Perhaps you’ve never placed the word courteous next to Christ. I hadn’t until I wrote this chapter.
But you know how you never notice double-cab red trucks until your friend says he wants one—then you see a dozen of them? I had never thought much about the courtesy of Christ before, but as I began looking, I realized that Jesus makes Emily Post look like Archie Bunker.
He always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But he doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20 NASB). And when you answer, he awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.
And when he enters, he always brings a gift. Some bring Chianti and daisies. Christ brings “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). And, as he stays, he serves. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45 NIV). If you’re missing your apron, you’ll find it on him. He’s serving the guests as they sit (John 13:4-5). He won’t eat until he’s offered thanks, and he won’t leave until the leftovers are put away (Matt. 14:19-20).
He is courteous enough to tell you his name (Exod. 3:15) and to call you by yours (John 10:3). And when you talk, he never interrupts. He listens.
He is even on time. Never late. Never early. If you’re checking your watch, it’s because you’re on a different itinerary. “There is a time for everything” (Eccles. 3:1). And Christ stays on schedule.
He even opens doors for you. Paul could preach at Troas because “the Lord had opened a door” (2 Cor. 2:12 NIV). When I asked my dad why men should open doors for women, his answer was one word: “respect.” Christ must have abundant respect for you.
He knocks before he enters. He always brings a gift. Food is served. The table is cleared. Thanks are offered. He knows your name and tells you his, and here is one more.
He pulls out the chair for you. “He raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens” (Eph. 2:6).
My wife has a heart for single moms. She loves to include a widow or divorcée at the table when we go to a restaurant. Through the years I’ve noticed a common appreciation from them. They love it when I pull out their chair. More than once they have specifically thanked me. One mom in particular comes to mind. “My,” she blushed, brushing the sudden moisture from her eye, “it’s been a while since anyone did that.”
Has it been a while for you as well? People can be so rude. We snatch parking places. We forget names. We interrupt. We fail to show up. Could you use some courtesy? Has it been a while since someone pulled out your chair?
Then let Jesus. Don’t hurry through this thought. Receive the courtesy of Christ. He’s your groom. Does not the groom cherish the bride? Respect the bride? Honor the bride? Let Christ do what he longs to do.
For as you receive his love, you’ll find it easier to give yours. As you reflect on his courtesy to you, you’ll be likely to offer the same.
by Max Lucado
Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 (New Living Translation)
Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 (New International Version)
But don’t fool yourselves. Don’t let yourselves be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk. “Bad company ruins good manners.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 (The Message)
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord
with pure hearts.
2 Timothy 2:22 (New Living Translation)
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22 (New International Version)
Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God.
2 Timothy 2:22 (The Message)
Appetite is an incentive to work;
hunger makes you work all the harder.
Proverbs 16:26 (The Message)
The laborer’s appetite works for him;
his hunger drives him on.
Proverbs 16:26 (New International Version)
It is good for workers to have an appetite;
an empty stomach drives them on.
Proverbs 16:26 (New Living Translation)
When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.
Romans 1:12 (New Living Translation)
That is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Romans 1:12 (New International Version)
I so want to be there to deliver God’s gift in person and watch you grow stronger right before my eyes! But don’t think I’m not expecting to get something out of this, too! You have as much to give me as I do to you.
Romans 1:12 (The Message)
Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.
Titus 3:7 (New Living Translation)
So that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
Titus 3:7 (New International Version)
God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life!
Titus 3:7 (The Message)
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Even Jesus, when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, recoiled from what was ahead. He prayed, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Jesus, who was sinless and perfect and holy, was looking into the abyss of all the wicked things of this world and knew He would have to bear all that sin upon himself.
Sometimes it is possible for that so-called cup to pass. Sometimes God will answer our prayer in the affirmative and get us out of the situation we are in, like the disciples who cried out for help on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee, and Jesus calmed the storm. Or like the sick who were healed or the dead who were raised by Jesus.
When a crisis hits and we cry out to God, He often will change our circumstances. I have seen people in the most dire of circumstances have their situation turned around by the power of God. And I think we always should pray for this.
But there are also times when God says, “No, you have to go through it.” We might answer, “Never, Lord.” But ultimately we will have to say, “Yes, Lord.”
I have seen God work through the greatest tragedy of my life. And to be honest, if I could change my circumstances, I would change them and have my son Christopher back with us. But I don’t have that option.
So if we believe in the providence of God, then we know that He is in control of all things. We also know that He allows things for purposes that we will not necessarily understand. So our attitude needs to be, “Lord, I don’t like it. I don’t understand it. I don’t want it. But I will say, ‘Yes, Lord.’ ”
by Greg Laurie