25 “As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’”
Acts 24:25 (NIV)
What makes your Top Ten list of topics you like to talk about? Do any of these make your list: weather, sports, politics, business, music, family, fashion, food? Would any of these get an entry -- God’s Word, righteousness, self-control, or coming judgment?
Those last four often made it for Paul. He was fearless and free to chat about these things. He knew they were crucial to insert in our conversations.
Like rockets, some subjects need to be launched. Like great athletes, they need to move. But, like Roman governor Felix, we also avoid putting topics like these four on the table.
Let’s take a closer look at why these four must rank with us:
RIGHTEOUSNESS: Talking about righteousness always exposes our need for it (and hopefully exalts Jesus as He should be exalted). It questions our blamelessness, exposes our need to be clean and forgiven, and sizes us up before God.
It can be an uncomfortable subject. But without properly addressing our need for personal righteousness, no one can enter heaven or see God. This need must be addressed, fought for, and won (Romans 3:10, 21-24; Matthew 5:8).
SELF-CONTROL: Emotional control (in the moment) and emotional stability (over the long haul) are two of the seven critical personality traits that mark elite athletes. God wants to bring all of us wins in this arena. We can’t do it well without Him.
Self-control marks the life of the Christian. His Spirit is committed to grow this in us (Galatians 5:22,23). So keep this dialogue up and encourage one another to get consistent wins here.
COMING JUDGMENT: God’s evaluation of us is real and inevitable. He will ask us what we’ve done with what He’s given us … starting with His Son. We are very wise to remind ourselves and others of this reality daily (Romans 3:19; Hebrews 9:27).
GOD’S WORD: You can’t authoritatively talk about righteousness, self-control and coming judgment without introducing the Bible into the mix. That Book will never pass away (Mark 13:31).
Its timeless truths must always get before us. Otherwise we will live according to the way the wind blows and the fickle thoughts of others.
Knowing what God says makes people confident, grounded, stable. His Word must find ways into our conversations daily … even with ourselves.
Getting back to the top: Like Paul, let’s find simple, caring ways to talk about righteousness, self-control and coming judgment with whomever, including ourselves.
And let’s not fear putting those topics on the table, no matter how we all react to them. God’s Word gives us authority and confidence to do so!
Reflect: Which topic needs more discussion and development in you: righteousness, self-control, coming judgment, God’s Word? What must you do to get this action going more prominently in you, through you?
A prayer to consider: Father in Heaven, help me to keep righteousness, self-control, and coming judgment in mind as I move through my day. These are things I need to talk about.
Jesus, you sure operated powerfully like this. May Your Spirit funnel me fearlessly, freely this same way. Amen.