Thursday, October 29, 2009

Providing Evidence of Who You Claim to Be

By Barbara Henderson
In a recent article, I asked readers, ‘What is the motivating force in YOUR life?’ The motivating force in your life should be your love for the God who saved you. It is easy to say that your love for God is what motivates you to live your life the way you do; but, can you provide evidence that your love for God is the controlling factor in your life? Evidence that God is the motivating and controlling force in your life can be found in these areas:
OBEDIENCE. Psalm 119:2 says, ‘Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with their whole heart.’
This is easy to say, but more difficult to actually do. Are you doing the things that God says to do? And, how could you even know what God says to do if you are not seeking Him wholeheartedly? You have to put effort into obedience. This requires Bible study on a daily basis. It requires that you meditate on God’s words and how to apply His teachings to your life. As a Christian you are no longer free to choose your own way, your own thoughts, or your own pleasures. Isaiah 58:13-14 says,
‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
This is easy to read, but it is harder to put into practice. You will never be perfect at it, but are you even trying?
TRUST. Proverbs 3:5 says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not to thine own understanding.
Trust requires that you go ahead and do the things God says to do even though it may sometimes be against what your feelings tell you. Feelings are fickle to say the least; and they lead you astray.
Trust requires that you go ahead and do the things God says to do even though it may not appear to be the best thing at the time.

PRAYER. Jeremiah 29:13 says, ‘And ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
You are a work in progress. The more you obey God, the more you see that doing the things He says to do will always be in your own best interest. That leads you to trust God more. Yet, you will still feel the call of the world to doubt God and disobey Him. In times of temptation, you should turn to God in prayer. Jeremiah’s encouragement to prayer is to an unwavering and resolute prayer. In the midst of whatever struggle you find yourself, seek God with your whole heart.

REPENTANCE. Joel 2:12 says, ‘Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even unto me with all your heart, and with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.
As you are seeking God wholeheartedly, He will often point out some things in your life that are bothering Him. This is your opportunity to get the objects that are standing between you and a better relationship with God cleared up. You need to change what is bothering God in your life. Your sins stand between you and God. The prevent God’s blessings and God’s answer to your prayers.
The question eventually becomes, ‘Which do I want more? Do I want to hang onto my sin? Or, do I want to get rid of my sin and then present my requests to God with a clean heart?
JOY. John 15:11 says, ‘these things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Joy in the Lord is something that the children of the world cannot understand. It does not depend on what is happening in your life at the moment. Your joy rests on God’s love for you personally; His loving watch care over you; His promise to never leave you nor forsake you; and many other good things that come from a closer walk with the Lord.
DESIRE. You desire to please God in all that you do. Your heart wants to tell of God’s love to the lost. As a committed Christian, you gain a greater understanding each day of the great gulf between the eternal destination of the lost and the saved. Everyone should have a chance to at least hear the gospel so they can escape the torment of hell.
Normally I don’t care for the choruses sung in church today. However, I do like the first line of one that says, ‘I will serve thee because I love thee.’ This is the heart of the matter. God loved us more than He loved Himself. He laid down His life for us. God can give us the capacity to love Him and love others more than we love ourselves. Because we love God, we want to serve Him. Our love for God motivates us to serve Him. It motivates us to ‘lay down the life we thought we wanted for the life God wants us to have.’
I would like to promise you that the life God wants you to have will be a bed of roses from an earthly point of view. It might be. It might not be. I know of a young man who landed on the beach at Normandy June 6, 1944. He did all that was required of him. Then he began carrying the wounded to safety from that bloody beach. Eventually he was killed by a gunshot wound to the head. I know he was a Christian man. I personally talked to two of his comrades. They said there never was a finer young man. He literally laid down his life for his friends. I believe that love of God and of his country was so deeply ingrained in his daily actions that I don’t think he had any real choice in what he did. He did his duty and then continued on because of his love.
Do you think you would have been a hero that day? Would you have done more than was required of you? Would you have even done what was required of you? There is no way to tell. But, we can know that the Hollywood version of someone with a totally messed up life saving the day when the chips are down is NOT going to happen. If you want to be the one who pleases God when the chips are down, you have to begin today showing your love and respect for God, and the people He has put in your life. You have to treat them like you want to be treated. Obey God; keep the commandments; love others the way God loves them whether they deserve it or not. This is possible when you desire to please God more than you desire to please yourself.
Now, what was the end of the young man who died 6/6/44? Because he was a Christian, he went straight into the arms of God. Most of us will not be called to face such a situation. We are called to die to self daily. We are called to lay down our lives in order to do the things of God. We don’t know what will happen to us if we let the love of God be the motivating force in our lives. We don’t know if we will live a long and blessed life, or have a life that is cut short like the young man who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. In the end, death is certain regardless of the length of our days. And, after death comes the judgment.
For the Christian, eternal life is secured. But, to hear ‘Well Done!’ from God is not. That is determined by how we live our lives now. It is time to do a reality check in your own life. (I did one on my own life already. The results are ‘needs improvement.) Do you see obedience to God’s teachings in all that you do? Do you see your trust in God growing? Do you see your prayer life growing? Do you see your heart as more tender and repentant than it was just a short time ago? Do you see yourself having joy even in heartache? Do you see your desire to please God growing? Do you see your desire for God’s company growing? Do you see your desire to tell the way of salvation to the lost growing? These things provide evidence that God is the motivating force in all that you do.
The song for this article is ‘Brighten the Corner Where You Are’. Often we are waiting for an opportunity to do a great deed. That opportunity may never come. Actually, hopefully, it won’t ever come. Remember the young man on Omaha Beach on D-Day? He had the opportunity to do a great deed. He did it. He wound up in heaven really fast. Just be faithful where you are to do things God requires of you. You won’t be sorry.
Thank you for reading my article.
Barbara Henderson

‘Brighten the Corner Where You Are’
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!
Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
Let not narrow self your way debar;
Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Brighten the corner where you are.