by Timothy Cooley, Sr.
Jesus invites Peter and Andrew to follow Him. If they accept the offer, Christ promises He will exert His transforming power to make them become “fishers of men.” Jesus does not ask them to lift themselves by their own bootstraps. Jesus, the Master Teacher and Molder of Men, proclaims, “I will make you....”
An Effective Communicator of Truth
In response, I pray, "Lord, make me an effective communicator of truth." This prayer is not just for preachers. Christians must be Truth-Tellers. We must tell the truth about every area of life. We must also live in humble submission to the truth. It is easy to preach, but quite a different story to live right. The moral virtue of the messenger exerts greater force than the words of the message.
Truth that has no effect on my life is only an airy abstraction!
We must tell the whole truth. Jesus promised, “When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...” (John 16:13). Again Jesus instructed us, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance” (John 14:26).
The Truth of Eternal Values. This is Truth as Principle — the truth about God, man, sin, salvation, entire sanctification, Christian living, judgment, and eternal destiny. May God help us to proclaim the Good News faithfully: (1) Lovingly, in the spirit of Christ; (2) Truthfully, without compromise; and (3) Constantly, ever at the job.
The Truth of Life Situations. This is Truth as Fact or reality — (1) the way things are, (2) “the way it was,” and (3) the way it will be. Jesus taught us, “Let your communication be, Yea, yea; nay, nay.” His half-brother James preached, “Let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay...” (James 5:12).
The Truth of the Job at Hand. This is Truth as Application. Now that we know the truth, what will we do about it? Vision (of how things should be) should inspire motivation ("Let's do something!") and lead to reporting ("How did we do?").
Truth that has no effect on my life is only an airy abstraction! If we never evaluate our methods, we are doomed to perpetual sterility! Christian truth transforms lives and grows churches.
I continue to pray, “Lord, make me...”
A Powerful Convincer of Righteousness
Paul wrote, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men...” (2 Corinthians
5:11). Persuasion comes both through our words and our actions. Preaching under the unction refers eminently to the power of persuasion. Christians must be Right-Livers. Jesus is the standard of all righteousness. The Holy Spirit delivers the clout in convincing men of righteousness. John 16:18 explains, “When he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
Convincing men of righteousness requires a person-to-person impact. We consciously depend upon the Holy Spirit, yet we also do our best to help persuade them of the...
The Supreme Value of Bible Standards. We must obey at any cost all the commands of Scripture and all the light we have. What converted me to the faith of my father was the settled assurance that Dad would obey Scripture supremely; there was no price tag! He was not for sale. Differences of opinion he could accept and graciously allow, but he firmly lived Joshua 24:15: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
What converted me to the faith of my father was the settled assurance that Dad would obey Scripture supremely.
The Superior Value of Personal Convictions. I believe in the immediate, personal dealing from the Holy Spirit. We must not be afraid to be different! We should not push our personal convictions on everyone else, but by all means live them! Personal character is greater than immediate success. Don’t look around to see who else is doing or not doing the same! Be true to your convictions!
The Strategic Value of our Goals. Bible Standards and Personal Convictions are criteria by which to judge the morality of decisions. The Value of our Goals provides the criterion by which to judge the utility, or usefulness, of our decisions.
Finally, I pray, “Lord, make me...”
A Loving Conveyor of Beauty
Christians must be Excellence-Lovers. This is perhaps even less verbal; it affects attitudes, which in turn affect all that we do and say.
What are the elements of beauty? Symmetry, balance, pleasing proportions, whether physical, spiritual or emotional. Tasteful combinations of color, shape or sound. Spiritually, we can identify excellence with the character of Jesus Christ. He is the perfect blend of all character traits.
Luke declares, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). He lived an excellently balanced life. For thirty years, He carried the normal responsibilities of home and business. Then for three years, He balanced a public ministry with private training of His disciples. Everything was done in perfect balance.
We sing, “Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.” John 1:14 explains, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” Glory is the outshining of the excellence of God’s character. God is glorious because He is morally excellent or holy. What is not holy cannot be glorious!
Glory is the outshining of the excellence of God's character.
The Beauty of Holiness. The psalmist exhorts us, “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Holiness equals character — God’s character and that same character reproduced by grace in us. Entire sanctification is a dispositional reorientation. The sanctified will is no longer bent to sin, but inclined to the right. The life that flows from a pure heart is to be lived “soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). That includes a sober awareness of myself, righteous relationships with others (beginning with my wife and family), and a reverent consciousness of God’s presence in all that I do.
The Beauty of Excellence. Holiness is the glorious moral excellence of God. Imitating God’s character will extend excellence into every area of life. The wise man admonished us, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). God’s works evidence His excellence. Our work has our mark of identity on it. Let your work represent you and your Master well. Even in recreation, guard your choices. Act in such a way as to glorify God.
Beauty of Appearance (Aesthetics). Our personal appearance ought to reflect holiness, not only in plainness and modesty, but in simplicity, neatness and beauty. The Christian ought to seek excellence in culture, art, environment and surroundings. Our living quarters, house, yard, car, and office should be respectable. Holiness is not equal to shoddiness! Christians must be Lovers of Excellence!
By grace, my example must proclaim the same message as my lips. I submit to the teaching regimen of Jesus Christ that He may make me.
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Dr. Timothy Cooley, Sr.
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