Friday, April 26, 2013

Prefer to grow in faith




For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

1 John 2:16,17 NASB

God can give you rest in the midst of trouble, and peace in the midst of conflict. That includes a difficult workplace, or a home that's in constant turmoil. God's presence can help you to show love in the face of mistreatment, and patience in times of stress. It can help you to bring positive change without a lot of words, and end up feeling good about the way you handled things. So spend time in God's presence today.

Yet if we believe He is who He says He is, how can surrendering to His way not be to our benefit? Think about His unique, praiseworthy qualities:

    His all-encompassing knowledge. Unlike us, the Lord has complete awareness about our world and the details of every individual life--past, present, and future.

    His complete wisdom. God understands man's every motive, whereas none of us are able to accurately discern people's intentions. We make choices based on partial information, whereas He has the wisdom to take action based on truth.

    His unconditional love. Our Creator is always motivated by love and constantly has our best in mind. Unless we trust His heart, our view of reality will be distorted.

    His perfect sufficiency. At just the right time, God will provide us with everything we need to carry out His plan.

Frequently, a Christian's trials involve people, often those close to him: relatives, business coworkers, or social acquaintances. Nothing is more consistently difficult than interpersonal relationships. Paul writes in Philippians 2:14-15, "Do all things without murmuring and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world." He tells the Corinthians, ". . . nor murmur, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed by the destroyer" (I Corinthians 10:10). Finally, Peter advises, "Be hospitable to one another without grumbling" (I Peter 4:9). Frankincense represents the pleasant satisfaction God experiences when His children endure without grumbling the hardships of unstinting service, especially to their brethren.


Your dream will never be fulfilled unless you're willing to pay the price that comes with it. And that price is paid not once, but over a lifetime.

First, there's the initial cost. You will have to make personal and sometimes painful sacrifices. You may have to walk away from attractive options and valued relationships because they don't fit into God's plan for your life. Leaving things that have given you your security and your identity will require grit and grace that only God can provide. Paul's résumé included being '...of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews...a Pharisee' (Philippians 3:5 NIV). Paul once had wealth and status. Scholars reckon that when he committed his life to Christ, as was customary, his friends and family would have held a funeral service and considered him 'dead' to them from that point forward. Paul's calling was to cover Asia with the Gospel and write half the New Testament. But great assignments call for great sacrifice. And Paul wasn't alone. 'By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward' (Hebrews 11:24-26 NIV).

So the questions are: Has God given you a dream? Do you have the faith and fortitude to fulfil it? Have you counted the cost and are you ready to pay it?

In my closing, I would like to share an interesting note:

Fields Industries was made great by one man: Sam Fields. He devoted himself to his work, and he made a fortune by his efforts. During his climb to the top, he experienced two divorces; lost both parents, but was unable to attend their funerals because of business conflicts; watched his health deteriorate; and was in part responsible for the suicide of one of his competitors. To his way of thinking, the benefits always outweighed the costs.

Men like Fields are not unusual in our world today. Nothing stands in the way of their climb to the top. Sadly, these men do not realize they have set an inferior goal for themselves. The top of the corporate ladder is far short of the top of the eternal ladder that God has set before us. What does it profit a man to save his life, if he forfeits his soul? Men and women who have sacrificed themselves totally to earthly gain can carry nothing with them beyond the grave. There they will stand naked to face judgment for a life poorly lived. Is it worth the price?

We would probably all prefer to grow in our faith without ever making a mistake before God's eyes, but we cannot deny that missteps are instructive. Failure teaches believers that it is much wiser and more profitable to be obedient to the Lord. That's a lesson we all should take to heart.

We need to be crystal clear about where we are headed in life if we want to ensure that we stay on the right track. Every decision we make and every step that we take ought to be guided by our desired destination. Wherever we go, let’s make sure that we are headed toward God.

Blessings

Raj Kosaraju




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