial attitudes and serving hearts of those giving.

Of course, church generosity begins with individual generosity. As 2 Corinthians 9:7 reminds us, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Not because God needs our money, but because generosity fights against our natural tendency of selfishness and greed.

V.19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Paul assures them in V.17 that he is now well supplied. And in a like manner, God will supply their needs. He didn’t ask them to give with such sacrifice. Nor would I suggest that sacrificial giving to the point of risking the welfare of your family is something God wants. However, the point is that God controls all the world’s richest and will supply the needs of His people who seek to honor and serve Him.

REFLECT AND RECORD

When you consider your own level of generosity, what drives it? Is gratitude, your trust in God, or your need for security?

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 4:14-23

A Study of Philippians 4:10-13

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that contentment is learned, involves a learning process of experiencing a little and a lot, and that God strengthens you for all things.

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that contentment is learned

V.11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 

The drive to accumulate things can consume us. Fueled by the desire for pleasure, ease, and comfort. It quickly becomes greed with an insatiable appetite. And it begs the question: how much is enough? When will I find contentment?

And Paul’s answer might surprise you. Because you don’t find contentment. You learn it.

Of course, the Bible doesn’t condemn hard work or the accumulation of wealth. In fact, wealth in scripture is often associated with God’s blessing. So where does contentment fit in?

The Greek word for “content” is autarkēs and means both content and sufficient.

In Greek stoic philosophy, contentment was considered something you passively accepted. Since your circumstances are part of God’s will, you might as well accept them in resignation. But Paul takes another approach.

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that the learning process involves experiencing a little and a lot

v.12 I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

Paul experienced times when he had very little and times when he had a lot. And it was an extreme, education curriculum. Because he was beaten, whipped, thrown in prison, and shipwrecked to name a few difficult experiences. And right now you’re probably saying if that’s what it takes to learn contentment, I’d rather remain ignorant.

However, maybe your learning process can avoid those extremes. And involve self-discipline instead. One simple decision my wife and I made early in our marriage was to pay off our credit card bills each month and not build consumer debt. This made us control our spending and say no to some purchases. And we learned to either wait until we had the money or live without some things.

We also learned to express an attitude of gratitude. And regularly thank God for His provision. The more you do, the more it takes root in your heart.

REFLECT AND RECORD

What are some lessons you’ve learned about contentment? Describe the circumstances. Where do you still struggle and explain why? What disciplines should you consider or adjustments should you make?

A study of Philippians 4:10-13 reveals that God strengthens you for all things

V.13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

The Greek word for strengthen is ĕndunamŏō, and means to empower, enable, increase in strength, and make strong

A unique feature of the Christian faith is that it admits human weakness. No one has it all together. Or is completely self-reliant. And to pretend you are is either an attempt to fool others or fool yourself.

Even the great men of faith admitted their inadequacies. David cries out for help and identifies where it comes from in Psalms 121. Solomon talks about the importance of supportive friends. And Paul explains how God’s power is demonstrated through his weakness.

There are times we all need the support of others. And it’s okay to ask for it.

Where do you need God’s strength right now? James 4:2 reminds you it’s important to ask. So take a moment and ask God to provide the strength for what you’re encountering.

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About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

A Study of Philippians 4:14-23

A Study Of Philppians 4:8-9

A study of Philippians 4:8-9 encourages you to center your mind on Godly thoughts, equips you to renew your mind, and guides you towards Godly activities.

A study of Philippians 4:8-9 encourages you to center your mind on Godly thoughts

Toxic thoughts that occupy your mind will destroy your attitude and affect your behavior. Because sinful actions originate as sinful thoughts. So Paul describes a formula for taking charge of what enters and inhabits your mind. A “how to” template for proactively centering your mind on God honoring thoughts.

true… (alḗtheia) An objective reality that is firm, solid, and based on what’s valid, reliable, and honest. When used in reference to people it suggests integrity of character in action, speech, or thought.

honorable... (semna) Some translations say “noble”. The word suggests what is dignified or elevated. And it’s used in other New Testament passages to describe church leaders. When used in that sense, it means what makes them worthy of respect.

just... (dikaia) Some translations say “right” and it means what conforms to God’s standards.

pure…(hagna) Emphasizes moral purity and sometimes refers specifically to sexual purity.

lovely… (prosphilē) Is only used here in the New Testament and suggests what is pleasing, agreeable or amiable.

commendable… (euphēma) Some translations say “admirable”. It means what is well spoken of, attractive, and meets the highest standards.

Take a moment to reflect on these words. Do any of them jump out at you? Write down your thoughts about it.

A study of Philippians 4:8-9 equips you to renew your mind

if there is any excellence, (arete) if there is anything worthy of praise, (epainos) think about these things

The Greek word for “think” is logizesthe, and means to take into account. To reflect on Godly matters and allow them to shape your conduct. In other words, take charge of what enters and stays in your mind. And direct your thoughts to glorify God rather than passively let sinful thoughts direct you.

Since we live in a fallen world, all Christ-followers wage an ongoing battle against sin. Fortunately, God covers us with His grace and forgiveness. And Romans 12:2 reveals a powerful remedy…the renewing of your mind.

How? By replacing toxic, sinful thoughts with Godly thoughts by meditating on scripture and invoking the power of praise. Scripture passages like Philippians 4:8-9 and Psalm 119:11 provide a template to follow.

REFLECT & RECORD

What are some practical ways you can apply the ideas in Philippians 4:8-9 and Psalm 119:11?

A study of Philippians 4:8-9 guides you towards Godly activities

V. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Your thoughts aren’t the only thing that influence your behavior. So do people. Therefore, hang around people who demonstrate the Godly life you want to imitate. Because your friends will influence your behavior. So choose them carefully.

Both 1 Corinthians 15:33 and Psalm 119:113 warn of people to avoid. Ultimately, your thoughts and convictions will demonstrate themselves through your words and actions. Paul offers himself as a model for the Philippians to follow.

But we have the entire Bible to guide us in the things we should practice. And that involves regular study to understand and apply what it says.

Want to know when a new blog article is posted? Receive a monthly newsletter with inspirational thoughts and a sneak peak behind the scenes? Sign up on the form at the top right hand side of the page.

About Chip Tudor:

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.