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Friday, July 1, 2011

“Needs Improvement”

I was a third grader at Joyner Elementary School in Tupelo, MS, and I dreaded one particular portion of third grade. Handwriting! I had always had atrocious handwriting, and now I just knew that it was going to get worse. We were going to have to learn how to write in cursive! I can remember that my teacher that year nagged and nagged at me about improving my cursive! In reflection, I realize that she was just doing her job and trying to improve me, however the “third grade me” absolutely despised it! In retrospect, I probably didn’t work at cursive as hard as I needed to and when it came time for report cards, my mother was not happy! I had received an “N” for needs improvement! I am sure that most people have a similar story to the one that I just shared, where they got a grade that was not what it should have been. What about our Christianity though? What kind of grade would you get for the work that you do for the Kingdom? Would it be an “N” for needs improvement? Would it be an “E” for excellent? It might even fall somewhere in between; a “G” (good), or “S” (satisfactory). The biggest and most important question is what quality of work does God expect from us?  Here are several simple things that we can do to improve our Christian lives:

1)    Study, study and study more. It is going to be hard to be a successful Christian without knowing the word of God and continually reminding yourself of it. Make a point to read a chapter of the Bible at least once a day; whether it be at night before you go to sleep, during your lunch hour, or even in the morning when you wake up. I believe that the psalmist was definitely correct when he wrote, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalms 119:105).

2)    “Pray without Ceasing”. I believe that the power of prayer speaks for itself. After all, it is our communication line to God, and we have Jesus who mediates for us (1 Timothy 2:5). We must take advantage of this great tool that we have as children of God.

3)    Involve yourself. I have noticed the benefits of becoming involved in the activities in the local congregation. The Elizabethtown church of Christ has so many different activities that are available to help others, and at the same time help ourselves spiritually. Among other benefits, when we are around other children of God on a regular basis it will help ignite a flame in us to follow the will of God, and when we become involved in the works of the church it helps motivate our individual spiritual lives.   

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