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Posts Tagged ‘faithfulness’

Confidence through the Lord

March 7th, 2017

I have confidence in you through the Lord… (Galatians 5:10 KJV)

Our confidence in one another is not based on what is in us, but rather it rests upon God and trusts in His work of redemption in us.

There are some people whom we feel we can trust because of their upbringing, or on the basis of how their character has revealed itself. They have kept their word, have done the right thing even when it was difficult, and have served the Lord sacrificially. All of these things reveal a mature character.

Yet our hope and confidence in one another should have another force behind them – the work of God. We should not trust another person’s conscience as much as we trust the Holy Spirit who will bring conviction to their conscience, and not only conviction but regeneration, newness of life, and the character of Christ. As good as our upbringing has been, as well as we have been taught, mentored, and instructed, as sacrificially as we have served and as hard as we have been tried, none of these experiences and influences is to compare with the work of God in our lives.

What we admire in others should not be merely of human origin, but it is the evidence of the work of God. The supreme traits of the Christian’s life should be dependence upon and surrender to the Lord for Him to complete His work of transformation. Though we may be grateful for the good human influences in lives, behind them all and over them all stands the presence of God, the voice of His Spirit, and the leadership of the Lord Jesus.

We can also say this about ourselves – as individuals and as Christian communities. We have confidence in us, you have confidence in you, and I have confidence in me, because of the work of the Lord. Has God called you to do something that has frightened you? There is something honest about self-doubts, and we ought not to aspire, merely out of personal desire, to “be masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation” (James 3:1 KJV). The modern translations see this as a warning not to aspire to be “teachers” just for the sake of the position, because God will hold teachers to a greater level of accountability. But it is a principle for all of the work of God.

The job should seek the man, and not the man the job. The position should seek the person, and not the person the position. We are repeatedly warned against the dangers of selfish ambition in the church (1 Peter 5:2-3, Jas. 3.16 and Jer. 45:4-5), and advised to seek experienced and proven leaders (1 Tim. 3:6,13).

Yet, neither should we let fear prevent us from serving the Lord where and how He calls us. Our confidence is not in ourselves but in the grace and power of God. Whatever God calls us to do He will enable us to do. Wherever God calls us to stand for Christ, He will enable us to stand for Christ. However God calls us to serve, He will enable us to serve and remain faithful to Him.

Christ said that as the Father has sent Him, “Even so send I you” (John 20:21). He will enable us to stand. Our job is to learn to depend on Him.

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for Me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O’er wand’ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung’ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.

So send I you to leave your life’s ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,
To spend, tho’ it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary. (“So Send I You” by Margaret Clarkson, 1954)

Daily Devotions , , ,

The Touchstone of Character

January 16th, 2017

Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them. (Genesis 26:18 NIV)

I cannot recall who opened my mind to the significance of this seemingly random verse in the Holy Book, but it speaks to us all because it deals with what we all most often do – spend time doing tedious work. To Abraham was given the call to live by faith in the spotlight of God’s calling, and, oh, we all want to be there. But to Isaac his son was given the call to do the tedious and simple things.

Nothing so characterizes the nature of his life as this verse above of him having to reopen the wells his father had originally dug. And even Isaac’s son, Jacob, outshone him, and became the father of twelve tribes. But to Isaac was given an important assignment all the same.

“Drudgery is the touchstone of character”

We want to receive honor and privilege, wealth and power, and we imagine that those who have such things are truly great people. But that is merely a worldly view of things; heaven’s view is quite the opposite. Heaven looks for character, not material wealth. Oswald Chamber wrote:

We are not meant to be illuminated versions, but the common stuff of ordinary life exhibiting the marvel of the grace of God. Drudgery is the touchstone of character. The great hindrance in spiritual life is that we will look for big things to do. “Jesus…took a towel,…and began to wash the disciples’ feet.”

We tend to mistakenly think that our gifts and our opportunities are signs that God loves us, but this is wrong thinking. Our gifts are signs that He desires to love others through us. The cross is His sign that He loves us. Our opportunities are things He gives us that we might do for Him, not for ourselves, and not for our credit or glory.

It is the motive of our hearts that God examines to determine rewards, not the opportunity. Strive to be like the two-talent servant (Matt. 25:22-23), who did not complain, who did not compare, but set about his master’s business as best he could. The commendation was no different than for the five-talent servant: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:23)

Do what God puts before you to do, the needs and opportunities He places on your heart, and do it in the power that He provides. To you has been entrusted a great mission, even if it is re-opening stopped up wells.

Authenticity in the Faith , ,