|Focus On Jesus
Jesus should be our focus -- not the things we do for Him -- not religious activity -- not people -- but the person of Jesus, the Lord and Christ.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:9 NIV
9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
Attending religious meetings should not be the focus of our lives. They are justified only if they help us to know God better, and equip us to do the will of God better.
Our giving should not be primarily motivated by the need to "get the Gospel out," or to meet the needs of people, but by our worship of Jesus and obedience to Him.
The focus of our lives should be to please Jesus.
COLOSSIANS 1:15-18 NKJ
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Does Jesus have the preeminence in your schedule? In your heart? If not, why not?
The Bible teaches that we are to be faithful; but faithful to what: a religious system, an organization -- or, a Person? Are you serving Jesus -- or serving something else as His substitute?
The Great Commission
We do have a "Great Commission": to make disciples so we can preach the Gospel to everyone. But do not forget that God also gave us other commandments, all of which are important. And, remember that Jesus is the Lord of the harvest of humanity -- not us.
MATTHEW 9:37-38 NKJ
37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
38 "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."
* God is the Lord of the harvest, so He is greater than the harvest.
* You and I are not the Lord of the harvest -- God is.
* God cares more for the harvest than we do, having given His life to purchase mankind.
* God knows more than we do. He is capable of planning and carrying out a successful harvest -- we are not.
* The harvest is God's, not ours.
* Therefore, we must focus on Him and let Him be Lord of all we do.
The reason Jesus told us to pray to the Lord of the harvest is not to convince God to do something, but so we will spend time in His presence praying, looking to Him, and quieting ourselves, so we will be ready to receive His guidance.
I heard a famous minister say his objective was to win as many people to Jesus as possible. Although I share that desire, I do not have the same objective.
My objective is to walk with God and obey Him. Although the result should logically be winning as many people to Jesus as possible -- at least for the whole Body of Christ for all time -- it may not be done the way I would plan.
I am saying that Jesus is Lord and knows more than I do. I should not take His command and think I know how to accomplish His will through my own efforts. I need to abide in Him, and let Him guide each step I take. I must not lean on my own understanding, but trust in Him with all my heart.
A Member Of The Body
Think what a difficult time you would have accomplishing anything if each member of your body did whatever it felt like -- instead of obeying orders from your brain. (Understanding and applying this truth to the Body of Christ is necessary.)
1 CORINTHIANS 12:12 NKJ
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.
EPHESIANS 1:22-23 NKJ
22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
Each one of us is only a member of the Body of Christ. We are not the Head -- Jesus is. He is responsible for, and capable of, coordinating all we do so our actions will accomplish His desired result. Each member of a body has a different function, but all are necessary for the body to function properly.
ROMANS 12:4 NKJ
4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
Put God First
MATTHEW 22:36-40 NKJ
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37 Jesus said to him, " `You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38 "This is the first and great commandment.
39 "And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
|For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
- DECEMBER 3 -
WHOSE LOVE IS PERFECT?
When I was the president of my youth ministry, I used to preach hard and strong messages, telling my youths, “You’ve got to love God! You’ve got to love the Lord with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul!” All that time, when I was preaching this to the young people, I was wondering to myself, “How in the world do I do that?”
I would look at myself and check my heart, mind, and soul—did I really love the Lord that perfectly? How could I expect my youths to love the Lord that way when I knew that I myself had failed?
At that time, I was not established in the new covenant of grace yet. I did not know that by preaching that way, I was actually placing all my youths under the law because the sum total of the law is to love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength (Matt. 22:37–40, Mark 12:29–30).
Let me ask you this: Has anybody ever been able to love the Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul? No one. Not a single person has been able to do that. God knew all the while that under the law, no one could love Him that perfectly. So do you know what He did? The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son . . .” I love that little word “so.” It speaks of the intensity with which God loves us.
When God sent Jesus, He was effectively saying this to us: “I know that you can’t love Me perfectly, so watch Me now. I will love you with all My heart, all My soul, all My mind, and all My strength.” And He stretched His arms wide and died for us. This is what the Bible says about what Jesus did on the cross: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him” (Rom. 5:7–9).
My friend, the cross is not a demonstration of our perfect love and devotion to God. The cross is God’s demonstration of His perfect love and His perfect grace (unmerited favor) toward us, for it was while we were still sinners that Jesus died for us. He did not die for you and me because of our perfect love for God. He died for you and me because of HIS perfect love for us!
Let me give you the Bible's definition of love to make this even clearer for you: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Beloved, that's the emphasis of the new covenant of grace (unmerited favor)—HIS love for us, not our love for Him!
As we raise up a new generation of believers, let us raise up a generation that is impacted by God’s unmerited favor and that boasts in His love for us. When we receive His love for us and start believing that we are His beloved, look at the result that 1 John 4:11 spells out: “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Notice that the love for one another comes after our experience of His love for us! It stems from an overflow.
You cannot love others when you have not first been filled by His love. And when you are overflowing with His love, you will fulfill the law effortlessly without even trying because God’s Word tells us, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
Step into that river today. Change the quality of your relationships by believing and being conscious of the fact that you are His beloved!
This devotional is taken from the book 100 Days of Favor—Daily Readings from Unmerited Favor.
GOD BLESS YOU