A Better Year with Christ
Do you want your upcoming year in Christ to be great? Do you hope for it to be the year you grow in your faith like never before? Do you want to take off in your spiritual life? You can positively thrive in your walk with Jesus in 2020 no matter the circumstances…if you want to. You just have to answer one big question:
Who is in charge?
There are currently around 7 billion wrong answers to this question. They range from you and your spouse to Donald Trump to your job. There is only one correct response: Jesus. Understanding this truth and then living like it is actually true will guarantee you have the best Christian year ever.
A House Divided
I worked for a business that had a divided management structure. There were 6 people who had equal ownership of the business. They each had power over the day to day operations of the business. They also had their own vision for how the company should be run. These were often in conflict with one another. One owner’s plan for expansion ran contrary to the other’s hope for the conservation of cash for the year. There were too many leaders for one organization. There was daily confusion among the employees about where their allegiance and efforts were best spent. Painful compromise, wasted work, and lack of real progress were the result. Everyone guessed on the direction of the company since no one knew who to follow. The house was divided.
Your Christian life may be reflecting this same organizational malady. Who is really in charge of your life? You might say God and that is the right answer.
But is He really?
Do you seek His direction on what to do every day?
Have you asked Him whether He wants you working where you are?
Do you ask Him how to spend your free time?
Are you letting Him tell what your goals are rather than asking His approval for your plans?
Is God your King, Lord, and, Master?
Or is God your co-pilot whose main job is to rubber-stamp your decisions, feelings, and preferences? Is He the one you only go to when your plans are in trouble?
Render to Caesar
Jesus is confronted with the challenge of divided leadership in Matthew. Two political parties with Judaism confront Him with a sticky question. “Is it right to pay taxes?”, they ask with fake sincerity. This is a question reflective of the warring factions present in Israel at the time. The ambitions of people are fighting with each other for control. The Herodians are in favor of taxes and want Jesus on their side. The Pharisees hate paying taxes and want Jesus to agree with them. Both hate each other and Jesus and want to use this man focused question to tear Him apart. They both seek to pull people away from Jesus and after their own party.
They are just two of the billions of wrong answers to the question of who is in charge.
Jesus sees their hearts and their attempt to trap Him. He is not going to play their game and refuses to be tripped up by them. Yet, in His mercy, Jesus even offers them the Way out of their angry, rebellious, and miserable lives and into real faith:
Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?
Show Me the tax money.”
So they brought Him a denarius.
And He said to them, “Whose image and inscription is this?”
They said to Him, “Caesar’s.”
And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
It is easy to get caught up in Jesus’ response to the taxation question posed. Whether taxes are good or bad is the focus of the enemies of Jesus. He uses the image of Caesar on the coin to explain how things that have the image of Caesar, the civil realm, belong to him and should be honored accordingly. So pay taxes, honor the rules of the government, and don’t break laws.
The application for Christians should be much more important. It is the key to an awesome life in Jesus. It is the way out of the constant wars among mankind.
Render to God what is God’s
The denarius bore the image of Caesar belong to him and therefore should be rendered to Caesar. Jesus says the things that belong to God should be rendered to God. These things would be those that bear God’s image.
What bears the image of God in this world? You.
Man is made in the image of God. Since you bear His image you belong to Him.
Is your life dedicated to Jesus? Are you rendering to God what is God’s?
Your flesh may rebel at this thought. It involves submitting all of you to God. This includes your will, your heart, your intellect, your feelings, and even your sense of right or wrong to Jesus. It includes asking Jesus whether your decisions you take for granted are what He wants for you. It means Jesus is truly in charge of everything…not just a guy you talk to when you need help.
This may involve some pain initially. It is hard to destroy the Golden Calves in your life. Yet, it will be fruitful. You will grow in Christ. You will experience your faith in a deeper way. You will truly walk as a servant of Christ depending on Him.
Jesus blesses this type of disciple abundantly.
Are you willing to try? You can control your Christian life. You can have life abundantly.
Do you want to have a better new year in Christ?
All it takes is submission to the One who is really in charge anyway. Ask Him how to live your entire life and then listen to the answer.
What is stopping you?