Well, we lucked out here in Charleston, South Carolina. Hurricane Florence steered north of us and after a few days in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, we came back to a home with no damage or flooding, full power, and no harm done to the family and friends that decided to stay in town. We are so blessed and thankful! I know that not all were as fortunate as we were and my thoughts and prayers go out to those families that were affected. If you are able, please consider aiding in relief efforts. Carolinians and those that live close by, offer your time as a volunteer, or if you aren’t near an affected area or are unable to perform physical labor, please consider donating to The American Red Cross Relief Fund. One of the few ways that my church got involved was by pooling together an offering of gift cards from Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart. These gift cards will go out to churches that know best how to utilize the offering in the areas most affected by the storm. Consider doing something similar at your church!
With the time I had off of work, I had extra time to meditate on a subject I felt the need to talk about with ya’ll. The subject stems from the last meeting I had with my small group. We are currently working our way through the Chase study by Jennie Allen. It was a Wednesday night, mid-week, and we were all sitting around a circular table at our group leader’s home. We had gone through the past week’s homework, watched the current week’s video, and finished our discussion cards. We have a fairly talkative group, so after the discussion it was odd that the group fell silent.
Finally someone broke the silence and said “I don’t know what the right word to describe this study is, or how I feel about it.” Without her saying another word, I said “Heavy, this study is so heavy.” Everyone at the table verbally agreed and showed the same non-verbal gestures, nodding in agreement, wide-eyed as to say “Yes, you took the words right out of my mouth!”
I wanted to mention that I love a Jennie Allen study. When I say Chase is “heavy,” I don’t mean it in a negative way, even though that probably sounds like what I’m implying. What I mean is that I think the study is working in ways that Jennie Allen probably intended for it to. I would imagine she had hoped that her readers would think about the desires of their hearts in ways never thought of before, to wrestle through the process and ultimately have it revealed that what we need to be chasing more of is God, himself. They just aren’t “light” thoughts.
So, this has been my thought all week. If we are chasing something so feverously, how much trust are we going to place with God that he will be our ultimate provision? How diligent are we going to be in our pursuit of glorifying Him in everything we do so that we may experience the ultimate reward?
Let’s look at the definition of diligent:
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the adjective diligent is defined as:
“Characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort.”
Doesn’t this sound like how we should approach our faith; steady and unwavering, earnest and with all seriousness, energetic and enthusiastic for his teachings and his presence? Jesus died for our sins and paid the ultimate price on the cross. He did not take the pursuit to glorify and please his Father or his love for humanity lightly, so why should we? Meditate on these scriptures this week. They all point to why diligence in our faith and everyday life can be our saving grace. Let them be a consistent reminder that if we are steadfast in our faith we will ultimately be satisfied and sure of our pace and our place in life as well as our title as a child of God.
1 Corinthians 15:58
58″Therefore. my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Have you ever been working, whether at a job or even throughout your daily routine and have a moment where you completely question the purpose of what you’re doing? I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve felt this way on multiple occasions. I have those “What is this all for?” moments and I think about how much easier, more exciting, more gratifying ANYTHING else may be. I debate dropping my current situation and all of its baggage to pursue the bigger plans that I believe God has for me. I just know that there is something better out there for me to focus my time and efforts on.
It is so easy to look around and think that other people are so fulfilled in what they’re doing in life that it can be completely disheartening when we believe the lie that we’re the only one whose pastures aren’t green. For me, one of the most difficult things in life and by far the biggest challenge in my faith walk is realizing that I am right where God wants me at this exact time in my life. If God’s timing is perfect, why do I continue to put such a heavy emphasis on tirelessly searching for something better? Why do I exhaust myself trying to achieve and advance when that’s not what God is even concerned about? He’s focused on our effort and the intention of our hearts in drawing nearer to him.
It’s all about renewing our mind and shifting our efforts towards serving the Lord, worshiping and working for Him, and presenting Him gifts in the midst of our current state or situation. Give the Lord your trust and make it known that you are fully reliant and completely dependent upon him. You will experience a level of complete commitment to your mission, fulfillment in your work, and success in all your endeavors that you have never felt before. Continue to abide in him and make it habit to promote his glory in your everyday life. If you continue to be a faithful servant, your efforts will not be in vain.
Be steadfast to the work he has called you to do and let the results be His responsibility.
4″A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”
Have you ever felt like your life was lacking? Is there that one thing that your heart cries out for on a day-to-day basis that can be so loud at times that you lose sight of anything good happening around you? The bottom line is that you feel completely unfulfilled and you’re wondering when God is going to show up to fill your emptiness and allow you to find true satisfaction in life. It has been weeks, months, or maybe even years and you’re not sure how much more waiting you’re willing to do. You don’t want to feel resentment, anger, and frustration towards God, but you do.
When you experience feelings as such, it is important not to shut God off and become lazy in our pursuit of Him. In these seasons we need exactly the opposite, more of him! It is no secret that laziness doesn’t get us very far in life and it’s the same when we look at it from a faith perspective. There needs to be an action on our part which requires going to God and giving him something to work with. He will bless your hands and allow you to do good works, but you have to continually seek him for direction.
When we exhibit diligence and obedience, God gives us not only comfortable enjoyment of the fruits of our labor, but abundance beyond belief. There is a spiritual fullness we feel when we persevere and push through temporary pain and unease. When we continue our service to the Lord and genuinely put forth our best efforts during these seasons of life we experience both pleasure and profit. We will be satisfied.
2 Peter 1:1o
10″Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
In moments when I’m wrestling with my thoughts about my position or status in life, I’ve had to take a step back and really examine, as a Christian, why I’ve chosen diligence over throwing in the towel. I may have even had to take two steps back when I’ve felt like I’ve done all that I can to trust God and his intention, but nothing changes. I don’t know your exact situation right now, but you may be able to relate. So, why, Christian, do we do it? Why should we choose perseverance and continue to trust that God will provide for us when we are tired of waiting and afraid that we’ve been given empty promises.
The simple answer to that question is that if we continue to work towards, to glorify, to seek, we will have a place in His kingdom for all eternity that is way more prestigious than any status, title, or possession that we could ever possess on Earth.
There is an invitation that is being extended to us in this scripture and it is one of utmost security and assurance. It’s an invitation that cannot be extended by any group of people or singular person here on Earth, so stop seeking to please others or to satisfy your own agenda. Seek first to please God.
While you are on this Earth strive to do good works that are consistent with your salvation. Chose to continue good works even when the going gets tough. Make every effort to confirm your identity in Christ and you can rest surely on the promise that you will be welcomed into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
JOIN ME THIS SUNDAY!
Newspring Church will be in week four of a series entitled No Ordinary Father. We all see God in different ways. In this series we are discovering why it’s such a big deal that we see God as our dad and what truly makes him unlike any other perception of a father we have here on Earth! You can access previous sermons and watch with me LIVE this Sunday, HERE!