Catch More Flies

By Linda Tancs

There’s an old Italian proverb that says you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. In other words, you’ll get on better in life if you’re kind. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Popular campaigns like Random Acts of Kindness and Pay It Forward encourage us to be kind. In Ephesians 4:32, to be kind is mentioned first. Kindness benefits the one being kind (Proverbs 11:17) and honors God. So spare the vinegar and use more honey.

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES (a teaching and speaking ministry), Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

Discipline Brings Dividends

By Linda Tancs

Do you consider yourself a disciplined person? Do you watch what you eat? Exercise? Mind your manners? As any fitness guru will tell you, discipline brings dividends. Even the apostle Paul exhorted his followers to be disciplined (1 Corinthians 9:27). Self-control is a form of discipline, and it honors God. After all, it’s referred to as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). In what areas can you practice better self-control?

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES (a teaching and speaking ministry), Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

By Linda Tancs

No doubt you’ve heard the expression, “Actions speak louder than words .” American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way: “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” That’s a manner of expressing caution about how you act with others (Colossians 4:5). How do your actions comport with your words?  Your behavior informs others as to your nature. Does your behavior reflect the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) or something less appetizing? Your life is a sermon, as another expression goes. Walk the talk.

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

Easy Street

By Linda Tancs

I saw a commercial vehicle on the highway with an address on Easy Street. That made me think about the phrase “on easy street,” living a life of ease. It also brought to mind Jesus’s admonition against pursuing the wide road that leads to destruction, an eschatological reference implying that those who choose easy ways (to feel good in the moment) face separation from God (Matthew 7:13). Easy Street often evokes consumption, pleasures and distractions. It can be a place of temptation, a place fostering bitterness, revenge, anger, frustration, greed and unforgiveness. There’s no room for the Spirit there. That’s why Jesus promotes the straight and narrow road. It might not be easy, but it leads to a better life (Galatians 5:22-23).

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

 

A Thorny Problem

By Linda Tancs

A popular song bears the title “Every Rose Has its Thorn.” You could say the same about us. As the sower’s parable in Mark’s gospel illustrates, we’re all capable of having thorns, like worldly anxiety, the lure of riches and the craving for other things (Mark 4:1-20). The key is to eliminate them. When a florist removes thorns from a rose bouquet, it creates more room in the vase. Likewise, when you remove the thorns from your life, you have more room to grow, to bear good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). You’ll come out smelling like a fragrant rose, an aroma pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 2:15).

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

Rules

By Linda Tancs

American poet Mary Oliver wrote, “Even paradise must have rules.” How right she was. After all, God did impose a rule in the Garden of Eden. He told Adam that he could eat of every tree in the garden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Well, we know how that turned out.

In our own world, we recognize that community rules are integral to an ordered society. We even impose rules on ourselves. I’ll only eat dessert on weekends. I’ll walk 40 minutes each day. Calls will be returned within 24 hours. But, of course, rules are broken. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). The remedy is prayer. In fact, Paul exhorts us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That may sound impossible, but it really isn’t. Every thought can be a form of prayer, a resolution to live out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Which rules are you breaking? Pray over it so that, in time, you’ll mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31) and soar above the tendency to break the rules.

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

The Highest Good

By Linda Tancs

The Latin phrase summum bonum means “the highest good.” So what is the highest good? Literally, it is God; it doesn’t get any higher than that (Luke 18:19). You’ve heard it said hundreds of times, “God is good.” Throughout the Bible we’re reminded that God represents every good thing: love (1 John 4:8), light (1 John 1:5), forgiveness (1 John 1:9), compassion (Exodus 33:19), generosity (Psalm 84:11) and so on.

It is impossible to be as good as God (Isaiah 55:8-9), but we should aim to be as good as possible. In the philosophical context, our highest good is a virtuous life. Paul defined those virtues as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It’s your highest good and your highest calling. Jesus left you an example to follow (1 Peter 2:21), so follow Him.

Unattached

By Linda Tancs

The Bible urges us to be unattached to outcomes—or incomes, for that matter (1 John 2:15-17; Hebrews 13:5-6). That means we are encouraged to purge attachments we have to who we are, attachments to our belongings, attachments to our jobs, labels, titles, and roles, attachments to our judgments and attachments to old memories that keep us stuck.

What attachments can you release? Maybe you can remove your attachment to distractions like mindless TV, popular culture or sensational headlines. The result of all this attachment is sin (Galatians 5:19-21) so it’s easy to understand why it needs to go. Easy to say, not so easy to do, you say. Indeed, the story of the rich young man in Mark 10:17-22 illustrates how hard it is to let go. When he asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life, Jesus told him to sell all he had and follow Him. The man went away sad because he had many possessions. So long as there’s attachment, there’s another idol in your heart (Exodus 34:14).

 The rewards of detachment are many, giving way to the fruits of the Spirit, like love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Moreover, Jesus promised a reward both now and in eternity for giving up worldly things for His sake (Mark 10:28-31). It’s about giving up pain for gain. Who wouldn’t want that trade?

God is Not Santa Claus

By Linda Tancs

One of the most misconstrued and misapplied Bible verses is undoubtedly John 10:10, where Jesus is recorded as saying that He came so that we might have and enjoy life and have it in abundance. For many this verse has come to imply a promise of “the good life.” Certainly, many folks do enjoy a good, earthly life. But the Lord doesn’t promise you a Cadillac or a nice house. What He promised to show you is the Way. Jesus proclaimed, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6). Enjoying life isn’t about enjoying things; it’s about enjoying Him. In God’s economy, the good life is our ability to experience His joy and delight—to the full, until it overflows (John 15:11).

When we live His way, we reap the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23). Those fruits and any other blessings (2 Corinthians 9:8) are meant to be shared.

The Principle of Adhesion

By Linda Tancs

In legal parlance, an adhesion contract is one that is so one-sided that one party benefits practically exclusively from it. In commercial relationships, it’s easy to view that as unfair to the party negatively impacted.

In the spiritual realm, though, we benefit greatly from a unilateral contract. It’s a new covenant of grace initiated by God through faith in Christ—a contract of adhesion with innumerable benefits:

  • the old passes away and we become like new (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • worry and anxiety are unnecessary emotions (Matthew 6:31-34)
  • a life of faith ensues (Galatians 2:20)
  • eternal life is obtained (John 3:16)
  • the fruits of the Holy Spirit are qualities available to us, like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)

Now there’s a contract worth signing.