Friday, November 9, 2012

The Only Work That Matters

Trials continually test my willingness to depend upon Him.  The good news is that I can see my growth over the past 10 years because I journal whenever possible and am able to reflect on how God has been working on me.  I've marked the trail of my sanctification with clear markers so that if I happen to regress in any area of growth, I can clearly see if I've been here before (or not.)  A life without trials makes one weak in the faith.  He knows this and that is why He leads us through them.  I'm thankful that he is patient with me because sometimes my knee jerk reaction is grumbling and complaining when all He really wants is to grow my faith, hope, and trust in Him.   This is one of my most favorite D.L. Moody quotations about faith and belief:

"It is all folly for the inquirers to take the ground that they cannot believe. They can, if they will. But the trouble with most people is that they have connected feeling with believing. Now feeling has nothing whatever to do with believing. The Bible does not say, He that feeleth, or he that feeleth and believeth, hath everlasting life. Nothing of the kind. I cannot control my feelings... But I can believe God, and if we get our feet on that rock, let doubts and fears come and the waves surge around us, the anchor will hold." 
- D.L. Moody

John 6:27-29 ESV  Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal."  [28]  Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"  [29]  Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

The gospel is ridiculously simple which is why Jesus said this:

Luke 18:17 ESV  "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."

Babes can understand this but learned people are easily deceived.

The gospel is news not advice.  The news is that we don't deserve it and can't earn it nor can we add anything to it.  I'm convinced that the entire purpose of sanctification is to exterminate those areas of prideful sin that so easily hinder worship.  When I become less, He becomes more and when He becomes more, the fruit of holiness shows through because it's His holiness and not mine that is on display.  Jesus prayed that we might be One (united) just as He and Father are One.  The only way we can become united with Him is to deny ourselves and receive and believe in Him whom God has sent.

It is interesting to remember Abel's offering - he was a keeper of sheep - a shepherd.  Cain was a worker - a farmer of the ground.  Many teach that God had regard for Abel's offering and no regard for Cain's offering because Abel's was "the first born" as if Abel had some kind of ultimate strategy to earn God's favor.  However, by the Holy Spirit, I contend that God had regard for Abel's offering simply because he brought nothing that didn't already belong to God while Cain, a worker, brought forth the fruit of his own labor from the ground that God had already cursed by Adam's sin back in Genesis chapter 3.

Trials provide opportunity to die to self and live for Christ.  By doing that you prove your faith and that's what people who are seeking God are attracted to because it's no longer you but Him that they see.

It's a glorious gospel.  It's simple to understand but those who are gripped by sin have trouble letting go of their own works in order to attain the only work that matters, believing in the One whom God has sent.

Revelation 22:17 ESV  The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Don't be deceived.  Jesus wants just you.  Not you plus your labors.  He's provided the way of reconciliation.  All you need to do is come.

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