Doing our Part

Ephesians 4:16   (KJV)   16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

There are no misfits in the body of Christ. God put us all together “perfectly.” We all have a part to play. We affect each other. How faithfully or unfaithfully we do our part Ephesians 4.16 - Doing Our Partdetermines whether or not we help each other grow in His love and likeness.

We serve others well; we serve others the best way we can. We don’t serve just for the sake of serving. This isn’t something we do just for the sake of fulfilling our obligation. If that’s the case, we would settle for the easiest ministry in the church. No; we pursue what we believe God has called us to. We seek out the best and greatest way we can serve the church—not for our own personal aggrandizement, enrichment, or popularity, but for the benefit of His children, His kingdom, His Name.

 

Blessed and Wise

1 Corinthians 15:10   (KJV)   10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

We’ve all failed God. We who have turned away from our sins, we who have placed our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation, we who have waived the white flag of surrender to His Lordship are saved and have become new creations—all because of His love, mercy and 1 Corinthians 15.10 - Blessed and Wisegrace. We all need Him if we are to be who we ought to be. We can’t reach our full potential and our beautiful destinies apart from our Maker, Sustainer, and Guide.

The abundance of blessings we receive from our extremely generous Father enables us to be who we need to be and do what we need to do.  We don’t get there passively; faith without works is dead, thus, unfruitful. We can choose to make wise use of all His gifts or we can waste them. God honors our efforts. As I often state, “For every step we take, God takes a million.” That sounds like an exaggeration, yet for all we know, it may actually be very conservative.

We honor our incomparably generous Lord with our faithfulness. How faithfully or unfaithfully we use His gifts to us shows how grateful and appreciative we are to Him—or not. We are grateful—eternally grateful. We understand that His blessings will continue to flow even in paradise. That’s why despite all the seemingly unpleasant treatments we receive for being a believer, we are steadfast in our faith, and we willingly and enthusiastically labour in the Lord as He works faithfully and strongly in and through us.

Spheres of Christian Existence

Luke 2:39   (KJV)   39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.

We as believers live in variety of spheres: there’s the personal, the familial, the ecclesiastical, and the vocational, professional, or social. The most important is our personal relationship with God. This is our utmost priority. Next responsibility we have is luke-2-39-spheres-of-christian-existenceour family. This doesn’t take precedence over our relationship with God, but we don’t neglect this. The next is our ministry. This doesn’t take priority over our relationship with God and our family, but we serve our spiritual family and serve in the church. Next is the world around us. This doesn’t take priority over our relationship with God, etc., but we reach out to them and serve them.

There have been quite a few times when I met different people who were very vocal about their spirituality and their knowledge about the Bible. But when I asked them about their spiritual families (their local churches in particular), they told me that they don’t attend church. I’ve also met people who told me that their family is their church. I remember reaching out to a pastor friend of mine because not only has he stopped living out his calling, he and his entire family even stopped attending church. When I encouraged him to keep “pursuing” his call, he told me that he is pastoring—he’s pastoring his family. I explained to him that yes, we do “pastor” our families—they’re our responsibilities—the familial sphere, but he still had to serve in the context of being a part of the body of Christ. Sad to say, he didn’t change. By the time of this writing, it breaks my heart that his children are still lost.

Different spheres, different responsibilities, proper priorities. God gives us time for all of them. We’re not accountable for what we don’t have. We have twenty four hours a day, seven days a week; we juggle through all our complex schedules and indispensable responsibilities. We don’t neglect any of them. With the right priorities, proper balance, and good time management, we enjoy life to the fullest, yet relaxed and rested. We’re not stressed; we love life; people enjoy our presence; God’s pleased. Thank You Lord for a wonderful life.

Glorying in the Cross

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Galatians 6:14   (KJV)   14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

We exalt Jesus alone—not another person, not a group, not a denomination, not even ourselves. Whatever accomplishments we have: spiritual, educational, societal, or anything else—we count all of them as trash compared to what our precious Lord Jesus has accomplished. So yes, if there’s someone and something to be proud of, it’s the Lord and His loving sacrifice on the cross for our salvation. He’s the One we adore, praise, and worship.

This doesn’t mean that we got rid of righteous and godly living. I can’t overemphasize this: there’s no conflict and competition between the Gospel—the cross—and holiness. We’re not saved by our own good works, but we’re saved unto good works. They do come together. Our positional righteousness and practical righteousness don’t have a kind of disconnect; one is in a perfect state of Christ-like righteousness; the other is in a progressive state and journey towards it.

Yes, we glory in the cross. With that, we also know that it’s through that cross—that accomplishment of our dear Lord that we’ve been transformed. The world has lost its appeal to us. Our interest in this world is now rendered dead—crucified, and we’re no longer appealing to the world either. We smell like poison to them. Through what Jesus has done, we now have the Holy Spirit leading us so that we no longer plant towards our sinful desires. We don’t engage in immorality, impurity, lusts, pride, and other sins. We’re confident in Him, we live to please His Holy Spirit. We reap eternal life and not death. His Kingdom is our inheritance.

 

Rest

Luke 23:56   (KJV)   56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Rest is needed; it’s not negotiable; it’s a must. Even if our work has to do with the Kingdom of God, there comes a time when we need to pack-up, drop what we do and wait. luke-23-56-resRest is obedience to God. Some of us feel guilty when we’re not doing anything, but giving our bodies and mind a break is godly. God want us to work; He also wants us to rest. He sees wisdom in ceasing from our daily routine and having some kind of recharging. His invitation still stands: “Come to Me, those of you who are tired and weary and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” He commands us to rest; His arms are extended; it’s there we go and let go.

There are people who take extended rest periods; this is not right either; laziness is never condoned by God. But there are people who are just overworked; some of them are workaholics—they seem to really love and enjoy working; they seem to get energized when they work; some of them just work out of “necessity.” Truth be told, many work more hours than needed to provide for excesses and live up to the standard of success defined by society.

Yes, there are hardships in life, but many of them may be self-inflicted. There are those who work so hard to enjoy life, but they don’t really get to enjoy it as much because they spend so much time working. They’re missing out on way more important things in life. There is a time to stop, to unwind, to re-energize. There is a time to be repeatedly and regularly reminded of the pre-eminence of God and His faithfulness to us. He provides all our needs according to His riches in glory. He doesn’t need us to over-extend ourselves for Him to fulfill His promise. Yes, we have projects to finish, but there’s always another day; we don’t push it when we don’t need to. Yes, we have deadlines, but instead of violating our much needed “rest-recovery-recoup-refocus-dedicated to honoring God” day, we kick back, relax, and enjoy our day with the Lord.

Well Rested

Psalm 127:2   (KJV)   2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

How many people lack sleep because they’re trying their best to earn more so that they have more security for their future and their family’s future? We probably know not just some, but many. This ought to not be so. God wants us to have enough sleep. He wants us to rest. Our provision and prosperity comes from Him. He’s the One Who gives us the power to get wealth. The fruitfulness of our labor is ultimately ordered by Him.

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God wants us to have rest. Let me clarify: He doesn’t want us lazy, complacent, or mediocre; He wants us to live excellently, committed, devoted, loyal, diligent, and industrious, but He doesn’t want us killing ourselves with work. Those who do are doing more than God intends them to. He wants us to enjoy life. But some may say, “I enjoy my work;” that may be true, but God also loves His people; He loves His body; He loves His temple, and we are His temple. He’s a good God; He’s a good Father; He invites us to come to Him—all of us who are tired and are heavily burdened, and He gives us rest. Yes, of all the kinds of rest, our spiritual rest is of utmost importance, but His invitation does cover our entire being.

There is a time for everything, meaning: there’s a time to work, and a time to rest; there’s a time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. And enjoying it, we do, not just for a very short time between two or three jobs, but sufficient time to rest. We’re not consumed by worry and anxiety thinking about possibility of lack. No…The Lord is our Shepherd; we have everything we need. We work hard; we get enough sleep, enjoying time and fellowship with our heavenly Dad before we finally retire for the day. We wake up—with praises in our hearts, mind, and lips. And we start our day spending wonderful time of fellowship with Dad again. We work; we play; we pray; we retire—always with peace, knowing that as we faithfully take care of Dad’s gifts to us: eternal and temporal, our Dad sees to it that everything’s well with us.

Journey Under God

Revelation 2.19 - Journey Under God - 2Revelation 2:19   (KJV)   19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

Three things to note: 1. God’s totally aware of everything we are, everything we do, everything we undergo; 2. Our works, love, service, faith, and patience are important to God; 3. Our continual growth matters much to Him.

Knowing that God watches over us brings a very comforting assurance that whatever we’re going through, God sees and He’s always readily available to come and help us. Knowing what’s important to Him gives us a road map for our temporal journey here on earth; we’re not lost and we don’t have to be. So we walk in full confidence, willing to take on our tasks head on, loving God with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength, loving our neighbors as ourselves, willingly and humbly serving God and others so that God’s Kingdom will continue growing deeper, stronger and bigger. We stand steadfast in our faith, proclaiming it, defending it. Although it takes time, and the fruits of our labor don’t come quickly and easily, we are willing to wait and persevere. And we’re always abounding in our labor for God knowing that none of it is in vain.

We don’t stop, and we won’t stop. God hasn’t and won’t. He never gives up on us. He’s still working in us. God has bought us where we are, but this is not all God has for us. There’s still so much more in store. So we continue, looking forward to an ever-increasing glory to glory change. God won’t fail. We won’t fail Him.