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.

How Should I Respond To Angry People?

How Should I Respond To Angry People?

How should I respond to angry people? And not just a little angry. But a lot. Like boiling mad to irrational rage? Especially as a Christ-follower. I was confronted with this question in a recent experience that took me by surprise. And here are my thoughts about it.

I was the last car in a line turning left at a traffic light. We all turned on the green arrow although it changed to yellow as I went through. I was in no hurry as I headed towards another light a block away to make another left into a small strip mall.

A short distance from the light I heard the roar of an engine and squeal of tires. In my rearview mirror I saw the incensed, contorted face of a driver tailgating me. He had been waiting to make a right turn on the opposite side of the light and I now gathered, was morally offended by my left hand turn.

So he broke the speed limit to catch up, nearly rear ended me in his haste and now drove recklessly, inches away from rear bumper to teach me a driving lesson. And when I stopped at the red light, he halted inches away from my rear bumper to drive home the point.

I responded in a perfectly calm and reasonable manner by throwing my car in park, jumping out and marching to the driver side window, throwing my hands in the air, and shouting, “What are you doing?”

It was completely reactive and impulsive on my part.

And if a brawny lad got out, it might be a problem. Although in my experience, brawny lads are seldom raging bullies, because they have nothing to prove. And true to form, this aggressive bully switched to victim mode and began video taping me on his phone.

So in case you see me on a social media post, please note my egregious act was making a legal left hand turn at a traffic light. But apparently, this driver on the opposite side of the light knew better.

Since he remained safely in his car, I returned to mine and turned into the strip mall as he now, bravely, continued to tailgate me, steering with one hand and video taping with the other. But drove on when I pulled into a parking space.

And here are some thoughts as I’ve had time to reflect and consider a more Godly response to angry people.

How should I respond to angry people? Maybe by offering compassion

People are on an emotional edge. Overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and fear. Bottled up inside. And hidden so you don’t know who they are, what pressures are internally seething, or when a trivial incident will cause an eruption. Something troubling was already going on in the life of the driver I encountered. I simply triggered the explosion.

But I follow a compassionate God. Who instructs me to share the compassion I’ve received from him with others. It doesn’t mean I’m milk toast. Lay down and let people steam roll me. But to measure my response. And not view them as enemies. But people who are likely struggling. And probably need a friend. I don’t know what’s going on in their life. So maybe I should give them the benefit of the doubt.

How should I respond to angry people? Maybe by demonstrating joy

Joy doesn’t mean wearing a dopey grin on my face all day. Telling an angry person I’ll pray for them or have a blessed day. That seems patronizing. But it does include silently asking God for his strength and self-control in the heat of a moment. And the goal to act, rather than react to the other person. Or not respond at all, but merely drive on.

It’s not that I don’t have struggles and bad days. I have both. But joy is a fruit of God’s Spirit. Something I possess in spite of difficult circumstances. And difficult people.

It’s the result of living with hope. Because I know God is faithful to his promise. And as a child of that promise, I see an eternal future which radically changes how I see the present. And a sense of meaning that extends way beyond navigating the turn at a traffic light.

So I can choose joy. To act rather than react. And let God’s strength be revealed in my weakness.

How should I respond to angry people? Maybe by extending grace

Grace is an undeserved pardon. That’s me as a sinner before a holy God. I don’t deserve his love or forgiveness. But he extends it anyway through his grace. And as an unworthy recipient, I’m charged by scripture to extend it to others.

I forget this sometimes. Probably because I so quickly return anger for anger and seek to defend myself. Grace requires a supernatural response. Similar to compassion but so much more. Because compassion leads to understanding and acceptance. But grace leads to eternal life. Because grace is granted by God to all who believe in and follow Jesus Christ.

And that’s another message I can share. But no one will hear it if I’m shouting in anger.

It wasn’t my absolute worst response to an angry person. But through the power of God, I can do better.

Let’s hear your angry story along with thoughts on Godly responses.

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.

Finding God’s Purpose From Three Perspectives

Finding God’s Purpose From Three Perspectives

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers God’s eternal purpose, greater purpose, and practical purpose.

Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my purpose?

We all ask these profound questions at some point in life. And a comprehensive view of purpose considers it from three perspectives.

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers your eternal purpose

Scripture teaches we were created to praise, worship, and live in community with God for eternity. But the entrance of sin ruined this relationship. However, Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for sin and restores the relationship with his gift of salvation.

A secular mindset rejects the authority of a creator and celebrates individual autonomy. But complete individual autonomy is an illusion. Because no one survives without God’s sustaining presence in the world and the cooperation of other people.

Here are a few scripture passages about your eternal purpose.

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers your greater purpose

We all want to make our life count. To advance a mission…find a special calling…work for a higher cause. Scripture encourages us to use our gifts, talents, and abilities for God’s glory. And serve His kingdom.

But this perspective is also where we often get hung up. As if a greater purpose and God’s will for our life is a mystery we have to solve. So we take personal inventories, career aptitude, and spiritual gift tests to determine where we fit in the world and in God’s plan. And sometimes obsess in analysis paralysis.

Two principles that have guided me in finding God’s purpose for my life

1. One of my seminary professors, Grady Lowery, always said, “find what you do best for the Kingdom of God and do it.”

Sounds almost too simple, right? And yet it has helped me navigate different career choices in church ministry and the secular marketplace. But always with a sense that God was leading and in control.

So what passion has God has placed in your heart? What gifts and abilities has he given you? How can you best use them for His Kingdom? The answer to these questions will often provide a pathway.

2. Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God invites us to “join God where he is working.”
This advice led me into many ministries over the years. Rather than searching for my exact fit, like a solitary piece in God’s grand puzzle, I simply walked through open doors of opportunity where God was clearly working. And I never felt like any of them were outside of God’s will.

Here are a few scripture passages to also consider.

Finding God’s purpose from three perspectives considers your practical purpose

God’s Word is not a collection of rules and regulations to control you. But guidance for a life that honors, glorifies, and pleases Him. As you follow its precepts, you’ll pursue God’s intended purpose for this life.

Because rather than confine you, it helps you navigate the relationships and circumstances in life. Nor does it suppress your individuality and unique abilities. But encourages you to fully express them for God’s glory.

Need a purpose statement? A scripture verse I use is Micah 6:8.

“He has told you O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you. To live justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

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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 4:14-23

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.

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.