“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead*, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God… but was strong in faith, giving glory to God”
In the circumstances of life there are always obstacles and hindrances to the promises of God. Sickness, old age, finances, relationships, persecutions and a multitude of other things offer us reasons to excuse ourselves from our occupation of declaring Him to this generation.
The Greek translation of the above scripture literally states that Abraham fully considered his own body as being dead; yet in the face of this “he staggered not at the promise of God”. It is here that faith stands and takes us beyond our circumstances and abilities and keeps us active regardless of the situations in which we find ourselves. Many of our brothers and sisters at this moment are facing death, imprisonment, loneliness, health issues and untold hardships yet they are holding on to the promises of our faithful God. Shall we not do the same?
Whatever may be His promise to us, consider not the circumstance; consider God.
*Note: The KJV is saying the same thing but in a more difficult way to understand… “he considered not” means he did not let his “body being good as dead”, enter into his “accounting God” well able to fulfill the promise. Nor should we.
“Do nothing that you would not like God to see. Say nothing you would not like God to hear. Write nothing you would not like God to read. Go no place where you would not like God to find you. Read no book of which you would not like God to say, “Show it to Me.” Never spend your time in such a way that you would not like to have God say, “What are you doing?”
― J.C. Ryle
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”
“Also the Lord was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither. But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it”
We see and hear much of leadership in the context of the Christian faith these days. We see many who are striving to build up their church, their organization and their ministry; all the while the Body of Christ remains divided and secularized. God’s true leaders seek not their own. They seek God’s glory which is the welfare and spiritual condition of His People. Moses paid a terrible price in being denied access to the promised land because of Israel’s hard heart and unbelief. In the midst of such disappointment God charges Moses to encourage, teach and mentor Joshua to finish what God had begun with Moses. A selfish and self-serving man could not endure this sacrificial task. It would be one thing to appear to fulfill a commission like this but another thing altogether to do it with a whole and pure heart. Only men who are concerned with God’s glory and purposes can walk in such high places. A pure and holy heart is the means by which these things can be real and alive within the Body of Christ.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself”
Can we grasp the power and intent of the heart of God in this scripture? Let us meditate on the little phrase “Let nothing be done” out of the spirit of factions and self promotion. How quickly the Body of Christ would arise out of the ashes of human striving for pre-eminence and control into a glorious expression of all that HE has purposed in Christ!. May God convict us to desire that pure heart and the joy found in seeing our brothers excel in the gifts and the callings of God in their lives. If the very Son of God took upon Himself the “form” of a servant shall not we, who declare it is He alone we serve, do likewise?
It is time to search our hearts, to consider the hidden motives by which we “serve” God. Though our works may appear good in the sight of men it is the ONE with the “eyes of fire” who sees the true motives and intents of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).
“Let us search and try our ways and turn again unto the Lord”
It is only then that we will discover the “Pearl of great price”; HIS heart living in us.
“…let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples”
Life for the Christian is one of living out each day with a single agenda: Glorifying our Father. Simplicity is the very thing that confounds the religious and brings Joy to the disciple of Christ. To glorify our Father is to simply live to bear fruit unto Him every day of our lives. It can be in the small kindness shown to others, speaking His Word of Truth to another, or living with the breath of a prayer in our hearts to Him. It is the unconscious flow of daily life and as we grow it becomes a life of doing. To fully learn something will result in the simplicity of doing it. He is more desirous to direct our steps and lead us into the very arena of HIS WILL than we are to learn. If there is a true desire to do His will there will always be the knowing of what that will is.
“…If any man will do his will, he shall know…”
Fruitfulness and Discipleship cannot be separated. We read in John 15:8 that bearing fruit unto the Father is the badge of life for one who is a Disciple. A Disciple is simply one who gives up his will to serve another. The Disciples became Apostles, the common people became Prophets and Teachers, and the servants of God became men and women who were called “friends” of the Most High. They grew from outward instruction to the inward knowing of His Will. A true Disciple cannot remain a disciple. Discipleship is the school of learning and as such the day must come for the disciple to cease from needing bread to becoming bread for others. Jesus SENT out His Disciples so that they could learn to live in the wisdom that can only come through the medium of doing.
There are those who say they would bear fruit if the opportunity arose, if the conditions were right, or if God would only give them more ability. Religion shapes a strange concept of God when men think that God has withheld from them the ability to Glorify Him! Jesus said that HE came in order for us to HAVE LIFE and to HAVE THIS LIFE ABUNDANTLY. This is either a true and valid saying or it is just another empty religious platitude. If being a Christian is simply adherence to a teaching or a tradition, then we are left with a form of righteousness but no power to be actual living expressions. Disciples are those who are actively walking, following and doing the things they hear and see in Him. This is no theoretical life; it is actual and real because Jesus is alive and working in their hearts. The very heart beat of His Life constrains them to a life of focus and seeking to do His will. The desire to glorify our Father is the chief duty and purpose of all life. The reward is too precious to miss any opportunity afforded us. What is this reward? It is “The Joy of the Lord”. Bearing fruit brings the realization that in glorifying Him we can know of HIS JOY in us which becomes our strength to grow in the wonder of His Ways.
“…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits*”
*NOTE: Literally in the Hebrew the word “exploits” is not there; the verse actually says “shall be strong and do”. They that know their God shall be strong and DO. It is a daily opportunity for us to be strong and to do of His good pleasure.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”