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Friday, September 2, 2011

God Calls Us to Inconvenience

Have you ever thought how different the lives of the heroes of our faith would have been if they had not answered God's calling? Moses would probably been a rich man with sheep, camels, goats and cattle. Paul would have risen in the ranks of Judaism and died an important man. Peter would have fished every day and died an old man with many grandchildren.

Yet, each of the people who followed after God gave up what they were doing in order to do what God called them to. Noah spent a hundred years building a boat. Abraham left the land he knew. Gideon opposed his own family in order to follow completely after God. Elijah challenged a king. Paul went from being the persecutor to being the persecuted. God simply calls people out of their convenience to His inconvenience.

And why would you do this? Isn't it easier to tell the church you won't teach Sunday School so that you can go where you want each week? Isn't it easier to spend your money on the things you want rather than tithing to God? Isn't it easier to worship the Greens at the Golf Course than God at the Church House?

Yes, it is much easier but no one ever walked with God without walking in His calling.

The Christian life requires a total commitment which will always be seen as an inconvenience to those who refuse to walk in the Christian life. The cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is your life. You give it to Him to receive the life that He will give to you. Only those who have accepted this life that He gives can explain the pain they endure so that they may know Him more.

Someone will walk to a pulpit this Sunday and tell people that everything has been wonderful after he gave his life to Christ. He will neither understand what he has said nor has he truly experienced giving his life to Christ. He has walked an aisle, made a verbal commitment, been baptized by water and striven to continue his life without any inconveniences that this "faith" may bring. He criticizes his pastor, refuses to tithe, ducks opportunities to serve, avoids true spiritual worship and puts a Christian symbol on the back of his car.

Are we Christians merely because we say we are or because we accept God's calling?

I really can't explain why a person would go through the life of inconvenience if it weren't for the surpassing greatness of knowing His Lord deeper and stronger because he has followed God's calling. The life of inconvenience in God's calling is a priceless taste of heaven for those who grasp it. It is hell for those who refuse it.

Philippians 3:8-11 (ESV) 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

1 comment:

Anthony Chia said...

When we stress works/purpose, we are being accused of preaching salvation by works; on the other extreme, there are those who preach works/purpose as NOT essential for a Christian life; Are works and bearing fruit really optional?

Preachers who preached works or bearing fruit is optional are often welcome, for the message is easy; who does NOT like to hear that we are saved to just bask in grace?

Once, a Christian brother told me that he was thinking of changing church. I asked him why? He said, for some time that he had been with the church, everything was fine, but now that pastor repeatedly asked the congregation to serve, in the light that the congregation had grown. So, now the pastor is NOT liked or loved because he is imposing inconvenience to the members! Should he just bypass encouraging members to serve, go instead to pay for some more paid full-time pastors to serve the members' needs?

Are there no requirements of God in His Word for us to serve our brethrens and those not yet our brothers and sisters? Obviously NOT. Just to list a few places where works and bearing fruits are exhorted: (1) Jesus’ narrative of “Who are the sheep and who are the goats”, (2) Eph 2:10 - we are saved for good works (So many, just take salvation message of Eph 2 to only verse 9. (3) Apostle James said, "Show me your faith, and I will show you my faith by what I do." (4) Love your neighbors - Is God talking about loving by no action, no serving? No. (5) Jesus said only those who does the will of the Father will enter the Kingdom of God. What is the will of God, do nothing? no serving required? (6) Who do we say we are? Disciples of Jesus? What do disciples do? They are to do what their master did; what did Jesus do? Jesus came to serve, so isn't serving required? (7) What about parable of the barren fig tree? What did Jesus said would happen to the barren trees? Aren’t trees metaphorically referring to us?

Is it really, we do what we want or do nothing, and we can still be assured of eternal life in Heaven with God? Adam was created and assigned works (before the Fall), and that works was to take care of the Garden. Are you sure, you are redeemed for just basking in grace, with NO necessity to do works or bearing fruit? Where is it said that sons of God do NOT need to work, in Scripture? Jesus, the Son of God, works; He did the will of God, bore fruit, was a servant; are we, as sons, above The Son of God? Do you truly believe you can hide under the overly grace preachers' pretext of "Had God wanted, His love would have moved you to love, to serve, etc", and so, since you do NOT feel compelled by God's love, it is no fault of yours and no part of yours? It is all God’s part! The New Testament is full of commandments, commending believers to do this and do that, and to abstain from this and that; they are NOT if you like, you can do this, if you don’t like, you can just ignore it. Is the Bible only for the selected few whom God told them they are called (to serve), and NOT for the rest of us? The Great Commission, NOT for you and I, only for Ps Prentis? Yes, Christians are to have a restedness, but restedness is NOT inconsistent with works; Jesus did NOT tell the weary and heavy-laden ones to do nothing, but to take on His yoke (Matt 11:29-30) Yoke is work! Are we saved to do our own things? What is doing your own things? Yes, that is putting "I" first, and what is that? Taken to the extreme, rebellion against God!

How much must we do? I have no answer, and I do NOT think anyone has the answer that applies to everyone. But I am convinced that we have been called into salvation, we are called to service. The narrative of “Who is the sheep and who are the goats” did NOT specify the quantity, but pointed to the need to do good works and bear fruit. I consider minimally, every believer should go do something, even being an usher, is better than doing nothing, and then see from there what the Lord would have you progress to.