"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
A. Doing the Lord’s Work in the Work Place
Ask any Christian in today’s church how you bring people into the church or grow it, you will get very mixed responses. However, the summary of those responses will center around programs, music type, preaching, traditional vs. contemporary, etc.
What's holding us back from doing the Lord's Work? Out of 52 parables, 43 were work related. Jesus appeared in ministry 122 out in the public workplace. The same is true format of Jesus' recorded miracles.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with doing occupational, full-time ministry, not all of us were called to this type of ministry. Some of us could be called to vocational ministry, some to bi-vocational, others to what I call tent-makers ministry, and others only minister as domestic missionaries along the way in their life while being engaged in both a job and a church.
So what exactly is a tent-maker minister and what does it mean to be a domestic missionary?
I can tell you that most of the church fits into these two categories.
B. The Church Has Been Commissioned
We have developed a mindset within the church in the West that only “ministers”, those paid by the church are the ones responsible for evangelism and witnessing to others. Many pastors are hired on a regular basis. When the pastor arrives, he realizes the church has been dying and the members look to him to save the church. The pastor doesn’t save the church, Jesus does. We are the “hands” and “feet” of Jesus Christ. Therefore, in order to see converts come into the fellowship of Christ, we have to do the work. This means we have to get out, beat the pavement, and help people hear the gospel. Just because it is not what we get “paid” to do doesn’t make us any less responsible than the pastor. The same judgement he will be brought through will be the same for you as well. We are all “ministers” of the gospel and all responsible for carrying out the Great Commission.
Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV) The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
C. Paul Ministered and Worked, Why Can’t We Do the Same?
One of the biggest reasons people will tell you that evangelism is the job of the pastor is that they feel that they do not have time for such activity. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Paul both worked and ministered. He often did both at the same time. Jesus was also seen in many stories going into the work place to witness to people. That is why we know most of the disciple’s occupation, Jesus found them on the job! We should do the same with our witness of faith!
Paul was what we call a tent-maker minister. He was a self-funded missionary from the labor of his own hands. At times, he may have had assistance from various churches and groups of believers, but for the most part he made his way by the work of his own hands. He was a blessing to God’s people, so God blessed him with the means and ability to make a living making tents.
Acts 18:1-4 (KJV)
18 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.
3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.
D. You Don’t Have to be a Paid Staff Member to Serve God
Paul didn’t seek to gain or grow wealth from the church, but he saw his ministry as a way to be a blessing on the church without being a burden. This is why Paul continuously worked to support himself and his missions. He took care of not only himself, but also did his best to be a blessing to others. Not only did Paul not envy an occupational minister, he embraced his ministerial independence as to be free from the sway and lure of money. If your main salary for your household isn’t paid by a church, members of that church can’t pressure you into preaching a certain way or tolerating their sin.
Acts 20:33-35 (KJV)
33 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
E. Don’t Have Extra Time for Evangelism? Honor God in All You Do!
Not having extra time or energy isn’t an excuse, especially when the best witnessing you could ever do is honoring God in all you do. It isn’t always what we do, but how we do it! A great bus driver can honor God by doing his job well and being Christ like to the students on that bus. A great teacher, lawyer, police officer, nurse, car salesman, anyone can honor God! Obviously how we conduct ourselves during our work, our integrity, and holiness all play a role in our effective witness. However, if people see that something about you is different from the world, they will be interested in what it is that makes you different. As ordinary citizens, working or not, we come into contact with more people than the average minister daily, therefore we should accomplish even more for the Kingdom of God daily. We may not always be the one who gets to say the Lord’s prayer with a new believer, but we can sure help shape their view of God’s people by honoring God daily in all we do!
Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
They're Your Camels
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you do not know what the future holds?
Maybe you aren’t looking for anything in particular from life at the moment, but you are kind of just going through the motions of living your daily life.
Do you feel as if you were meant to complete certain tasks or work a certain job?
Regardless of your current circumstances, know that God has a plan for you and seeks to prosper you, just as he did in this story of Rebekah and Isaac.
All Rebekah had to do was to be who she was created to be.
Genesis 24 King James Version (KJV)
“And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.
2 And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled over all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh:
3 And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven, and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell:
4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.
5 And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land: must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from whence thou camest?
6 And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.
7 The Lord God of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.
8 And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again.
9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter.
10 And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor.
11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.
12 And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham.
13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:
14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.
16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up.
17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.
18 And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.
19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.
20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
21 And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lordhad made his journey prosperous or not.
22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden earring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;
23 And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in?
24 And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor.
25 She said moreover unto him, We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.
26 And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord.
27 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren.
28 And the damsel ran, and told them of her mother's house these things.
29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well.
30 And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well.
31 And he said, Come in, thou blessed of the Lord; wherefore standest thou without? for I have prepared the house, and room for the camels.
32 And the man came into the house: and he ungirded his camels, and gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet, and the men's feet that were with him.
33 And there was set meat before him to eat: but he said, I will not eat, until I have told mine errand. And he said, Speak on.
34 And he said, I am Abraham's servant.
35 And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.
36 And Sarah my master's wife bare a son to my master when she was old: and unto him hath he given all that he hath.
37 And my master made me swear, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell:
38 But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son.
39 And I said unto my master, Peradventure the woman will not follow me.
40 And he said unto me, The Lord, before whom I walk, will send his angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house:
41 Then shalt thou be clear from this my oath, when thou comest to my kindred; and if they give not thee one, thou shalt be clear from my oath.
42 And I came this day unto the well, and said, O Lord God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go:
43 Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink;
44 And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the Lord hath appointed out for my master's son.
45 And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down unto the well, and drew water: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.
46 And she made haste, and let down her pitcher from her shoulder, and said, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: so I drank, and she made the camels drink also.
47 And I asked her, and said, Whose daughter art thou? And she said, the daughter of Bethuel, Nahor's son, whom Milcah bare unto him: and I put the earring upon her face, and the bracelets upon her hands.
48 And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son.
49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.
50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.
51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the Lord hath spoken.
52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the Lord, bowing himself to the earth.
53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things.
54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said, Send me away unto my master.
55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.
56 And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.
57 And they said, We will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.
58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men.
60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.
63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.
65 For she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? And the servant had said, It is my master: therefore she took a vail, and covered herself.
66 And the servant told Isaac all things that he had done.
67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.”
Rebekah Walked Right Into Her Blessing!
Rebekah Was Prepared!
Just As God Allowed Rebekah To Walk Into Her Blessing,, His Timing Is Always Perfect
So, I must ask you to consider a thought today. Have you like Rebekah was, been approached by your blessing, but failed to recognize it?
How many opportunities and blessings have passed us by because we were not prepared or under obedience to the Lord?
Don't let that be you today, commit your life to God fully with your heart and mouth. Don't miss out on your next blessing! The biggest blessing that will ever come your way will be an invitation to meet the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, to receive the greatest gift of all in eternal life!
Running The Race with Momentum
A. Life is a journey, similar to as the Word tells us a “race.”
Hebrews 12:1 King James Version (KJV)
“12 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
There are many things about life that can be compared to a long race according to the Word of God. For example, having the patience and endurance to run a marathon is no easy task and neither is life, but is certainly possible with lots of practice. When we encounter resistance and road blocks along our journey, God allows these obstructions to resist us in order to build us up.
This verse also instructs us not just to run, but to “run with patience.” Are we waiting upon God for our next steps, or do we go where our heart pleases?
B. A race is how you run it, not how fast
2 Timothy 4:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”
When I played football in high school, the running backs would follow a set of drills that took them running through tires attached to two poles which was meant to slow them down as they ran through them, after that they had to step through tires to learn agility and footwork.
The same holds true for Christians as well. We go through a series of challenges and resistance that allows us to build up our spiritual strength and agility, equipping us with the spiritual know how to resist the blows of the enemy.
There may be times in the hot August sun during practice when you feel like quitting, especially when it comes time for the two-a-day practices (you heard that right, two practices a day), but we have to finish our course and finish strong. There is an award waiting for us on the other side. We do this for Christ who died for us. As athletes, we were willing to run through a brick wall for our coach, what are you willing to do for Jesus who gave his life for yours?
C. A race requires us to stay on our feet and get up when we fall
Jeremiah 12:5 (KJV)
“5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
There were many times in practice where we would fall so much the coach would stop everything and make us practice balancing drills. As followers of Christ, we don’t want to require the Lord to send us through balancing drills to often, however there will come a time when you will fall on your face. You may even get smashed in the mouth by the opponent. It’s your job to get back up and keep going.
One tip that always helped us to stay on our feet was to always consistently chop our feet. I can still here the whistle now followed by a loud, chop..chop…chop! Those who could move their feet the quickest and most proficient could stay on their feet and move greater distances. As followers of Christ, it is our duty to stay on our feet and stay spiritually grounded on our “footwork” in His Word. It is there where we will find the teaching we need to inform us of how to “stay on our spiritual feet without falling.” When we do fall, it will help assist us in the rebuilding of our faith and confidence to get back out there and run again.
If we can’t keep our spiritual feet under us and keeping us going in the good times, how do we expect to keep ourselves going in the bad? This is what the prophet Jeremiah challenged the Hebrews with in this verse. How can you run with the horses of the enemy if you can’t keep up with the men by foot?
D. We already know the end result
Isaiah 40:1-4 (KJV)
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:”
This is what Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary has to say about this portion of Scripture:
"When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom."
The Word says “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.” It reminds me of what it is like to run down the hill rather than against it.
Have you ever raced someone on foot?
How about raced down a hillside? What was it like?
If you experienced the same things I have, you felt extra momentum behind you, pushing so hard it almost knocked you over. Of course, too much momentum can many times send us out of control.
Running the race of our life is almost like running downhill because we already know Christ wins this battle. We already know that if we can manage to finish, we have already won. However, God doesn’t just want us to finish, he wants us to live life with momentum! He wants us to come off of our mountaintops and into our valleys with such spiritual authority that we bounce the enemy right off our shoulder pads of faith.
One day we won’t have to run this race, it will have been won once and for all!
In the mean-time, run it with authority so that when we descend, we descend with such spiritual momentum that we bust through whatever resistance awaits us at the bottom of the valley.
The way to our destination or goal may not always be clear, but if we hit it hard enough, with enough momentum, and enough power or force, we can bust through to our destination!
Praise God in your good times, praise Him in your bad, praise Him in your horrible, praise Him in your Sad, whatever you do, just praise Him. If you praise Him, you are worshiping Him and if you
worship Him, eventually you will pray to Him. This is how we build spiritual momentum.
So join hands with me as we run this gauntlet of life! What is there to lose? Jesus is right there with us, pulling us along when we lose momentum. He restores us in our time of need, providing us with the "river of living water" for our soul, enabling us to finish this race victorious!
Whatever It Takes: Believers Display Greatness!
Colossians 3:23-24 (KJV)
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Have you ever evaluated the effort that you put into your activities?
How do we perform at work, school, ministry, relationships, social engagements, etc. ?
How much effort to we put into having a relationship with God and getting to know Him?
How much effort do we put forth in our activities when we know others are looking at us?
How about when we know they aren’t?
Christians should have integrity and integrity requires greatness in all we do!
Here are a few principles that I have discovered about greatness:
1. Greatness Requires Much Effort
While many individuals will say they give a great effort towards having success in all of these areas, the reality is that the conditions of this world speaks for itself. We live in a messed up and broken society.
Of course, I am preaching to the choir on this one, but it seems over the past decade that greatness has been less and less of a value in our society.
Have you ever seen an athlete on television who was the most achieved, recognized, and known as a winner in their sport lack greatness? I have never seen such an athlete who has not given great effort towards achieving greatness before getting such recognition.
Most great athletes spend nearly their whole woken day in the gym or on their respective field improving their game, while usually also enhancing their bodies with focused workouts before and even sometimes after their practices.
Athletes such as Tiger Woods and LeBron James spend double digit hours a day honing their skills and working on their bodies.
What does this kind of work ethic say about them? Surely it shows us they are passionate about what they do!
Sometimes these athletes have to go above and beyond their normal routines to achieve greatness. During the NBA playoffs, LeBron James spends great time icing his joints and receiving specialized treatments to help his body heal. This is effort and time invested in his body, in hopes that It will pay off come time for the next game. This is going above and beyond his normal routine.
Sometimes we as believers and servants of Christ, have to do what it takes whether it is writing 13 pages for a 4 page paper or going above and beyond expectation!
As temporary citizens of this world and believers among the lost and dying we must do everything with greatness!
2. Greatness Requires Persistency
Have you ever been a fan of an athlete that wasn’t always persistent? There were many occasions where I was that athlete who was not persistent night in and night out on the football field. Sometimes I showed moments of greatness, while there were many times in practice where I just did not give enough effort to be consistent on game day.
As believers, we must display greatness by being persistent daily.
I have said it many times now, “persistence overcomes all resistance!”
Being persistent means doing the right things at the right times day in and day out. We need to give God persistency in our faith, in our relationship with Him, and in our effort in the every day things of life. If we do not honor Him with the small assignments, how can He trust us with the larger ones?
Luke 16:10 KJV
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”
Remember that God always finishes what He starts!
Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”
3. Greatness Requires Faithfulness
You can always spot greatness a million miles away because greatness always stands as a symbol of faith. Those individuals who have experienced greatness are always faithful to their cause. You don’t become great by giving up what you are doing. You become great by dedicating yourself (becoming a slave to Christ). That term slave represents giving all of ourselves to Him. Of course we know there is freedom in Christ and no one is bound by Him, however we can willingly lay down our own selfish ambitions and goals for the sake of service and honor to the Lord God of Heaven.
The faithful are always reliable. A husband who has a good and faithful wife knows that at the end of the day when he comes home, she will be there waiting for him. He does not have to worry because he has a faithful wife, and Proverbs 31 woman.
Christ as the groom of the church desires a faithful bride, who awaits His arrival. However, we are not to sit idly by waiting for Him to just show up any minute by holding life at a pause. We are to diligently serve Him until His triumphant return as faithful servants to His Kingdom. The work we do here and the service we give, reflects who we are and how faithful we are to the cause of Christ. Let us build the kingdom of God so that we may rejoice with those we bring along with us on the other side of glory!
What Does Our Commitments Say About Us?
Revelation 3:15-16 (KJV)
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Matthew 7:16-17 (KJV)
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
Isaiah 29:13 (KJV)
13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
Matthew 12:22-30 (KJV)
22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
It is highly anticipated in a certain time of the year In high school basketball when many of the top ranked college recruits make their verbal commitments to college teams across the country. Many times, they are only what the name implies, verbal commitments. They are nothing more and therefore often changed later in the school year when the athlete realizes that they do not wish to attend the school they have chosen.
However, once a commitment is made to a branch of the military in America, that commitment must be fulfilled. Once your name is signed on that dotted line, Uncle Sam now owns you until your commitment has ended which is usually around four years. Thank God that Jesus never requires us to run five miles with a backpack and gear. If that were the case, I don’t believe I would make it today! He does however, require some commitment from us beyond just verbal recognition.
With this in mind, here are a few questions regarding being a soldier (committed servant) for the Lord.
1.Are You In Or Out?
Growing up, like every young boy I would go outside a lot. I often stayed at my grandmother’s a lot during the summers. One year, I received a basketball goal for Christmas and I kept it at my grandparents house. They had a concrete driveway, so I would go there to practice when I could. During the summer it can get very hot in N.C., so I would go out and come back in quite a lot.
My grandma used to say, "boy you better shut my screen door! Either get in or get out!" She would follow it with, “boy, air conditioning isn’t free!”
I believe that many times, God views our complacency very similar to this.
God wants us all in, not half-way in and half-way out.
He doesn't want us lukewarm, He spews lukewarmness from His mouth.
Growing up, I was introduced to the gospel, but because of the uncertainty around me, my environment, my influence, and the unbiblical doctrine I was hearing, I was tip toeing in the church and doing my best to avoid being figured out.
As I grew older, and God’s mission for me changed, I had to answer my calling and either GET IN THE HOUSE OR GET OUT, I HAD TO COMMIT OR QUIT!
2. We Are At War!
Have you ever met a soldier who had no pride in his branch, unit, or even their uniform?
There are few soldiers you will ever meet who lack pride, because they have been trained to have confidence in themselves, their fellow soldiers, and especially their appearance. Any soldier who doesn’t value their fellow brethren or themselves, are a danger to their unit.
We are in a spiritual battlefield and the war involves the creator of heaven and earth versus a created being who wanted to surpass Him in power and glory. However, we know that there can only be one God, for He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! The Alpha and the Omega! The First and the Last!
The enemy hates that we are special in His eyes, even “created in his own image.” Because of how much God loves us and cares for us, the enemy despises us and wishes to have us bound with him in Hell for eternity. This is why he has made it his goal to bring every human being he possibly can down with him. Unfortunately, because of the fall of Adam and the fact we are born of flesh and into sin, he has a head start.
However, the story praise God does not end there! As God tells us in John 3:16 that, ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
So, we have a choice. We can choose to be a soldier in the Lord’s Army or we can choose by default to be a soldier of the enemy. Either way, we are taking shots and enemy fire! I choose to be on the winning side in God’s army!
3.Who Is Spying Behind Enemy Lines In Your Camp? (Matthew 7:16-17, 12:30; Isaiah 29:13)
Are you an enemy combatant spying behind enemy lines? Are you an undercover servant of the devil, claiming Christ but denying Him with your lack of fruit?
As we see in Matthew 7:16-17, every good tree (soldier) should bear some type of good fruit. Maybe all of our fruit won’t be the same and certainly won’t always be the same quality, but sow forth the best seed you can possibly sow and watch God bless your ministry bountifully with good fruit.
Great soldier often times get rewarded with awesome medals and honored for their bravery. At the time of the Judgment Seat, we will be rewarded for the fruit of labor and acts here on Earth
James 1:12 tells us, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
The good news about spiritual enemy combatants is that God makes the visible and marks them with the fruit of their labor. Those who spread lies, gossip, and slander, only bring shame to the body of Christ and their fruit will eventually be revealed.
Good leadership knows how to spot an enemy combatant and will remove them from the regiment.
Do you have any enemy combatants in your camp? Is your home a training ground for enemy combatants? If so, turn your home over to the Lord today and change it to a training ground for soldiers of the Lord.
4.Truly Committed Soldiers Are Often Mocked! (Matthew 12:22-30)
When you make a commitment to serving God, really serving God, you will most certainly mocked . In this section of Scripture, the religious of that day said that Jesus was using demon power to do miracles.
He was a threat to their lifestyle. They could not understand Him and refused to hear Him, so they slandered His name and dismissed His teachings.
They mocked Him, calling Jesus an entertainer of high level demons. They knew that to perform the miracles that He did, there must be great power behind Him, but because of their spiritual blindness they could not see the true power behind Him, the power of God himself.
When you truly commit yourself to the army of the Lord, you are placing a target of the enemy on your back.
Please know that you have served the enemy up until this point and He knows your ever weakness. Don’t think that he won’t use those weaknesses against you. Family may turn against you and mock you. Friends and other loved ones may turn their backs on you. Sometimes they may not even realize what they are doing and some will. You may even have to go through some persecution, but remember that God is right there with you every step of the way. Even though you may not always feel Christ, He is there walking along side of you in the midst of the trials brought against you.
Jesus knows what it is like to be placed on trial and judged for an act that you didn’t commit. This is how He was sacrificed, for sins and actions He did not take.
These religious bigots were more committed to their false religion, their idol worship, their “law”, that they were blinded and could not see that the Maker of the Law stand directly before them, teaching them, and offering them a better way which had already fulfilled the law in the first place!
Don’t be committed to a false system of religion, a false hope, and false savior. Commit yourself to Christ today and never have to look back. He stands ready and waiting with open arms!