In Romans 6:23 we are told that the wages of sin is death. Sin causes pain to ourselves and to others. When I received Jesus Christ into my life I became more appreciative of His love and grace towards me. As a consequence I find that my desire to live according to God’s ways increases more and more. I would never want to reject Him and it grieves me when I fail to submit to Him. There is even aguish in my heart if I know that I am out of sorts with someone else or that I have disappointed someone.
That being said, in reading through Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus talks about those who ministered to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, those needing clothes, the prisoner and the sick. In ministering to these needy people Jesus was also being ministered to. In the same context Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.”(Vs. 45; NLT) What a challenging thought this presents. My refusal to help someone in need, is a refusal of my Lord Jesus!
Of course in a legalistic way, with this revelation about the importance of helping others, I could force myself to be benevolent, however we are exhorted “so let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”(2 Cor. 9:7) What we do in service to others needs to be done willingly and freely. In relationships no true fulfillment will come when ministering out of obligation.
We avoid rejecting our Lord when we are willing to minister to those around us. Lord Jesus help my love for You to be real so I will willingly minister to others and therefore to You.
The scripture gives us the principle that “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thess. 3:10). This scripture was to address an attitude that could easily come up where individuals would not regularly apply themselves at jobs or work opportunities and would sit back, believing that “God will supply”. It is true that God will supply all our needs (Phil. 4:19), but in order for this to take place we also have to do our part, i.e. get a job and work. Of course there are various types of work that we can apply ourselves to. There could be work on a job site, doing our school work, the work of being a mother or parent, there could be housework or yard work. It is important that we properly apply ourselves at the work opportunities that God would have before us.
Okay, I qualify, I have a job, I go to work, everything should now line up perfectly in my life! The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Thess. 1:3 “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice that it was not just work that was essential but also that the work and labour needed to be mixed with faith, love and hope. It is not sufficient to just have a job, there needs to be the right motive behind doing the work.
Where do we get this right motivation from? The strength behind work will not come if we only see the purpose as that of personal gain or money or recognition. If motivated through personal gain, then we will easily quit when the returns for the labour do not seem sufficient. Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Jesus came from heaven, a perfect place, into the worst of conditions, living here on the earth, so that He could do His work on my behalf. Out of appreciation for all of His Love and grace and strength, we too can work in difficult situations serving with thanksgiving, doing all to the glory of God.
Lord Jesus, help me to serve out of thanksgiving with all things being done to your praise and glory!
Have you ever thought about how much of our lives, thoughts, energy and emotions are consumed with thoughts about ourselves? We think about what we should have said, how others mistreated us, what do we get out of this, how situations are not fair for us, or how we can get ahead. 1 Cor. 6:19,20 challenges us, “do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
If I am not my own, why do I live like everything is all about me? Perhaps the greatest challenge is that we live for ourselves and are consumed about thinking about ourselves because we actually think that we are what is the most important! Instead of realizing that God and His kingdom are the most important we put ourselves above Him and we make everything revolve around us.
When we realize that we are bought with a price, we come to understand that we are purchased by One who has a greater purpose than what we were living for. We realize that there is One who is able to purchase us and hence has greater resources than we could ever have. He has come to rescue us by buying us out of the troubles caused by sin. A peace should come to us as we let this “other one” take our burdens and debts upon Himself.
Lord Jesus, help us to live as those that are bought and owned by You. May this bring great peace to us.
In the Gospels we can see the nature of Jesus and we can learn how His intentions for us are always for that which is good. It is easy to get frustrated with the situations around us and to call out to our Lord, inviting Him to rule and reign in a situation. “Jesus, if only You were here taking charge of the situation, then things would be different.” Jesus encourages us in Matthew 6:10 to pray that “You kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” It is not hard to think of areas where we wished that God would step in, show His power and rule. It is good that God’s kingdom and His rule would be more predominant in the situations around us.
As much as we want our Lord to rule around us, Jesus says some interesting things in Luke 17:20, 21. “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; … For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” As much as we want God to use His ruling power to change the world around us, the kingdom is to start within us. In Romans 14:17, we are told that “the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
If we want to see God’s ruling power then we first need to allow Him to rule internally in our hearts and lives. Our submission to His ways and His leading should produce, a sensing of peace and joy that is not based upon the outward situations but upon our Lord and His Spirit ministering within us. Christ’s rulership within us is the key to His rulership outside of us. Take a moment to allow our Lord to rule within you, then all the rest will come into place.