Monday, September 21, 2020
Boast not in what you have done
Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?
Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?
As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up,
or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
One of the dangers in the Christian life is to take credit for what God does. This was the Assyrians’ problem. They were a weak nation until God chose to bless them in order to use them as an instrument to punish the Israelites. However, the more God blessed them, the more confident they became in their own strength. When the farmers had good crops, they credited their farming skills rather than God. When their army won a victory, their generals took the credit. When the nation experienced prosperity, the Assyrians attributed it to their military and political might. Finally, God pointed out the absurdity of their conclusions (Isa. 10:5–19).
It is sometimes easier to handle poverty or weakness than wealth or strength. Poverty causes us to recognize our need for God. Prosperity persuades us that we no longer require Him. Scripture holds several examples of those who assumed they were self-sufficient, only to realize their dire poverty. Samson was the strongest person alive, but he forgot that his strength came from God. Once God removed his strength, Samson was reduced to a pitiful slave. Saul was the first king of Israel; yet when God removed His Spirit from this proud monarch, he became a paranoid, petty man, seeking counsel from the occult. Be careful how you handle the success God gives you! As you enjoy His blessings in your family, your business, or your ministry, keep in mind that you are an instrument in the hands of the Master. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
Two things you who lead in Christian service ought not to do. One is take credit for what God has clearly done and the other is create 'visions' of where God is leading without consulting God.
Both have disastrous consequences.
Way too many examples exist in the Bible of people and people's, as in groups, that did just that. Look at the reasoning that the Lord Himself spells out with Gideon. Read of why there were so few used in the service of God. The people would think that it was them and not God who saved the day. Look at Samson. His arrogance blinded him to the real source of power in him. Look at others, Saul of the Old Testament. Look at the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Much is said of what happens to those who think too highly of themselves.
I will be the first to admit that which many of you probably think too. It feels good when you are recognized in your efforts. The part where it's different for believers is that it's no longer mankind that we are to seek out the "well done" it's found only in Christ. In Christ are we being made into the likeness of God. In Christ are we shedding the desires of this world and replacing them with what God desires.
Read Corinthians again in light of that thought.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."
Sometimes it takes a lifetime to realize the foolishness of how we have lived.
People on their deathbed really seeing how much they squandered life. They may be the ones who only then came to Christ and now are almost crushed in their souls due to only now seeing what might have been.
Live for Christ today. In word and deed. As it's written in Colossians 3, do all that you do as unto the Lord and not man. In all that we do it SHOULD be that way. For who, who is a child of God, really WANTS to disappoint Christ in their actions?
Solomon's wisdom wasn't enough to keep him pure before God. Huh?!? You say. He was the wisest man ever! Yes, he was, but he didn't walk in the ways he should have before God. The thousands of wives and concubines took him away from following Christ alone. His life with God started out so well when he first became King. Much as ours does. His wisdom made him no better than all of us. Obedience must accompany wisdom and knowledge.
Solomon had, quite frankly, too much time on his hands. The vast peace across the land of Israel and the world never prepared him for the ways of sinful living. Of how quietly and deeply sin entangles as Paul wrote in the New Testament. It follows the example that I have used before of a tree that seems to full and vibrant in carefree days is easily uprooted in times of a storm, all because it never had reason to go deep with its roots. It's the storms of life that prepare you for your next storm.
People are told to go live for the moment. Get what you want out of life in peaceful retirement. Spend money on all your pleasures. Spend money on your vanity. Live it up! Spend it on yourself.
Yet that is not what the Bible teaches.
We have the capability to justify everything we do. Even Christians.
As Paul was saying in my Bible reading today. Examine yourself. See if indeed you are in Christ. If you are, are you living for Jesus or yourself?