Without courage, there can be no virtue.
Without gratitude, it's impossible to be happy. Perhaps you find it hard to be grateful—especially to God. Thanking him may feel fake to you. If so, do it anyway. If you get into the habit of it, you will become more grateful, and you will be a happier person. If you feel like you can't thank God because you wonder what he has done for you, or you think he has given up on you, or given up on someone you love, watch these movies. Father Stu and The Shack And read the following. Love Conquers All God never gives up on anyone.
Without courage we will just be one of the crowd. Don’t give into peer group pressure. Set the example. Be the leader. Do what is right. Don’t follow them. They have to follow you. And if they won’t, go alone. (Only you won’t be alone. God will be with you.)
“Obedience is the opener of eyes.” - George MacDonald
Lots of things only begin to make sense after we begin to trust and obey God. Don’t go against your conscience though. God gave you your sense of right and wrong. If you ignore your conscience you are ignoring God. See Conscience.
“The impossibility of doing what we would as we would, drives us to look for help.”
This is how this little book on prayer by George MacDonald begins.
Prayer: Three "Unspoken Sermons" by the man who inspired C S Lewis
We are weak. We need all the help we can get.
G COP: Gratitude, Courage, Obedience, Prayer
In an age that mocks Christianity, it takes courage to talk about Jesus. When I do what he asks of me, and I speak freely regarding what I know is right, this is when I bring the most glory to God. Bringing glory to God has become the overarching goal of my life. The worse the situation, the greater the opportunity to bring glory to God by the way I behave.
I look forward to the day when God has finished making me. I look forward to the day when I’m like Christ. When I am that pure in heart, even what you or I would regard as relatively minor sin will disgust me. When I'm as honest, brave, and as kind as Jesus, I will not be able to bring myself to do an inconsiderate or selfish thing, no matter how small. But that day is a long way away. (One day I will be like the superman spoken about in this sermon. Becoming Superman.)
I do not deserve God’s love. He does not approve of many of the things I think, say, or do, but he loves me anyway. God loves us not because we are loveable, but because he is perfectly loving.
We belong to God. He made us, and he loves us. From God we came, and to God we will return. But is knowing that enough?
Knowing something about God is not the same as knowing him. The more we focus on how much purer in heart Jesus is than we are, the more we think about and meditate on how differently we would behave if we were like him, the more we will be humbled by just how much greater he is than we are. This will help us to want to be like him. It will help us to trust and obey him. And if we humbly trust and obey him we will really come to know him. But even then, how exactly can anyone truly know God? See Saving Knowledge
Choosing to follow Christ is not easy, but the alternative has problems of its own.
We always have a choice before us; we can choose to bring glory to God—this is the path that leads to hope—or we can choose to put our own needs (or rather, what we perceive to be our needs) before the needs of others—this is the path that leads to despair. Without hope, life is not worth living.
“...suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Rom 5:3b, 4)
Should we therefore choose to suffer? Only if we have a choice between suffering while doing what is right, and not suffering and doing what is wrong.
Following Jesus is the hard narrow way—the way of self-denial—but it is the way that fills a person with a hope that cannot be destroyed. However, I do not regard following Jesus as self denial; if I did, I wouldn’t get far. Will an athlete train hard for many months on end, if every time he trains he thinks about all the fun things he could be doing with his friends? If every time he eats healthy food and gets to bed early he thinks about how he could be eating junk food and partying it won’t be long before he gives up. But if instead he thinks about what he is gaining and keeps before his mind his goal, he will be self-disciplined; he will be able to put his heart and soul into his training. He will not view such hard work as giving something up; he will view it is as the path to victory. (But do not mistake me, following Jesus is not simply a matter of will power. See temptation.)
If being like God, and near God is what we most desire, we will trust him by setting out to do his will. If we are not trusting and obeying Jesus we are atheists—we are living as if God does not exist. (Many people who call themselves Christians are atheists. They spend much of their time trying to convince themselves and others that they believe in Jesus (see Jer 17:9), but their personal choices betray them. Sooner or later they reap the despair that comes with disbelief.)
“You can't live on amusement. It is the froth on water - an inch deep and then the mud.” ~ George MacDonald
We must die to live.
“Christ died to save us, not from suffering, but from ourselves; not from injustice, far less from justice, but from being unjust. He died that we might live—but live as he lives, by dying as he died who died to himself that he might live unto God. If we do not die to ourselves, we cannot live to God, and he that does not live to God, is dead.” ~ George MacDonald
Christians would do well to ask themselves the following questions. What do I want more than anything else? Do I want God? Or do I just want something God can give? In other words, am I just using God to try and get something I want? Or am I trying to come near him?
Trusting and obeying Jesus is the only right kind of self-service. The more I trust and obey Jesus the closer I come to God. And the closer I come to God, the more my heart is filled with hope. (And I have also noticed that hope increases the strength of my will.)
Jesus said that if we continue to obey him, we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free. Do not choose the path that leads to nowhere.
“Get up, and do something the Master tells you; so make yourself his disciple at once.” ~ George MacDonald
"We must do the thing we must
Before the thing we may;
We are unfit for any trust
Till we can and do obey." (from the poem Willie's Question by George MacDonald)
My goal in life is to be intimate with God. God is all I need. Trusting and obeying Jesus leads to intimacy with God, and with people. (Not all people, but some. The more trustworthy I become, the more I will be trusted.) The more I trust God, the more I will love others, and the more some will love me.
“Love is the opener as well as closer of eyes.” ~ George MacDonald
We may seek power, meaning, or pleasure more than other things, but it is intimacy we truly desire.
“Few delights can equal the presence of one whom we trust utterly.” ~ George MacDonald