Friday, December 15, 2023
Having Something Left
Having Something Left
by David Brenneman
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58.
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17.
We do a lot of things that are certainly in vain. They don't last. They aren't valuable in light of eternity. They matter not to much of anything except to create a possible memory. When we are before Jesus, giving an account of our lives, it will be these things that will be burned away as chaff, having done nothing to bring glory to God.
Our work in the Lord is what's not in vain, as Paul wrote. It's what will matter on the day we stand before Jesus.
Our desires and our responses to the work of the Spirit of God in us impact that day. We can put our fears and our desires as of first importance rather than the Word of God. We will indeed convince ourselves of things as truth, deciding already to not look them up in God's word to see if they are so.
We do this because we so underestimate the sin nature within us. We can justify just about anything because of our sin nature. We can ignore just about any gentle prompting of the Spirit because of our sin nature. It compounds as well. The more we choose to believe apart from the truth of God's word, the less we'll challenge what we are being taught by the world or understand with our own minds.
Will it's entirely true that which the Bible says of deceiver's being in the world, pay attention to the things that Paul wrote of how many times it can and does began within the Church. The only absolute truths come from the Word of God, not the choices or decisions of mankind. A Pastor or group of Elders or whatever makes up a churches leadership does not come before the Word of God. It doesn't take much to see some so-called churches that are in error when they are compared to the truth of God's word.
Take an objective look at your own life. Would you at all see evidence that you've been taking up your own cross each day and are following Jesus? Do you see those in need and decide they aren't worth your time? That it would cost you too much time, energy, effort or money? Do you hear of those in need and just maybe shake your head and only think "that's sad" and do nothing? Do you dismiss opportunities that present themselves to you because it would ruin your plans?
These kinds of questions and many others will reveal the real truth: who is on the Throne of your heart.
It's been an eye-opener to really consider the Good Samaritan. Compare it, my Dear Reader, to Jesus's description of the Good Shepherd. See how these compare to denying self and taking up our own cross and following Jesus. The Good Samaritan, like the Good Shepherd, put the needs of others above their own discomfort. Above their own desires and will for themselves.
What I also find interesting is the responses from those who DID do the work of God, and when commended by Jesus, were oblivious to the fact that they got it right.
"Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’ Matthew 25:34-40.
A way to possibly look at this is what Jesus said "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. The work of the Father isn't burdensome. We might not even realize it's work. Might not look like work, feel like work.
We are to be intentional about building our relationship with Jesus. Moreover, this relationship is to be chief above all others. The Berean Church as written by Paul, would examine the Scriptures daily to see if what they were being told was so. The Scriptures were their defining standard, not other people's opinions.
While we are in that same boat of probably not recognizing that we're in the middle of doing the Father’s business here, we should in fact be actively pursuing that. So what if we don't go to this place or that. Experience this or that. Would you rather be the one disappointed rather than Jesus being disappointed?
Our lives are to have the fingerprints of God all over them. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus. Molded and sculpted into the image of His Son through the Spirit's work of sanctification.
There are plenty of examples in the lives of celebrities where they confess the truths of God's word without referencing it. That the achieved most every desire of their hearts, own everything their hearts desired...and wound up alone tired and empty.
A life where self is at the center will be empty at its end.
Jesus took your place on the judgment cross. Do you live as though that's true?
Jesus took everything sinful about you upon Himself. Does the realization of that mean anything to you?
It should be life altering.
When our lives are burned away...when your life is burned away...will there be anything left to honor Jesus with?
If we believe that indeed we are bought with a price, the shed blood of Jesus Christ, do we live it?
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.