Christianity 201

March 25, 2022

Chasing Achieving the Wrong Things

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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NIV.Matt.7.21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

CSB.Mark.6.36 For what does it benefit someone to gain the whole world and yet lose his life?

Today we have a new author’s writing to highlight. Rachel doesn’t have an “about” page so far, but her blog, In Rachel’s Words is very well-written. In this devotional she talks about the secondary doctrines that often block our focus from the things that matter.

Clicking the header which follows will take you to read this directly where we found it, and then check out some of her other writing.

Does It Matter?

Does “X” Matter?

I had a conversation with a friend, and I said, “X doesn’t really matter. It’s not a requirement for salvation.” I don’t know if offended her when I said that, and at the same time, I wasn’t sure I should have made that statement. “X” is something that really matters to a lot of people. It’s something that matters to me.

What “X” represents in the statement above is not critical for this dialogue. In fact, you can insert whatever it is that you value most in this life as the substitute for “X.” The only substitute you cannot use is God (i.e., the Lord Jesus Christ) because that would be heresy.

So, “X” could be not being poor, never getting sick with a life-altering disease, starting your own business, having a good education, buying a house, having a family, or traveling to as many countries as possible.

Do these things matter? Certainly. Arguably, we might say some of these things matter more than the others. But, what if none of these is greater than the other? What if none of these things matters the most?

I am not confident that it ultimately matters that we are able to achieve or receive what we most value in life, whether it be not to be poor, to be self-sufficient, or have the most epic family. I think what matters is what we did with the life that we were given.

For example, you have a life in which you were born into poverty, and for whatever reason(s), you were unable to escape poverty, your socioeconomic status is not held against you when you stand before the Judgement Seat. What really matters is what you did with the life you had.

Will the Lord say He knows you (Matthew 7:21–23)? That’s what matters.

The answer to that question depends on what you did with the life He selected for you. You can’t pick the family you are born into, nor do you have authority over a lot of other things that do or do not happen to you. But, you can control how you respond to and navigate the life that you have.

How did you treat the other people the Lord placed in your life? How did you treat your spouse and your kids? How did you treat your siblings and your parents? Were you a witness in your spheres of influence? Did you stand for what was true and right when no one else did? Did you suffer for Christ? Did you lay down your life and follow Him (John 13:8)? Was your life a testimony?

Did you say, “Not my will, but your will be done?” (Luke 22:42).

Or, did you go out into the world, dissatisfied with the life you have and manipulate people and finagle situations to get what you want? Did your lack of “X,” even if it severely impacts your quality of life, such as having a terrible cancer, transform you into someone bitter and ungrateful and hateful? I think that attitude of dissatisfaction, disgust and hate for what Lord intended, and/or intentional manipulation of life to get what you want matter far more than “X.”

How did you spend the life you have? How did you use what the Lord has given you—even if it’s difficult or not what you want—for His glory?

What is the point of achieving “X” if, in some cases, you gain the world and lose your soul (Mark 8:36)? One day, both the world and you and “X” will disappear, and only one thing will matter.

Did He know you?


Second Helping: By the same author, here’s a piece where although she didn’t actually use the word, “Deconstruction,” it’s a word making the rounds currently in many of our church discussions, and the first thing I thought of while reading. Check out Demolition or Renovation?.

October 23, 2012

Building Your Platform — Without God

As a blogger I often see articles about “building your online platform.” Perhaps you know people who have dedicated themselves to building an offline platform as well. Like the tower-builders at Babel, they long to “make a name” for themselves. So I was attracted to this article at SermonIndex.net which begins with a verse many of you know by heart, but adds an extra verse of fuller context.  To read this article at source, click here.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” (Zechariah 4:6-7)

There is a busyness that we are all prone to in the work of the Lord. Though there is nothing wrong with being used of God and sharing His truths with others there is a pit of self-promotion that we can fall into.

We can act like it’s by our own strength, power and influence that we will make ourselves successful.

There can be a feverishness of activity in someone wanting to build themselves a a platform so they can promote their messages for God. Yet God’s calling and purpose could be 100 miles away from this person’s present activities.

It can seem from our perspective to have a voice in Christianity world seems impossible. Unless we have a radio show, tv program and best selling book with endorsements. Yet God says “What are you, mighty mountain?” (Zechariah 4:7). God is able to raise up any leader overnight for the entire nation to hear. With God anything is possible as we trust Him.

Sadly the Church takes it cue from worldly business methods much faster then it sits at the feet of Jesus and hears the quiet promptings of the Spirit. I do not believe it is wrong to do simple steps that are practical in building a platform. Yet the dangers are great when we are fixated on these things.

It is God who gives us a platform. His sovereignty even sets up circumstances for us to be used in His plan. God is concerned with primarily with His Church and has had an eternal purpose in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:9).

There is a great rest that can happen when we can trust Him for a platform and simply say to the Lord we are:

“only servants…” (1 Corinthians 3:5)

Servants are only mindful of what their masters want. That is a great test to see if you are a servant of the Lord is if you are preoccupied with what God wants not what you desire. May God keep us in His will as we desire to be used of Him to spread His Good News. Here are some practical points in summation:

1. We are only servants.

2. It is not by our strength but by God’s Spirit

3. It is God’s message, not ours.

4. Busyness does not mean success.

5. God’s ways do not always match up with worldly methods.

6. God has an eternal plan, we can trust Him in that.

7. God raises up leaders in the body of Christ.

Consider this prayer to the Lord today we seek to be useful for Him in His work:

Lord, we are so thankful for the great salvation that you have given us. We only want to show our appreciation for your love to us by doing a work for you. Please us me for your glory so that I can bring your Good News to others and share your truths. Lord please empty me of myself so I can be usable and mouldable in your hands. I accept it is your will if you will give me a platform to speak for you. Amen.

For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.  Ps. 75: 6, 7 ESV