Worthy of this Calling

March 25, 2014

Worthy of this Calling

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I would like for us to be very real and practical today as we consider our calling in Christ Jesus. We often try and talk spiritual and be spiritual around what we consider spiritual people or environments, but what is every day life like for us? How does our real faith play out in the everyday activities of our lives? In the light of that, many of us may not feel too spiritual. We may see ourselves getting angry, losing patience, arguing with the kids and the spouse. A lot of times we see some pretty unattractive words and attitudes demonstrated in our lives. Nothing we could really take much pride in as far as being spiritual or glorifying the Lord. We may get pretty down on ourselves in the light of our many shortcomings and feel there is really no hope that I could be anything in Christ. “Look what a mess I am and how totally unchristian I can act.” Most of us can have those “flesh days” when we are just a mess spiritually. Our spiritual enemy preys on our vulnerabilities. I believe situations are often set up by the enemy, just to push our buttons and lead us off into unspiritual actions and attitudes. You may have really felt that you were drawing close to the Lord and then you are attacked in the areas of your vulnerabilities. You are tempted in the areas of your greatest weaknesses. As much as you don’t want too, perhaps you fail and stumble again in those areas where you thought you were experiencing victory. What follows is nothing less than a barrage of condemnation and discouragement as the devil condemns you for your failures. Perhaps he even uses those around you to assist in heaping on you the condemnation and failure you already feel. With feelings of shame, disgrace, added failure and guilt we become discouraged. We think, “Why am I trying to be something I can never be?” Exactly the state of mind the enemy wants to bring us too.
Realistically our lives are a never-ending struggle of flesh and spirit. We hear about who we are and who we should be in Christ, but then we struggle to live our faith in Christ, often with feelings of being so unsuccessful. These are the reasons why we often grow weary, discouraged and want to just give up. You know what? We all have these feelings, discouragement, and setbacks. Our God is not just writing us off because we do, but He does want to use them to allow us to recognize our weakness, so that we may better lay hold of His strength. The Word tells us that the efforts of the flesh can never produce the righteousness of God. That is why religion is so futile. It is our attempt at finding and pleasing God in our own works.
We find in life that we are most influenced by those we associate ourselves with. If we hang around a worldly and ungodly crowd, it is not long before we find our own actions and attitudes becoming more and more conformed to theirs. It is that same old principle of sowing and reaping. What we are sowing into our lives is what we are reaping in our attitudes and actions. Hosea 10:2 tells us, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for [it is] time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” Galatians 5:25 tells us, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” While we will have those times where we will experience failure and discouragement we must stubbornly and uncompromisingly not relinquish who we know ourselves to be in Christ. Our only hope of this is in our identification and relationship with our Lord. No matter how we may get sidetracked and bushwhacked by the enemy of our soul, our spirit and our soul must turn back to Father. He assures us forgiveness when we repent and promises to wash our sin away. Christ in you is your hope of glory. With all that is within us we must cling to Him, relinquish our lives to Him and stay in close fellowship and relationship with Him. He alone is the one that transforms us into His image and likeness. In order to be worthy of His calling, it is our patient and enduring faith in Him that is the manifest token of our salvation. It is maintaining the place of intimacy and relationship that we truly know our God and experience the workings of His righteousness in us. The reality of our faith and walk in the Spirit must be the greatest reality of our lives. Even when we wander or fail, it is the faithfulness of His Spirit in us that continually keeps us returning and drawing near to Him. “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: [Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:3-5)”

Blessings,
#kent

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The Hidden Things

March 24, 2014

 

The Hidden Things


1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.


How many of us know that things are not always as they appear outwardly?  Many of us may be very surprised at the ones that are ruling and reigning with Christ, because we judge by the outward vision and natural understanding, but God judges after the heart.  Big names and ministries, credentials and degrees, accomplishments and awards so often impress us.

When you see someone who stands out and is accomplished in an area our tendency is to admire that individual.  Is every individual that distinguishes themselves, self-made?  If you look beneath the surface you will probably see parents who sacrificed their wants and dreams for their children.  You will see teachers, instructors, coaches and mentors who poured into these promising individuals to help them rise to their potential.  The point is no one is great in and of themselves.  There is much invested in bringing people to greatness that most of the world never sees.  They are the hidden ones.  They live and work in the background and are never in the limelight.  They aren’t the ones that receive the recognition, awards and accolades, but they just may be the truly great ones because they know how to invest in making others great.  

Paul, the apostle was experiencing some of this same frustration in his ministry.  Paul saw time and again where he would pour out his life for the church, which so quickly would turn to some other ministry or doctrine.  The Jews or some other element would come in after he had left to pollute and lead the people off track from the gospel foundation that Paul had laid for them. We have the hindsight to look back at the legacy and tremendous impact Paul had on the early church, the New Testament and on the church throughout history.  We can easily see from our perspective what a great and awesome man of God that Paul was.  Do you think that a lot of the people of his day saw him in this light?  What they saw outwardly in Paul probably wasn’t that impressive.  He was this tentmaker and itinerate preacher obsessed this Christ.  He probably wasn’t that striking in his natural presence.  He was pretty much a hand to mouth type of guy who didn’t have a nickel to his name, but what he had he used it to advance his agenda about this Christ.  He was a passionate kind of guy and he preached a good word, but perhaps a little offensive at times.  He would go to any lengths to try and communicate this Christ and who He was and what He stood for, but probably not the kind of guy that would impress you by outward appearance or status.  In 1 Corinthians 4:9-16 Paul tells us a little bit about his glorious life as a great apostle, “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We [are] fools for Christ’s sake, but ye [are] wise in Christ; we [are] weak, but ye [are] strong; ye [are] honourable, but we [are] despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, [and are] the offscouring of all things unto this day I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn [you]. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet [have ye] not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” Everything that Paul should have been in the natural was imparted to others.  The great ones aren’t the ones that have everything imparted unto them and the world marvels at, the great ones are those seeming nobodies that are the vessels and channels of imparting.  Their lives are spent and poured out to make others great.  They are fathers whose glory is in their children and what they become is because of what they were given.  Have you have found yourself discouraged because you have given and given, only to be taken for granted, despised and unappreciated?  Remember there is a day when the hidden things will be revealed.  It doesn’t matter what men think of us, the Lord is our judge.  In due season we will reap our reward if we faint not.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Just be faithful to do what God has put in your hand to do.  Judge nothing before its time, for God will bring the hidden things to light.   

 
Blessings,
#Kent
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