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A More Excellent Way

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A More Excellent Way

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In your wallet or purse, you may have a credit or debit card with an integrated circuit chip embedded in its face. This smart card is like a mini-computer, storing thousands of bytes of data.

Credit and debit card companies are migrating to this technology instead of older magnetic strip cards. This upgrade is due to the growing problem of credit card fraud and identity theft. Smart cards have been used in Europe for many years and provide better data security.

Smart microchip technology is also used in smartphones in the form of SIM cards—Subscriber Identity Module. SIM cards store a user’s data and make it possible for the phone to connect to the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM).

The smart card was invented in Paris by Roland Moreno in 1975. Although Moreno was little known internationally, he was considered a national hero in France. In 2009 he was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest order of merit. Just how significant was Moreno’s innovation? Following his death in April 2012, The Guardian wrote in an obituary that the smart card had “touched almost everyone on the planet.”

In an infinitely greater way, God has developed and is offering an unparalleled spiritual advancement that will impact everyone on the planet.

An exceptionally better approach

Just like Moreno was unsatisfied with the state of cyber security and invented the smart card, God is not pleased with how human beings live their lives. He offers an exceptionally better method. The apostle Paul wrote, “I will show you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31 1 Corinthians 12:31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
American King James Version×
). It is “more excellent” because it is God’s own “perfect way” to live (2 Samuel 22:31 2 Samuel 22:31As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
American King James Version×
). It is all about obeying the “royal law” of love toward God and neighbor, as compared to self-centered behavior (Matthew 22:37-40 Matthew 22:37-40 [37] Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
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).

Although God has not made His splendid way of life known to all people yet, He is inviting some individuals in this age to practice it (1 Corinthians 1:26 1 Corinthians 1:26For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
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; 1 Peter 2:9-10 1 Peter 2:9-10 [9] But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
American King James Version×
). They are to grow in spiritual character and zealously support the mission of proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ and the coming Kingdom of God as a witness to the world (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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).

Indeed, God may be calling you right now to become a vital part of His spiritual family on earth, which scripture describes as “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy 3:15 1 Timothy 3:15But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
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). If so, Paul tells you to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 Romans 12:2And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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).

But pursuing this “perfect” way of true Christian love in a society that is fundamentally in rebellion against God can be demanding. Stephen was killed for his poignant address to the council and high priest of his time (Acts 7:51-52 Acts 7:51-52 [51] You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which showed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom you have been now the betrayers and murderers:
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). Jesus Christ—who was utterly without sin—was despised, persecuted and killed (1 John 3:5 1 John 3:5And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
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, Isaiah 53:3-9 Isaiah 53:3-9 [3] He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. [4] Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. [5] But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. [7] He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. [8] He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. [9] And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
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). Not only did people who “loved darkness rather than light” have contempt for Him as a troublemaking eccentric, they also loathed His disciples (John 3:19 John 3:19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
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, Matthew 10:22 Matthew 10:22And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved.
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).

A way that is beyond comparison

Jesus’ approach to living was entirely different from self-centered, humanly-conceived philosophies and ideas. He didn’t conform to man’s culture, traditions and methods (Mark 7:5-8 Mark 7:5-8 [5] Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not your disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands? [6] He answered and said to them, Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do.
American King James Version×
). He “walked to the beat of a different drummer” and “defied conventional wisdom.” In all His teachings, and by His personal example of love for God and neighbor, He illustrated “a far better way” (1 Corinthians 12:31 1 Corinthians 12:31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
American King James Version×
, The Message).

God may be calling you right now to become a vital part of His spiritual family on earth.

Jesus taught His Father’s righteous and abundant way of life (John 10:10 John 10:10The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
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) in the face of the selfish, duplicitous methods of a society influenced by dark, demonic forces. He made it plain to everyone who would listen that He personally represented a superior way forward when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
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). So, if you desire to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, you need to exert yourself, with God’s divine help, to live His “more excellent way.” And you must reject flawed, humanly-generated concepts and behaviors (Colossians 1:10 Colossians 1:10 That you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
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).

How can you accomplish this vital, yet challenging responsibility? It is helpful to review biblical examples of God’s servants who gave themselves as instruments “to do what is right for the glory of God” (Romans 6:13 Romans 6:13Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin: but yield yourselves to God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.
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, NLT). These men and women are models of God’s exceptional way of life. Let’s briefly review some lesser-known but highly notable New Testament personalities.

Examples of living a more excellent way

Barsabas. Following Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension in the clouds to heaven, the 11 apostles met to select a man out of the 120 disciples to fill the apostleship left by Judas Iscariot. They decided there were two qualifications a candidate had to have. He had to have been a devoted follower of Jesus and had to have been an eyewitness of Christ’s ascension to heaven. The candidates they selected were Barsabas and Matthias (Acts 1:20-26 Acts 1:20-26 [20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his position as bishop let another take. [21] Why of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, [22] Beginning from the baptism of John, to that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. [23] And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. [24] And they prayed, and said, You, Lord, which know the hearts of all men, show whether of these two you have chosen, [25] That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. [26] And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell on Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
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).

Although Barsabas was not chosen, just the fact that he had been a nominee for such an important responsibility is testimony to his longterm faithfulness as Jesus’ disciple. Barsabas was one who pursued God’s “more excellent way.” 

Gaius. The apostle John expressed the following about a highly dedicated and respected Christian disciple: “The Elder, to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth: beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth” (3 John 3-4).

Not only did Gaius faithfully serve local brethren, he was hospitable to guests (verse 5). He becomes an example of one who faithfully served in “giving glory of God” and following His “way of life which transcends all others” (1 Corinthians 12:31 1 Corinthians 12:31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
American King James Version×
, Weymouth New Testament).

Lois and Eunice. After Paul was imprisoned at Rome in about 60 A.D., he wrote a second letter to his faithful companion Timothy. Paul applauded him for his knowledge of the scriptures and his extraordinary faith which was first demonstrated in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:4-5 2 Timothy 1:4-5 [4] Greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy; [5] When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in you, which dwelled first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in you also.
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).

As devout Jewish individuals living in Lystra, which is now part of present-day Turkey, Lois and Eunice were converted to Christianity most likely following Paul’s first visit to that city. Certainly their sincere Jewish faith and broad knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures prepared them to respond to Paul’s words about Jesus Christ.

When Lois and Eunice were called by God into His Church they gladly chose to follow a much better way of life than what they had previously known. As a result of their training of Timothy, they have been noted in biblical history as outstanding women of faith who abided in “a way of more surpassing excellence” (1 Corinthians 12:31 1 Corinthians 12:31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
American King James Version×
, Darby Bible Translation).

These faithful disciples responded with sustained vigor and obedience to God’s calling (Hebrews 3:1 Hebrews 3:1Why, holy brothers, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
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; Hebrews 4:14). They grasped Christ’s manner of service and sacrifice and how He opposed humanity’s deficient, selfish attitudes and practices. Plus, they followed Jesus’ perfect example of demonstrating the loving fruit of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
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).

Love personifies God’s manner of living

So, what can you do to pursue and manifest God’s “way of life that is best of all” (1 Corinthians 12:31 1 Corinthians 12:31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation)? It can perhaps be chiefly expressed in this passage: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:12 Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering;
American King James Version×
, NIV).

Our inner selves must be clothed in godly love (Ephesians 5:2 Ephesians 5:2And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling smell.
American King James Version×
). Love is the adhesive that fastens all other God-ordained qualities together. It personifies God’s perfect way of life (1 Corinthians 13:13 1 Corinthians 13:13And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
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). We must all diligently pursue it while being extremely careful not to be corrupted by society’s ways (John 15:19 John 15:19If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
American King James Version×
; John 17:15).

From smart card to God’s way

When Roland Moreno invented the smart card, he offered a better way—a more effective technological approach to electronic financial transactions and cyber security. In an infinitely greater manner, the Eternal Creator offers you a way of life “that is beyond comparison” (1 Corinthians 12:31 1 Corinthians 12:31But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I to you a more excellent way.
American King James Version×
, Berean Study Bible).

Although He is now calling only a few people into His Church to grow in character and support the vibrant mission of preaching the gospel, He is preparing to ultimately change the lives of everyone on the planet. This will begin when Jesus Christ comes to earth a second time to set up the government of God and to rule and educate all people in His Father’s righteousness. At that time, everyone will have an opportunity to participate in God’s magnificent way of life. But for now, those who God is inviting to be part of His Church must emulate Jesus Christ’s example by living diligently in obedience to the royal law of love.

So, what are you doing personally right now in responding to God’s wonderful calling to pursue His “more excellent way?”

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