Matthew 25:20-21 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Even if you consider yourself poor, you’ve been given a lot in this life. God has provided you with time, breath, relationships, jobs, education, housing, money, talent, vehicles, luxuries. While all of the above may not be true for you, at least some of these things have been placed in your care. They don’t belong to you, but you have the responsibility to take care of these things and make the best use of them.
Some squander everything they’ve been given, never fully utilizing their resources for the glory of God and the building of His kingdom. But you don’t have to be one of those people. You have a job? Work hard as though working for the Lord and not for man. (Colossians 3:23) You have children? Work hard to train them up in the way they should go and when they’re older they won’t depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) You have money? Make it work for God. (Luke 16:9) Married? Husbands love your wives, (Ephesians 5:25) wives submit to your husbands. (Ephesians 5:22) Most of all, use your time for the things of God. You only have so much of it.
No matter what it is, it belongs to God and it’s only been put in your possession for a time. Make the most of it for the glory of God. Take care of what you have, but don’t worship it. Worship the One who gave it.
Galatians 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
To serve, or to be served? It’s a choice we all have to make at some point. Naturally, we’re inclined to lean toward being served. Look all around at the culture of this era. Everything is about how much we deserve and how we should get it now. We don’t have to wait for anything and we can be served…even through a little window on the side of the restaurant.
But Jesus came to serve others and He calls us to do the same. Does this sound familiar? You’ve heard it before, but does it resonate? How can you serve someone today? Can you put aside something you want in order to make someone else’s day just a little bit better for the glory of God? When should we serve? How much is enough?
Paul’s letter to the Galatians instructs them never to grow weary in doing good and suggests that at every opportunity to serve one should do so. At every opportunity? This can only be done by someone who isn’t thinking of themselves. This can only be accomplished by someone who puts the needs of others first. By someone who truly loves God and serves Him by serving His people. By a disciple.
Mark 25:44-45 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
It sounds like it should go without saying, but a disciple serves God. Why does this even need to be mentioned? Shouldn’t all Christians by default be servants of God? Well, yes, but the reality is that many who are saved are not servants. Many are more interested in being served than in serving. But that’s not the example Jesus gave us.
Jesus came to serve, not to be served (Mark 10:45). If anyone ever deserved to be treated like royalty, never having to lift a finger, it was Jesus. The God Man could have had a throne and a kingdom right here on earth. But instead He spent His time here serving others, even to the point of giving His own life. This is our example, not one of entitlement and expectation, but of humility and hard work.
We may get so caught up in living life that we think we have no time to serve God, but the truth is we can be honoring Him in all that we do, even at work or at school. We can serve any and all people around us, even in simple ways, and this is indirectly serving our Lord. But loving others, we show love to the One who made them. And we point them to Him in the process.
Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
How can a disciple continuously walk the path set before him/her? How can we know what way is right so that we don’t step to the right or to the left of the perfect course God has for us? We’ve been given a navigator, an internal guide to keep us from wandering.
Jesus walked side by side with His disciples while ministering on the earth. They had a perfect picture of what God wanted for them, but even then they were not perfectly walking on the right path. Even with Jesus among them they made a lot of bad choices. But now in our time we don’t even have Him walking among us. If they got it wrong on so many occasions, what hope do we have?
Jesus didn’t go away and leave us alone. For a time He instructed His disciples to wait, but then when they received the Holy Spirit they were filled with power. They had been sent the third person of the Trinity to dwell within each of them. He guides, He comforts, He convicts. A disciple hears God’s voice within and knows it well. When the Spirit speaks, the disciple listens. It’s a way of life.
1 John 1:3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
What’s the difference between social interaction with someone and fellowship with them? The answer is spiritual. Fellowship is a spiritual connection between people that goes far beyond the social aspect. God is in the mix.
Those who seek after God’s will and truly want to follow after Christ as His disciples have to have a heart for discipleship. You can’t love God without loving other people. Our true fellowship is with God the Father through His Son because of His sacrificial atonement on the cross. We’d have no way to God the Father if it weren’t for Jesus. And our fellowship with God spills out into our relationships with other people.
Bottom line principle is that lack of fellowship with God equals a lack of true fellowship with people. We have to be spiritually connected to the Lord in order to have any deep interaction with fellow people. We have to put Him first and cultivate our relationship with Him or our other relationships will suffer. Our character, our attitude, our love, all are affected by our fellowship (or lack thereof) with God.
Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
A genuine disciple of Jesus Christ follows His example and walks as closely to Him as possible. When praying, the disciple prays as Jesus would. But how did Jesus pray? What does our example to follow look like?
We all know the Lord’s Prayer, when Jesus taught the apostles how to pray, but when Jesus was alone His prayers looked different from those famous lines. When He prayed to the Father, His heartfelt desires were lifted up to heaven. But notice that He doesn’t stop at asking. Jesus, having been sent by the Father to do His perfect will, knew that the Father’s purpose was more important that His own desires. Can we pray like Jesus prayed?
In His greatest hour of pain, during betrayal, fear, and impending death, Jesus was able to put aside His own wishes for those of the Father. Did Jesus really desire for the pain and suffering of the cross to be taken out of the plan? Was He really praying that the very mission for which He had come to earth would be aborted? Or was He showing us how to pray in great times of sorrow? Was He modeling for us what it’s like to give up our own will in submission to the Father’s? This is what it looks like. This is our daily calling as disciples – to give up our own will in exchange for the perfect will of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
What directs the steps of a true follower of Christ? To know God’s will, a disciple must know God. And to know God, the disciple must read His Word. But the way we view the Word has a huge impact on what we get from it.
If we simply view the Bible as stories, suggestions, or even as a rule book, we miss the full impact of God’s self-revelation to us. But if we view it as the very words of God spoken to man, as inerrant, as infallible, as sufficient, we have everything to gain.
God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet, it directs our path. When we seek God in the Scriptures, we find Him there. He speaks to us from the pages, from the Word that’s living and active, hitting us right in the heart with His message. A disciple loves God and so he/she loves God’s Word with a passion. It’s our spiritual nourishment so we should feed on it every single day.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
If you fully surrender your life to Christ, how do you know that what comes next is His will? How can you even know His will? What if you think God’s telling you to do something but you are wrong? Step 1 – Start with the Word.
An essential truth for any believer, but especially new believers, is that God reveals Himself in His Word, the Bible. There is, within the pages of Scripture, sufficient information about God. We can know His character, His love, His plan for salvation, His power, and His glory. Everything we need to know right now in this moment has been revealed through the God-inspired words of the Holy Bible. Start there when you’re searching for truth or for direction. Not sure what God would want you to do in a particular situation? What does the Bible say of His character as it pertains to this?
Following God is not all about feelings or signs. Knowing what God wants you to do is very much about knowing who God is. He’ll never ask you to do anything that contradicts who He is. He won’t ask you to sin, He won’t tell you to give into a temptation. That would go against His nature. But to know His nature you have to study His Word.
The Bible isn’t some rule book handed down from on high. It isn’t a collection of fictitious stories. It’s God’s story of redemption for mankind through Jesus Christ. All of it. Old Testament, New Testament, every word is part of the overall story. We WANTS you to know Him.
How do you live for God? Fully surrender to Him and constantly be transformed by the renewal of your mind. By knowing God more and more.
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
What does God want from you more than anything? Does He want your money? Your time? What is it that He’s after? The answer can be summed up in one word, and you may not like it. God wants YOU. He wants all of you.
Some genuine Christians who have trusted in Christ as their Savior have never made the decision to surrender their lives to His lordship. They have not turned over their lives to Him in complete abandon. But this is what He calls every believer to. He doesn’t expect us to receive salvation and then go on living our lives as usual. No, a disciple is one who puts aside their own desires in exchanges for Christ’s.
But some will never do this because they think the cost is too high. They think they’ll have to give up too much. Maybe this is you. Maybe you think handing over a blank check to God is terrifying because you don’t know what He’ll do. You fear that surrender to His will means He’ll make you marry someone you don’t love or He’ll send you to Africa. But the truth is, when you surrender, you gain His desires in your own heart. You want what He wants. It’s no longer about what you have to give up, but about what you gain.
Have you fully surrendered your life to God, Christian? Are you a disciple or just a believer who thinks life is about your own happiness? God doesn’t care for lukewarm Christians (Revelation 3:16), so we should all pay attention when He says to present ourselves as living sacrifices. That means something…and it’s not optional.
Angels and demons
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
You believe in God. Good. But is that enough? Even the demons believe in God. They believe in His existence, because they know without a doubt that He exists. But do they surrender to Him? Do they get to live in His presence?
How about you? Do you just believe in God or do you surrender to Him? It’s not enough to believe in the existence of God, as we see by the fact that even His enemies believe. Belief that there is a God falls far short of the gospel. In order to live in the presence of God, we have to put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. This is where the demons fail. They believe there is a God, but they don’t trust in His Son for salvation. They try to be gods themselves.
Trying to work our way into heaven instead of taking on the righteousness of Christ is trying to be God. It’s trying to put ourselves in His place. If we do this, we’re no better off than the demons, who believe in God but shudder at the very thought of Him. What separates angels and demons? Not belief, but faith.