Saturday, October 26, 2013

Walking requires effort

Benjamin Franklin once decided to become morally perfect. He chose 13 qualities he felt embodied moral perfection and tried to perfect one a week - at the end of 13 weeks he would be morally perfect. He failed, yet later wrote he had become a much better man for trying and failing than if he had never tried at all. Our situation with the Lord is similar. We will never become morally perfect, as Paul writes, but we can experience maturation as we grow into the image of Christ.

Many people find no satisfaction in the work they do. Their lives lack purpose and meaning. Christians have an alternative source of meaning in their lives. If a Christian does a job, no matter how large or small, to God's glory, then that person will find satisfaction. God doesn't much care what we do, but He is always interested in how we do our jobs. If we do our work without grumbling and with a joyful heart, then we are witnessing to His power in our lives and we are pleasing to Him.

Daniel Kolenda in one of his Bible studies: What If I’ve Already Missed the Will of God? says,
 I love Lamentations 3:22-23: “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (nas). God’s mercy is truly an unfathomable wonder. Often we have a difficult time wrapping our minds around the scope of God’s grace, but it is true—His mercy is new every morning! Every day is a new day. God is willing to forgive and offer us another chance every single day.

One of the most exciting developments of our day is GPS (global positioning satellite) technology. These amazing GPS devices have the capacity to navigate someone, with audible instructions, from wherever they are in the world to within a few feet of anywhere else on the globe they desire to be. One of the wonderful things about GPS devices is that they are full of grace and mercy. If the driver misses a turn, the GPS doesn’t begin to scream, “You stupid idiot. I told you to turn. You missed it! That’s it. Find your own way home. I quit!” It simply says in a calm voice, “Recalculating,” and then begins to plot another course that will correct the mistake. I did hear of one person who, after having missed a turn, heard his GPS say, “Go straight ahead three hundred twenty-four miles and then turn right.” Those kinds of instructions from a GPS are rare, but even if the driver had followed that unusual command, eventually the GPS would have gotten that person back to the place where he wanted to go.

When we miss a turn in our negligence, ignorance, presumption, or rebellion, if we will stop, acknowledge our sin, ask for forgiveness, repent, and receive God’s grace for a fresh start, we will hear the gentle and gracious voice of the Good Shepherd saying to our hearts, “Recalculating.” He will then assign a new course that will get us back on track. It may take extra time and effort. It may be long and painful. It may even require that we “continue straight ahead three hundred twenty-four miles” before the next turn. But that turnaround will come if we keep following Him. God is a master at turning mourning into dancing and creating beauty from ashes.

Walking requires effort, the expending of energy, to arrive at a desired destination. Are any works involved in the salvation process? "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). These works most assuredly do not earn salvation, but at the same time, God requires them. In fact, this verse says we are being created for the very purpose of doing them! Such works are covered within the general term "walk."

Besides requiring effort, walking implies a destination, a goal. When a person walks, he is moving purposefully to accomplish something regardless of whether it is to flip a light switch, shop at a store, get some exercise, or go to work or school. God requires that we "walk in newness of life." It is our God-appointed goal in life and the reason He invites us into His presence. Our lives cannot consist of aimless drifting; we are headed somewhere, even as Israel's goal was the Promised Land.

When you go your own way, you miss the very best part of life. In fact, walking with God is so much better than a worldly life that one day spent in fellowship with God is better than a thousand days out of fellowship with Him. 

Honor is misplaced unless it goes directly to the One who creates, sanctifies, and sustains. God created you for specific tasks to further His kingdom. He wants to use your life--and will allow you to watch His powerful hand at work. Listen for His leading, and praise Him for all He accomplishes.


Raj Kosaraju

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