Do you ever feel like you’re the worst sinner on the planet? I’m sure we’ve all been there. It may be that we even still struggle with that feeling about ourselves. As hard as it may be to believe, the apostle Paul actually felt the same way about himself. “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- of whom I am the worst.”(I Tim.1:15) Paul had quite a colorful past when he was better known as Saul the church persecutor. “Saul was there, giving approval” to the stoning death of Stephen. (Acts 8:1) Could it be, when Paul recorded the above scripture to Timothy that he was thinking back, with regret, on his days as Saul? We all have a past and things in that past that we want to forget. We’ve done things we wish we hadn’t. We’ve said things we shouldn’t have said. I’m afraid we all have a skeleton or two tucked away somewhere in a closet. So, what do we do? How do we overcome feeling like the worst sinner at times? We have to do exactly what Paul did and accept the grace and mercy of God. Notice the above cited verse is perfectly sandwiched between two very powerful verses that speak of God’s grace and mercy. “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”(I Tim.1:14) “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”(I Tim.1:16) Paul trusted by faith in God’s grace and knew that since God showed mercy to him, He would to you and me as well. You and I, like Paul, may feel like that worst of sinners at times and when we do, we must remember the grace and mercy that God poured out for us through Jesus.
“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.”(Prov.4:14-15) Solomon is very clear and pointed about choosing the right path. We are all faced with the choice of which path we’ll travel. From the time we begin to choose friends and activities we slowly begin to pick our path. Even as adults we have to choose the right path. Some, because of their associates, choose the path of the wicked and fall prey to many sins that await them on that path. Some may wonder why anyone would choose the path of the wicked. The path of the wicked is lined with many sinful activities that are made to look enticing and as if it would have no lasting effects on your life. Reality is, by the time many finally choose to leave the path of the wicked they do so with addiction struggles and a painful past. That’s exactly why Solomon, in the above cited verses, will say four times in four different ways to stay away from the path of the wicked. Notice: “do not set foot of the path of the wicked”, “Avoid it”, “do not travel on it”, and “turn from it”. He couldn’t be any more direct and then says, “go on your way”. It’s as if Solomon is scolding those contemplating taking the path of the wicked, trying to enforce their need to move on to a better path. Consider carefully the path you choose.
I can only assume that actors and actresses never wish to be type-casted. Playing a role is what they do for a living, so I’m sure when one role ends they would like to move on to the next and forget the last one. Unfortunately, that’s just not realistic. There are countless actors that are known, type-casted, for one particular character they played. I know I’m partial, but I can’t think of Chuck Norris without thinking of Walker, Texas Ranger. I can’t help but see Henry Winkler as the Fonz from Happy Days. The late Bob Denver will always be Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island, to me. What if Christians were type-casted? I don’t mean for playing a role or character. I’m talking about being type-casted for the life we live. How great it would be if Christians were type-casted for being like Jesus. Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(John 13:35) According to Jesus, we should be so much like Him that we are type-casted. If we love like Jesus, treat others the way Jesus would and serve like Him, we will be known as His and possibly type-casted for Jesus. Type-casting for a professional actor could sure be a negative thing as it could hinder their future career opportunities. But a faithful Christian being type-casted for Jesus is the greatest compliment ever. As Christians we’re supposed to let our light shine and show others Jesus through us. So, to be type-casted for Jesus just reaffirms that you are taking serious your responsibility to live for Him and show Him to others by the way you live. Let’s strive every day to be so much like Jesus that others type-cast us. “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”(Phil.2:5)
How much thought do you give to spiritual wellness? I know we give attention to our physical wellness. Some even go to the doctor for an annual physical wellness check-up. There seems to be an ever increasing trend of people who are going to the gym to workout. Others try hard to monitor what they eat, staying away from fattening foods. All of this is done in the name of physical wellness. Being healthy physically should be important to us all. What about being healthy spiritually? How would you answer my original question: how much thought do you give to spiritual wellness? I wonder do we give much thought to spiritual wellness at all. If you went for a spiritual wellness check-up, what would it reveal? Would the Great Physician say that you’re in great spiritual shape or would He advise a little more spiritual exercise to enhance your spiritual wellness? I believe our spiritual wellness is as serious a matter as our physical wellness, if not more. It’s so important that I intend to preach on spiritual wellness three of the four Sundays in October. I hope we’ll all be challenged to not take our spiritual wellness for granted. I hope you’ll make it a point to be present for the Sunday morning worship assemblies through October. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”(II Pet.3:18)