“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son,”
Love is the essence of the Christian Life. It is from Love’s dominion within a heart that true gifts are given. Many give from their abundance of various means, but it profits little. An individual may give without love; but one cannot hold the Love of God within and not give.
“And if I give out all my goods, and if I deliver my body that I be burned, but I do not have love, I am not profited anything”
1 Corinthians 13:3
Wherever and whenever there is giving, with Love as the origin, there will be a corresponding touch of God upon the giver. When we give out of God’s heart there is a sense of fellowship in God; the source of the thing we are doing is God Himself. In these transactions we become participants in the very wonder of heaven. We are dispensing His grace into the life of another. How blessed is the economy of His Kingdom!
“It is more blessed to give than to receive”
Love seeks no remuneration. Love gives because that is the very nature of God. He is the fountain and source of all good things. His fullness is never depleted, and His riches are infinite. He invites us to participate in the glory and wonder of His life.
“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…”
Ephesians 3:20 (WEB)
Faith is not belief. Faith is not a commodity or the product of a self-generated religious philosophy. Faith is the “substance” of things hoped for. It is the actual “evidence” of spiritual realities. It is not empty, make believe or unsubstantial. Faith is rooted in God Himself. It is the divine enablement to reach into the very heavens where God dwells and appropriate divine realities. The ability to expect the greater things of God is proportional to the “power that is at work in us”. Within the life of every believer there is to be a power at work; a power received and held within the heart of His own. Obedience is the revelation of that power at work within our lives. It is God moving within us to fulfill His purposes for us.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear”
Noah was moved by faith; the impetus to do was the offspring of that faith. Faith is the mover. There is a relentless press of faith to do God’s work in those in whom that power is at work. The degree of its expression in our lives is revealed by obedience and the works which faith alone can produce. Where there is no living faith, the works of faith will be missing. Faith is the power of God at work within the life of the believer. The life which one lives is their true statement of faith. It is not merely something we believe; it is revealed in the life we live and the things we do.
In our day the faith of many rests in the words and wisdom of men and not in the power of God.
“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God”
1 Corinthians 2:5
Faith in the wisdom of men is powerless and lifeless; it leaves its adherents looking to someone or something outside of themselves. It is a faith which lacks the reality of present day living. The faith that stands in the power of God knows that the secret of its fulfillment lies in our obedience to His Will.
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed…”
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil”
Time is one of the most precious commodities given to humankind. The experience of every moment becomes the very fabric of our human existence. Every day, every moment, and every breath are God’s gift to us. Each minute that passes is one less left in our journey here on earth. We are exhorted by God to see these gifts of time as opportunities in our walk with Him.
“So teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
In Jesus’ life here on earth, no time was squandered. Each moment was filled with purpose and design. He was here to reveal the Father; to please His Father. He came that we might live our life with the same intensity of heart. His Life was active, yet ever at rest. His hands were busy in destroying the works of the devil. His words were filled with power and wisdom. His thoughts towards God’s fallen creation were pure. His feet took Him from the darkness of the synagogues to the lost woman at the well. In each situation men and women were struck with the very light of God. In short, His Life was not His own. John declared:
“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written”
The Son of God was always engaged in the “now” of life. His heart was and is ever attentive to the will of His Father. Nothing was arbitrary or lost in His short 33 years. The secret of our life is to discover this same perspective. It is the surrendered life, free from our own pursuits, wherein we discover the divine enablement to be sensitive to the opportunities around us. It is here we “redeem the time” allocated to each of us. Discipleship is a journey of following in the Way of the Master; a life of cultivating and developing a sensitivity to His Spirit in our daily lives. The opportunities to extend His Love into the world are all around us.
“Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest”
Life is to be lived in the moment. The deception of religion is that it concerns and consoles itself with either past or future concepts and ideas; Christ was always in the “now” of His Father. While people were and are looking toward an event, Jesus told His disciples to lift up their eyes to see that now, in the present, the fields are white unto harvest.
The secret to redeeming the time is discovered in the “now” life we live.
“Only one life, ‘twill soon be past Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
– C.T. Stud
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness”
God does not keep His own from the dark places, but He does keep His own in the dark places. There are treasures to be discovered in the fearful and gloomy paths we must sometimes walk. As we hold on and walk uprightly even in the darkness, we can trust that the God of all grace will cause His Light to arise in those circumstances.
The Christ of our hope and our strength, the Christ who cannot fail will come to us in unexpected ways. There will be an unveiling of Himself which could not have been appropriated in the light. There are graces to be formed within our hearts which require dark and foreboding places. Courage and tenacity find their roots in the testings of life. In these perilous experiences we learn our weakness and discover His strength.
This is how character is built within the hearts of the upright. It is in these places that the disciple sees and hears of the greatness and mercy of our God. As the metal of a heart is forged and the reliance on other things purged, God’s work of preparation is accomplished.
“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him…”
Has God spoken a word to you? Has that word been a trial and a source of consternation? Have you felt the fetters of confinement, the rejection of friends and family? Have you sat in darkness alone and seemingly barren? Rejoice in the ways of God! Let His light arise in the darkness. Trust in Christ alone and walk uprightly before Him. Do not let despair rule; stay strong and purposed in God. The Word whereby He has caused you to hope will surely come. As the night must give way to the dawn, so will He surely arise in thee.
“O love the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful”
Lost within the gospel message of today lies the true purpose of God in Christ. The great work of the Spirit is always to exalt the Son. He is given without measure to so fill us with the heavenly power that in this earth (our bodies) Christ may be revealed in complete fulness. We are not here to sell Jesus we are to present Him within the everyday life we live.
The above scripture is prefaced with the phrase… “…called me by his grace”. A grace which does not bring us to the place of being a revelation of the Son is a grace wrongly received. Grace must always lead us to Christ like living.
“And he died for all, in order that those who live should no longer live for themselves”
2 Corinthians 5:15
The proof that we are living for Him and not ourselves is revealed in our daily life. The risen Christ becomes the purpose and the intent of our everyday existence. Only those who are truly alive in Him know the fire and the intensity of this pressing to spend themselves for Him.
Many may claim such a purpose but within the confines of daily living there is a discernable lack of that unrelenting determination to please Him in all that they do. Life is to no longer be lived within the tedious rote of religious endeavors; it is to be filled with the adventure of His joy welling up from within as we discover the riches of His will in the now of our today. There is much taught about the “now” life but there must be the works to support our confessions of faith. The real need of His people is not an understanding and acknowledgment of a teaching but the pressing into good works to show our faith.
“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
True life is one whereby the faith and works of Christ are realized. It is the divine life flowing through the fragile earthen vessel which honors and glorifies the Father. A life devoid of works is a life devoid of love and faith. Neither of these can remain static or inactive within the heart of “those who live”.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”
The Son ever lives to glorify and please His Father. If He is alive and ruling within, we will know this power and grace at work in us.
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit…”
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love”
The secret to life is simple. The stratagems and methods of men to bring about the salvation of Christ are as impotent as man himself. The power of the Love of Christ is only realized through the medium of walking in the way of His commandments. It is a life where (in Him) we are lifted out of the strife and sin of this world and made alive by the indwelling wonder of Him. There is no apt description of how such a thing can be, for it is something which cannot be taught, it can only be entered into within the context of our daily lives. The mystery of life unfolds as we step into the wonder of His ways.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation”
All of our needs, our hopes and our daily power to live are hid in Christ Himself. There is salvation in none other. It is in the “today” of our life wherein we are given the opportunity and the privilege to draw from Him grace and glory to run the race set before us.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”
“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him”
The purpose of all true ministry is to raise up and encourage others in their own ministration of the living Christ. All who would faithfully minister from the heart and love of God will inherently seek this for the welfare of the Body of Christ and the glory of God. This desire is not for the perpetuation of a church but for the growth of the One Church. Sadly, the church in our day has seen little of the fruit of ministry in terms of producing powerful and unique ministrations. The error of today is that rather than making disciples unto God we have perverted this truth to mean having disciples of a ministry, organization or dogma. With each passing generation the light of God becomes more dim as the life of ministry fades. Things which were once light slip into traditions; a peculiar gift of one individual (though unique and powerful in itself) becomes a model to imitate. This form, which in itself has no light or power, is passed on from one generation to another rather than receiving God’s gift from Christ Himself. God’s creativity cannot be replicated.
Joshua’s walk with God was his own. Moses had instilled in him the solemn charge to obey God and Him alone. The fear of God is the only hope for a generation; it is God’s answer to the fear of man. Only the fear of God can rescue His people from the adulation of men.
Conformity is the law of religion; transformation is the life of His Church.
There is no life in a copy.
All the works of God are unique, fresh and filled with His power. When people seek to emulate another they rob themselves of God’s purpose. Emulation, jealously and envy are the trappings of those who have not found their own call in God; the fruit of an individual who is not walking in a personal relationship with God. It is the horror of a generation who has not made God the Lord.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”
“Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit”
Nothing less than the presence of God can preserve, restore and refresh the soul of His Own. The heart of the true child of God was made for His presence. The focus of life is to live in Him and to have His life holding us in the firm grip of grace and glory.
“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee”
The longing and pursuit of life is summed up in knowing Him. The Pearl of Great Price incites a singularity of purpose (Matthew 13:45-46). In His beauty the desire for other things is dissipated and drained of force and power within the human heart. Life becomes a journey consumed in the one great love, the one great quest and the one boundless pursuit of knowing Him.
Religion with all of its rituals, precepts and demands fail man’s inherent need… the visitations of God Himself! It is by His Presence we are preserved, refreshed and made right. He is our salvation, He is our strength and in Him alone are we kept clean from this present world.
“Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence”