What is my number one responsibility?
In a world with so many problems and situations we can easily get distracted. If we are not careful and caution we can overlook our responsibilities while trying to meet needs and heal hurt. God has given us priorities. It is so easy to get our priorities out of order. Here is my responsibilities and while I am writing them out they will remind me to keep priorities in order as well.
- My relationship with God. If I was to neglect my relationship with the Lord then it will hinder the rest of my responsibilities. It is essential that I make my relationship with God my number one priority. Loving God with all my heart, soul, and strength gives me the ability to nurture my other responsibilities.
- My Spouse. Not my kids, my spouse. My kids are temporary, but my wife is permanent. I love my kids, but if my kids are going to have a successful marriage and family themselves then they must see it lived out in front of them.
- My Children. Notice I said “my children”. Not only did I say “my children” but I must also say “all my children”. They all need my attention, care, and time. I must nurture my relationship with each of my children before I make other children a priority.
- My Calling. Notice I did not say my career, my job, and I didn’t even say my church. I believe that if I make my calling a responsibility then it will overflow into all the other areas. My calling is connect to my career, my job and my church. If I make my calling a priority then it will effect the way I work and the way I worship. Matter of fact, my work and worship will overlap as one big service opportunity.
I am not perfect and I get distracted. I get my priorities out of order from time to time. I struggle just like others, but it helps me to write them out as a reminder to keep things in perspective.
My Place among God’s People
‘Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. ‘ 1 Corinthians 12:27
How is a person suppose to function within the Church? What is our place, and how are we going to “fit in”? I do not believe it is as difficult as some might think. Look at the words in the verse above and really let them sink in. Honestly, I read them and want to pinch myself. Is it really true? God has given me a part within his most prized creation. He has not only allowed me to be a part of the church but he has given me purpose. You and I must realize that being a member of God’s purpose is not about being served, but it is about serving in a position that is much bigger than us.
Understanding what the church is gives us a foundation to finding our place among God’s people. We must first understand that the Church is a body and not a business. Secondly, we need to recognize the fact that the church is not an organization, but a living breathing organism. When we begin to realize this then we will quit trying to treat the church like Apple, Chick-fil-a, or Microsoft. Don’t get me wrong, these are great businesses that have seen tremendous success but they are not going to function like the church. Just because a church has got high numbers, and lots of money does not mean that it is successful in the eyes of God. The church does not CEO’s, but it needs Men of God that are willing to follow God even when it does not make sense.
The key to knowing your part is to understand that each of has a part and purpose. In other words, we are to function within the church. We are serve without hesitation, give sacrificially, and love unconditionally. I am afraid that the church within America has become weak because it members are more concerned about being served than actually serving. Churches struggle to gain volunteers…why? Maybe it is because our attendance does not always equate to being a true member. God did not save us to sit…we are saved to serve.
What would happen if each church member decided to love like 1 Corinthians 13 teaches? Do you have patience? Are you kind? Do you envy? Are you full of yourself? Are you selfless? Are you easily provoked? Do you think evil? These are questions that will dictate whether or not we functioning or malfunctioning.
Luke 24:5 “And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?”
There was a group of people that desired to tend to the body of Jesus. Coming to the tomb they found an astonishing sight. It was empty. While looking around the tomb they were confronted by two men “in shining garments”. The question these men asked is a question that must still be asked today: “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” Today’s society as well as many Christians are doing the same today. They are looking for something that is living in the graveyards of life. The problem was not the who, but the where. They were looking for the right person, but they were looking in the wrong place. Today is no different. We see people looking for the hope that is found in Jesus Christ but they are looking in all the wrong places. Jesus is not down, but he is up! Lets examine some graveyards that lead people away from Christ rather than toward Christ.
- The Graveyard of Religion: The Book of James talks about pure religion. However; pure religion does not come with a Church experience, a religious routine, or becoming a part of some spiritual social club. Pure religion comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. Quit look around and start look up.
- The Graveyard of Relationships: I have watched this over the past few years become a major problem. Especially among our younger generation. Trying to build a relationship with another person without having a relationship with Christ leads to emptiness and heartache. We must shake our desire for acceptance among the world and concentrate our desire in an upward direction. Relationships here on this earth will fade one way or the other, but our relationship with Christ is for eternity. Quit looking among the world and start looking up toward Heaven.
- The Graveyard of Rituals: Traditions and customs have absolutely excluded Christ from the worship experience. We get so caught up in what they did in the past that we forget to look at what God is doing today. Times change, people change, and cultures change but God stays the same. Don’t allow the customs of religious routines, and rituals keep you from experiencing a life of abundance in Christ.
Today’s Challenge: Examine where you are looking today. Decide whether or not you are looking for fulfillment among living things or eternal things. Remember that the things of this earth will soon pass away. The answer to the question is simple: “He is not here for He is risen!” LOOK UP!
Acts 28:26-27 “…Go unto this people and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eye, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
I can’t think of a more prophetic verse than these two verses. We are living in the day when people hear information, but do not implement it. We are living in a time when people see sin, but they do nothing about it. The hearts of people have become so polluted by the things of this world that the line between right and wrong has become very hazy. We have filled our pulpits with great philosophers, tremendous psychologist, and radical businessmen. Charismatic preaching is not necessary for transformational lives. Great speakers are not needed in the area of eternal affairs. It does not matter how we say, or in what form it is presented. There are three things that must happen before a person is to experience a conversion.
- Their Eyes must be opened to the Gospel: If the person does not see the light then they can never move toward the Light of Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ
Their Ears must be opened to hear the Gospel: According to Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We must remember that there is a difference between hearing someone and listening to someone.
- 3. Their Hearts must be opened to Understanding the Gospel: Until the Gospel pricks the heart of a person they will never receive it. The key to the soul is through the eyes and the ears.
We have teachers, preachers, and leaders all over America that are trying to appeal to the people. We can put together the finest of messages, the deepest of studies, and give the greatest illustrations, only to find our words are falling on deaf ears. The reason people are not responding to the Gospel call is because we are relying on our delivery technique rather than the power of the Holy Ghost. If these three things do not happen then we can rest assure; nothing will happen.
Today’s Challenge: We need to become more reliant on the Lord rather than our ability. Begin to pray that God will open your eyes, ears, and heart. Then pray that God will open the listeners eyes, ears and heart.
When people think of worship there are so many things that come to mind. Honestly, worship is one of those words that is thrown around so much that it loses it validity. Sometimes worships gets isolated into a specific act such as singing, giving, prayer, or even preaching. While these are definitely aspects of worship, we must realize that worship is much more than being categorized into one of theses specific headings.
First, we need to realize that worship is the act of applying worth. Therefore, the things we value the most are the things we worship. I would argue the fact that everybody worships something. However; it would be good to answer the question of understanding what it truly means to apply worth to God.
When we read Genesis 22 we see that Abraham and Isaac went unto the mountain to worship God. Abraham being asked to sacrifice his only son Isaac is one of the more stranger request from God. Then again, God does things all the time that seem very strange to our human reasoning. Reading Genesis 22 we see that there is no music, there is no church service, and there is no sermon. So why did Abraham use the word worship? I believe that the one thing we see taking place in this text is obedience. When we are in a operating in obedience to God we are at the same time truly worshipping God.
Where does this level of obedience originate? I believe that obedience to God requires faith. We will never be able to obey God past the strength of our own faith. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes through hearing the word of God. Therefore, we see the value of our Bible within our worship experience. Worship is a matter of obedience, obedience requires faith, and faith is strengthen from the word of God. This makes are Bible so vital to our spiritual maturity.
I am learning how important it is to value and implement God’s Word in my life. Which leads me to a question I was asked this week: “do you possess a Bible or does the Bible possess you?” I am afraid the reason we are so shallow in our worship experience with God is because we have such an anemic experience with God’s Word.
The Importance of God’s Word
God’s Word must be a priority in our lives. I believe we lack depth with God because we are so slack when it comes to spending time in our Bibles. Lets take a journey through some principles that explain why God’s Word must such a priority in our lives.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek him.” Notice what it takes to please God. It takes faith. If it is not of faith then it cannot please God. That alone is convicting enough, because I wander what we do each day that actually requires faith. The principle we learn from this verse alone shows us that our faith is the only avenue by which God is pleased. Now, this leads us the question: how does a Christian strengthen their faith to a level that will be pleasing to the Lord?
Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Now the logic is starting to bring to light the importance of God’s Word in our life. Faith is strengthened through the Word of God. If faith pleases God, and God’s word builds faith then we see that time spent in God’s word is the avenue by which we are able to live a life that is pleasing God. Without God’s word our faith becomes anemic. A life that is weak in faith is a life that is not pleasing to God.
What kind of life are you living that is pleasing to the Lord?
- In what ways does God’s Word strengthen our faith?
- How God’s Word help us understand his will?
- What are some scriptures that God has used to impact your faith?