A Christian heart is a generous heart. It is not in the Christian spirit to be greedy or selfish. Everyone would agree that being a giving, benevolent soul is the way Christ intends for us.
With that said, there are things that God tells us to take. I would like to look at four of these things. One of which is so important, that you cannot be a Christian without it.
Psalm 116:13, "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD."
One cannot be a Christian without being saved, and one cannot be saved without taking the cup of salvation. What is the cup of salvation?
Moments before His arrest and subsequent crucifixion; Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. Twice He asked the Father if this cup could pass from Him let it pass (Matthew 26:39-42; see also Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42). In other words, if there was any way to save humanity from their sins besides Him suffering death on the cross, please let's go in that direction.
The cup Jesus was to drink that day was the cup of suffering, bleeding, and dying for the sins of the world. That is the cup of salvation we must take. An individual must place complete trust in Jesus' death and resurrection for their salvation. They must realize Christ's blood is the only sacrifice God the Father will accept on our behalf. This faith is not just an acknowledging of the facts but is robust enough to bring us to confess our sins to God and allow Him to change our heart (Hebrews 9:22; Romans 5:8-9, Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Without taking the cup of salvation, there is no spiritual or eternal life - period.
The second thing God wants us to take is instruction. Proverbs 4:13, "Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life." Years ago, I would drive by a billboard. I do not remember what they were advertising, but the billboard had a photo of an infant with the words, "I wish they came with instructions" written across the bottom. Every time I drove by the sign I would yell at it, "They do; it's called the Bible."
Jesus once asked the apostles if they would leave him. Peter replied, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). God's instruction manual for life is the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). Read it, study it, in fact, having faith in the Bible enough to do what it says is how God will approve of what we do in life (2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 11:6). Take hold of God's instruction; don't let go.
Thirdly, and to me, this is the most interesting. We are to take hold of God's strength. Isaiah 27:5, "Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me."
Food for thought here. We think we need God's strength to get through the rough situations of life. This problem, that dilemma, the next crisis, all require God's strength to get through; to weather the storm. Did you notice God said nothing about that in the verse? He says we need to take hold of His strength to have peace with Him. In fact, God is so adamant about this He repeats Himself.
God is pointing out the big picture here. Getting through all those rough spots in life requires God's peace; the peace that passeth all understanding and we acquire God's peace through His strength (Philippians 4:7).
Lastly, God tells us to take of the water of life. Revelation 22:17, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
Don't take this verse out of context. The scene is eternity, and it is specifically talking about a day coming in the future. However, taking this verse loosely and applying it to the Christian life we live today we can see the resources of the Christian life - prayer, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, fellowship with believers — are voluntary and always there for the taking.
We take what God tells us to take to live a life we can give back to Him.
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County Indiana. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. The views and opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Knoxville Journal-Express.