If You Do Not Like to Pay Taxes
People grumble. They may put off paying until the last minute. They even pay to find ways to avoid paying so much.
But have you heard anyone grumble when the highways are repaired? Or when criminals are arrested?
How easily we forget all the benefits we receive as the authorities dedicate themselves to their work of governing our nation. And how easily we criticize them for their faults while we justify our own.
Jesus was once asked about paying taxes. It was a trick question, designed to get Him in trouble with the law if He said no and with His people if He said yes.
The Roman authorities were not compassionate. They were foreigners who had conquered and oppressed the Jewish nation. What was Jesus' reply?
"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21).
What should we give to Caesar (our authorities)?
We owe them our respect for the position they hold, even though their personal lives may disappoint us.
We owe them our obedience to their laws when there is no conflict with God's higher laws (Romans 13:7; Acts 5:29).
We owe them our taxes, even when it is hard to make ends meet. Evading the payment of taxes is a form of stealing, and no thief will enter God's heavenly kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10).
Payment of taxes to our government is only one side of our duty, however. Jesus reminds us we owe something to God as well.
What do we owe the King of the universe?
We owe Him a portion of our week, one day in seven, to rest and to worship Him (Exodus 20:9-11).
We owe Him a portion of our income, a minimum of one dollar of every ten (Malachi 3:8-10). He is the Owner; we are mere stewards.
We owe Him our loving obedience. Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength" (Mark 12:30).
Is it possible you are robbing God? He has done so much for us. He has given us so much. Are we giving Him what He deserves?
The fact that He does not send you a yearly notice of taxes due for services rendered does not mean your account is up-to-date.
"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). One day we must each appear personally before the Judge of the universe to review our accounts.
We are careful to pay our government. Should we not be even more careful with our Creator?
If You Do Not Know Jesus
Sometimes it would seem people try to use Jesus as a sort of tool or commodity for personal advantage.
By identifying with Him at the right time, they manage to gain favor with certain people. By saying certain words "in His name," they manage to feel better about bad things they have done (though they would do them again if they had the chance).
But if we are to actually place our faith in Jesus, we must be aware of who He is, or we are in for a great surprise.
The right understanding of Jesus will erase all attempts to put Him at our disposal. Rather, we will see we are at His disposal. He is not beneath us or equal to us but above us.
Jesus is the Son of God. He was born as the Son of God. He lived as the Son of God. He died as the Son of God. He rose from the dead as the Son of God.
John, one of Jesus' disciples, put it this way: "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (1 John 4:14, 15).
Jesus was God in human form. This deity of Jesus is important to our understanding for two reasons.
First, Jesus being God's Son means that our faith in Him will be secure. We have reason to trust Him. We will not be let down by Him. All He has promised He is capable and willing to accomplish in us. He is faithful.
Second, Jesus being God's Son means that our faith in Him must be thorough. We accept Him as One whom we do not challenge or disregard or disobey. He is Lord.
Jesus is not some impersonal force to be used to our advantage. He is not a washcloth to clean us up so we can go out and play in the mud again.
Jesus is a Person. He is God's Son whom we receive to our advantage, yes; to our cleansing, yes; but beyond that to companionship and Lordship.
He walks with us as our Guide, our Leader, our loving Lord. Do you know Him?
"And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:3, 4).
HEAR Christ's Invitation. ANCHOR Your Life in Christ. ENJOY New Life in Him. CONTINUE Following Christ.
IF YOU ARE TIRED OF A LIFE OF SIN
ACKNOWLEDGE Your Condition Before God.
"For I know that in me . . . dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18).
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6).
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
"Repent ye therefore . . . that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19).
"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9).
"He brought me up . . . out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings" (Psalm 40:2).
"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
"Neither yield ye your members as instruments . . . unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God" (Romans 6:13a).
"If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed" (John 8:31b).
HEAR Christ's Invitation.
ANCHOR Your Life in Christ.
ENJOY New Life in Him.
CONTINUE Following Christ.
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