Your Life, Not Your Words

“Jesus instructed him, “Don’t talk about this all over town… Your cleansed and obedient life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done…”

Luke 5:14-16 (MSG)

          Read the full passage of Luke 5:12-16 in your bible. In this passage, a man sees Jesus in one of the villages and begs Him to cure him of a horrible skin disease. He says to Jesus, “If you want to, you can cleanse me.” Jesus responds, “I want to. Be clean.” Just like that, the man was healed of leprosy.

          Jesus tells him “Don’t talk about this all over town… Your cleansed and obedient life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.” (MSG) He had been healed. And Jesus knew that everyone would be able to notice that right away. Not just by his appearance, but because of his “cleansed and obedient life.”

          What about you? Can people tell that you’ve been healed? Does your lifestyle exhibit someone who has been cleansed and is living obediently to Christ? If we have been changed and redeemed, I think people should be able to tell. In a world where words are becoming less and less credible, we need to make sure our actions line up to what we believe. Many have stopped trusting what we hear because we are so used to being lied to by the media, politicians, and everyone else.

          Isn’t there a phrase that says “Don’t believe everything you hear”? I think that is good advice. Even true statements are given out of context to bend them into what a person wants us to think. Words are often cheap. Don’t just tell people, show them. Some may listen to your words, but more will read your actions.


Who Do You Say I Am?

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

Mark 8:29 NIV

          In Mark 8:27-30, Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do people say I am?” The disciples tell Jesus that people say He’s a prophet. Jesus asks them a powerful question “Who do you say I am?”

          What about you? It’s not that important what other people’s opinion of Him is. Who is Jesus to you? Because that’s really all that matters. Is he a prophet? A good person? A teacher? Or do you agree with Peter’s answer? Is He the Savior? Is He your Savior?

          Read the Mark 8:27-30 for yourself. How do you think you would have responded in that situation? Would you simply regurgitate what others have said to describe Him? Or would you be able to honestly answer that He is your Messiah, your Savior, the forgiver of your sins?

          At Rugged Pursuit, we put a big emphasis on reading the scripture for ourselves rather than simply believing what others say about God. Don’t just take your friend’s word for it, or my word, or even your pastor’s word! Read God’s Word and find the Truth. When you read about Jesus and read the words He spoke, what conclusion do you come to? Is He a prophet? A good role model? Or is He really the Son of God and Savior of the world, like He says He is? No one can make that decision for you. Only you can decide who Christ is to you.

          “Who do you say I am?” is possibly the biggest question we will ever face, because who He is determines who we are. And that changes everything.


Too Busy, Too Broke

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

James 1:27 (NLT)

          We are all guilty of not doing enough for the Kingdom. We know we should be “all in” when it comes to serving God and His church, but we can’t because we are “too busy.” Not only that, but we also can’t give our money to help others because “we don’t have any extra money to spare.” Look, I get it, times are tough. The economy isn’t what it used to be. I understand.

          You may not be in a position to give a “love offering” to pay off your neighbors mortgage or donate your mini van to the youth group. Certainly there are other ways you can make a difference though, right? Even if they seem small or insignificant? But how? What are some practical ways we can live out our faith and serve the Kingdom?

          Let me ask you this: How much time do you spend watching television? How much money do you spend on your cable/satellite bill each month? Would you be willing to sacrifice the NFL Network or Lifetime Movies in order to further the Kingdom? What if your $90 a month satellite bill went towards new school supplies for kids attending your local school that can’t afford them? Could you give up watching The Voice one evening to spend an hour mowing grass for the widow that lives next door?

          There is nothing wrong with watching television or spending your money on things you enjoy. My goal isn’t to shame anyone for the way they choose to spend their time and money. My point is, there are things we could all do differently. Sometimes I think I don’t have the time or resources to help in certain areas so I don’t even pursue it. The truth is that I am just spending my time and resources on other things that I am unwilling to give up. Are you willing to reallocate your time and money away from your kingdom and into His?

          James 1:27 tells us that God expects us to care for those around us and to refuse to be polluted by the world. Are you willing to give up something of this world in order to impact the next? Look, you don’t have to be a millionaire to impact people’s lives for Christ. Making small sacrifices can make a big difference to the people around you. We just have to decide if we are really “all in,” or if our religion is the type that is better enjoyed at home alone in our living rooms.


Withdraw to a Quiet Place

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”

Luke 5:16 (NLT)

          The reason for this site is to help others get into the Word on a more regular basis. My hope is that, whether you’re opening a Bible for the first time, or you’ve been following Christ for years, you can grow closer to God as you read His words.

          I encourage you to make Bible reading, journaling, and prayer a regular practice. Luke 5:16 tells us that even Jesus took time alone to pray and seek the Father, and He did it often. In the New International Version, the verse reads “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” I think there is a reason that He went off alone, away from the crowd, to pray. Sometimes we just need to remove all distractions, drown out the noise, and connect with God. And what better place to do that than in the wilderness? Being outside surrounded by nature is where I feel closest to God. Maybe that is because I am surrounded by His creation so it makes it easier for me to connect with the Creator. You might not be the outdoorsy type, and that’s okay! Maybe the place you withdraw to is the local coffee shop, or your bedroom, the garage, or even a closet! It doesn’t matter as long as you can be alone with the Father and learn to be in closer relationship with Him.

          Our alone time in the Word is important. We need to take time to seek God and pray, just as Jesus did. It is crucial that we spend time getting to know our Creator and that we do so on a regular basis. Our God desires to have relationship with us and, as Christians, we should want to draw closer to God and learn to become more like Him. We do that in more than one way:

  1. Spend time reading scripture.
  2. Try to understand what you are reading and how it affects you, those around you, and the original audience at the time the scripture was written.
  3. Apply what you’ve learned to your life and put your knowledge into action.
  4. Pray, so that you will have open communication with God.

So, use this site as a launching pad. Look up the scripture verses that are shared here and read it for yourself. Read the verses before and after the scripture so you can get a good idea of the context and the meaning behind each verse. Write down your thoughts and take notes on what God may have to say to you during the process. I hope you enjoy it and that it helps you take another step on your journey with Christ. Want to be more like Jesus? Withdraw to a quiet place and pray.