Devotions

Author Archives: Matt Hatton

October 28th

I accepted Jesus at a young age. My parents always made me go to church when I was younger (which I’m now grateful for), where my Sunday school teachers and small group leaders would tell us about heaven, hell, and Jesus coming to die for our sins. As a child, I knew that I was a sinner, that I had disobeyed God, and that I was going to hell because of my sin. My response to that understanding was to ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins so I would not have to go to hell and face the punishment that I fully deserved.  I remember being ten years old and praying alongside my Sunday school teacher for God to forgive me of my sins and to save me from hell. The years went on and I never really wanted to go to church, I never cared nor knew what it meant to further Gospel, I never lived life with an eternal perspective, but I still called myself a Christian. I knew who Jesus was, I knew that God sent Him to die on the cross for my sin, and I knew I needed to believe that and trust in that to be saved… but where was the passion? Where was the yearning to live my life entirely for the Cause of Christ? I knew Jesus but did I really know what it meant to LIVE my life for Him?!?!

Winter camp, when I was sixteen years of age was a huge turning point in my walk with Jesus. Spending time in prayer, listening to preaching and teaching, and being in God’s Word during that weekend and the weeks to follow became a forming point in my life. I felt the conviction to take God’s Word to all the earth, a passion to not waste my life, and live sold out for Him began to grow inside of me like never before.  Reading the Bible and listening to God’s Word became the center of EVERYTHING that I pursued in life!

That moment/time in my life was like many others that followed to help shape and mold me into the follower of Christ that I am today. The good experiences in my life as well as the most horrific of moments, God has used to sanctify and build me into the man that He wants me to be!

Every one of us is different, and each has his or her own story. Christ saved me in my youth; I give Him all the glory! No matter your background, good, bad, or ugly, our lives are now God’s. The stories we have written, and the ones that we have yet to write should be told with Jesus at the center!

1 Corinthians 10:31says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.”

 

Matthew Hatton
Student Ministries Director

ALL to the Glory of God

The reason for using our Christian freedom carefully and selflessly is none other than to glorify God. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “so, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” When Paul is talking about eating and drinking, he is referring to the food and drink offered to idols while at the same time implying that the most routine, ordinary tasks, like eating and drinking, should be done to make much of the Lord. Our entire lives should be focused on the purpose of bringing honor and Glory to an awesome God!

Our lives can be lived in one of two ways. Either we honor God with our lives or we dishonor God with our lives. John MacArthur states in his commentary on 1 Corinthians that “God is dishonored when anyone sins, but He is especially dishonored when His own people sin… In the same way God is especially honored and glorified when His people are faithful and obedient.” If our freedom in Christ causes us to sin, or anyone else to sin in any way, then God is especially dishonored. If we prevent a brother or sister to bring less glory to God by doing something that is “lawful,” then we become disobedient and dishonoring to God. If we prevent an unbeliever from coming to know Christ with our freedom, then we are dishonoring God! In verse 32 Gods word continues, “Give no offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God.” This includes all of humanity whether they know Jesus or they do not!

“Give no offense” is echoed in Philippians 1:10-11, “so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” If our freedom creates offense, impurity, and blame, then God is not glorified or praised! Does the use of our Christian freedom in ALL areas of life glorify God? Do they take away from the glory of God? So, whether we are at work, school, home, church, in the presence of believers or unbelievers, eating, drinking, brushing our teeth, attending the Lion’s game, or whatever we are doing, let us do ALL things to the glory of God!

 

Matt Hatton
Student Ministries Director

Does My Freedom Look Out for the Interest of Others?

When seeking to do “all things” in expressing our Christian freedoms, it is very important that whatever it is that we are doing does not cause us to sin in any way and at the same time creates spiritual growth and advancement of the Gospel in our own lives. The next standard that Paul writes of is found in verses 24-30, “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, ‘This has been offered in sacrifice,’ then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience— I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience?  If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?”  Does what you are doing affect those around you?

Does an unbeliever turn even more away from God and want nothing to do with it because of something that you said, did, or even allowed to happen? Have you offended an unbeliever or even another believer with your Christian “freedoms?”

When you are acting upon your Christian freedoms, does it cause your brothers or sisters in Christ to sin? Does it make them uncomfortable in the slightest? If so, then we should not act upon those certain freedoms. There should be no excuse or loopholes that we try to work our way through and around. “Well it’s their fault they were looking at me and has nothing to do with what I’m wearing” or “they’re the one who should be putting up safeguards for themselves, I shouldn’t have to for them.” If you find yourself saying or thinking that sort of thing, then you are without a doubt not being edifying or God honoring with your Christian freedom.

The Bible says in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” It is important to make sure we do not lead others into sin, but what we do and say should also cause them to grow! Often our problem is not that we are unaware of right from wrong or beneficial from hurtful, but the problem is selfishness from selflessness. We know when we should or should not do something; instead, we often do what we want no matter what because that is all we care about! I will end with this, 1 Corinthians 10:33, “not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” Are you looking out for your own good or the good of others with your freedom?

 

Matt Hatton
Student Ministries Director

Does it Cause You to Grow?

As followers of Jesus, we are commanded to do everything to the glory of God! In 1 Corinthians 10:31 God’s Word directs us, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This command seems elementary at first glance; however, the way we live proves otherwise. Many areas in the Christian life make it hard to “do all to the glory of God.”  One of those areas is addressed here in 1 Corinthians 10. One of those areas is the controversial topic of Christian “freedom!” What am I supposed to do about the things that are not specifically addressed in the Bible?  Are they right? Are they wrong? This church or pastor says it is right while this other church or pastor says it is wrong. What should I do?

If there is no definitive answer to the question of what is right or wrong because our answer is based upon the one who is answering the question, then we may need to ask some new questions when it comes to the area of Christian freedom. In verse 23 Paul writes, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up.” When Paul says “All Things,” he is referring to all things that are not covered in the Bible as being permissible. What do we do when nothing is written down?

Instead of asking, “am I allowed to do this,” ask if it is “beneficial or edifying,” Is what I’m doing, having a drink, smoking, watching a certain movie, wearing certain types of clothes, talking a certain way, or going to the Lion’s game, going to be beneficial or edifying? Does my activity/behavior cause spiritual advance or growth in my own life? Does it help me to grow and others be drawn to Christ? (Note: You may have another issue altogether if you enjoy going to a Lion’s game just to watch them lose.)

Does whatever you freely choose to do cause you to stumble in any way? Have you been led to sin because of the movie you were watching or because of the people you were hanging out with? Maybe it has not torn you down or caused you to sin, but maybe it has not caused spiritual advancement either. Does said behavior/activity cause you to grow? Do you love Jesus more because of it? Do you seek and want to know more about God and His kingdom as a result? ALL things are lawful, but not always helpful.

 

Matt Hatton
Student Ministries Director



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