" delights in another's hurt; pines at another's good; imparts duplicity to the heart; (flattery) imparts duplicity to the tongue; wound the character of another." (Augustine) As we are enabled by the Holy Spirit, God gives us the desire and power to put away these attitudes and action, but we must still carry out the "putting away"--that's our responsibility. It's a matter of obedience.
- God is building a spiritual house/temple using living stones (Christians), those who have come to Jesus Christ, the Living Stone (rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to Him). We serve the Living Lord who is the Source of life. "In Him (Christ) the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit." (Ephesians 2:21-22) Christ is our Foundation. "So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: See, I lay a Stone in Zion, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone for a sure Foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.'" (Isaiah 28:16) To ponder: Are we living stones that build our lives on the Living Stone? Are we being lively memorial stones that are visible and stand out as monuments of God's goodness, grace, and faithfulness...to help ourselves, our children, and others remember what God has done? "You were full of sin. Far from being stones that were white with purity--you were black with defilement, seemingly utterly unfit to be stones in the spiritual temple, which would be the dwelling-place of the Most High God. And yet, He chose you to be trophies of His grace!" (Charles Spurgeon) "True believers are stones full of life, so joined to Christ as to be part of the live rock, instinct with spiritual vitality. God has quickened them from the dead. The Holy Spirit has come to take possession of them. Whereas once they were dead in trespasses (Ephesians 2:1) and sins they now live by the living seed that God has put into them, and the life that they live in the flesh is the life of Christ within them. “I no longer live,” said the apostle, “but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Can your eye of faith see that temple of God made up of living men and women, not alive through the life of the First Adam but alive through that Second Adam, of whom it is said, “The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45)." (Charles Spurgeon) "To really live we need passion for Jesus and purpose to serve Him...We represent hope to people who may have given up on finding real life. We are stones rolled away, giving them a glance into the empty tomb. We provide evidence that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life...Share what God is doing in your life and commit to be a living stone before your friend." (Beth Moore)
- Because Christ's sacrifice gives us direct access to the throne of God, we Christ's followers become holy priests, set apart for His use. Each one of us is to function as a priest whose purpose is to serve God, our King. Aside from living a holy life in a close relationship with God, our main duty is to bring others closer to Him. We are to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. "Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor Me." (Psalm 50:23a) "My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, You, God, will not despise." (Psalm 51:17) "I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship." (Romans 12:1) "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that openly profess His Name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (Hebrews 13:15-16)