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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In His Image

November 5, 2012

In His Image

John 3:2-3
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

With the natural mind and vision it seems impossible to come into the likeness of all that Christ is. Yet, this is what we live for, this is what we endure affliction, hardship, persecution and trials for. We are so often focused and filled with the concerns of the outward perishing man with all it weaknesses and shortcomings, but inwardly we behold Jesus, the pattern son, the first born of many sons that are coming into glory. There are those of us who haven’t endured that much adversity in our life, but there are others of us who are tired from a hard road of suffering and trials that they have traveled and it is only the grace of God that they are holding on today. Some of you have said, “ Just take me home Lord, I don’t want to continue on as I have been.” Why some of our roads are so much harder than others I can not say, but this I know, what you have suffered and endured is not in vain. God sees your faithfulness as you have endured, and though you may not see it, you have been walking the way of the Overcomer. You may laugh and say, “What have I overcome, look at the mess my life is in and the pain, suffering and heartache I am still enduring?” Abraham was given promises of God that seemed impossible and did he receive them immediately? Some of those promises are still being fulfilled.
Jesus prays for all that believe on Him in John 17:10-16, “”My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25″Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”” Have we seen all that Jesus prayed for fulfilled? We are a people who live by faith and the greatest testimony of our faith is when we can walk in the hope of the promises that are set before us, even when we do not see the manifestation of them. Some of our promises we carry into glory with us. Does that mean that God is not faithful to His word? God is not limited by our natural lifetime.
For those of us that are discouraged and tired of life let me encourage you not to give up in the battle. Your faithfulness and perseverance have not gone unnoticed by the Lord. You have not suffered in vain. The enemy is always there to tell you to give up and that God has failed you. No, God has entrusted you with a walk that most of us couldn’t endure and would fail at, but by His grace you will carry on in faith and you will overcome by your faithfulness and trust, regardless of whether you see the manifestation of the promise or not. I believe God is a great rewarder of those who are faithful to Him, especially through the fire and trials. Allow that place you are in to have its perfect work in you. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward [man] is renewed day by day.” Psalm 34:9 says, “Many [are] the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” Come and rest your head upon the breast of Jesus. Let Him be your comfort and your confidence. He will give you grace to see you through if you will hold fast to Him and not let go.
Hebrews 11:10 says of Abraham, “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:13-16 goes on to remind us that this time, this place this life is not the fulfillment of all of our promises. “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”
We have the promise of coming into the image of Christ if we persevere and hold fast the confession our faith. Let us not become discouraged, but let us remain faithful holding fast the promises as we journey into the place that God has prepared for us, both in this sanctuary and that which is to come.

Blessings,
kent

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