In the last two posts we have been talking about God's ways. Including what God Himself is like, and why and how He does things. We learned why we should be spending our lives studying God's attributes and personality and then we saw the importance of seeking to imitate Him in all areas of our lives. As His dear children and beloved, we should actively be spending our time learning how to imitate our Father in every way possible. Even though we don't fully understand why God does things the way that He does, we still continue to follow after His ways. To us, it makes no sense to give our enemy a cup of cold water. If he's thirsty then let him be thirsty,we say. Yet that's the way God says we are to deal with our enemies if we ever want to be like Him. So instead of doing what comes naturally, we do what Jesus would do. We give him a big, refreshing, cup of cold water. And so we strive to imitate Him, even when we don't understand. And by doing this -- we please Him more and more, day by day.
We also learned what things are important for us to focus our attention on in this lifetime and what things are simply a waste of our time. We understand now that God is also our Father. Jesus revealed Him to us as our Father and not only as our God. He said, "My Father and your Father, my God and your God." It is He, that all fathers on Earth have been named after. He is the One and the original One. But especially and more precisely He is Father to all of us who have now become part of His family, through Jesus' shed blood. To us who have been born of His Spirit, begotten of God, He is now truly, in every sense of the word, our Heavenly Father.
We then discovered through research and by our own experience that one of the things that God especially loves and prizes in all of His creation is obedience above every other goodly attribute. And that if we possess this quality, and if it is a dominating factor in our personality, it will set us apart from others and make us a preferred vessel, fit for the Master's use. We learned that obedience will also, more than likely, accompany a meek and a quiet spirit. Qualities of character that are so very precious in God's eyes. But that men, may or may not, esteem valuable at all.
Are you starting to get an understanding of the things that God likes and the type of person He is drawn to? The things that God searches for, are so unlike what we value. In our world, many people may mistake meek, quiet and obedient people as insecure, weak, losers. In our world, the bolder and more out going, and rebellious you are, the better. The squeaky wheel gets all of the attention, right? One thing I know, is that God is not impressed with loud mouthed, pushy, squeaky wheels.
In studying God, we find that He is only comfortable around certain people. His Spirit may feel out of place and uncomfortable in certain homes, in certain people and even in certain churches, from congregation to congregation. Notice, that every man whom God chose in the Bible felt "little in their own eyes". I'm thinking of King Saul, and David, Gideon, the Apostles and even us believers. The Bible tells us that there are not many chosen, who are rich or famous.
(1 Cor 1:26)
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
That was no accident, but was by design. We were chosen so that God wouldn't have to listen to any bragging about how good we are. Or that the things that He wrought through us were accomplished by our own power.
(1 Cor 4:7)
7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
God will not share His glory with anyone else. It is His glory, and to Him it is due, and God forbid the man that heaps glory upon himself or takes credit for what God has wrought through him. God hates arrogance and pride and He knows that any goodness we have was given to us by Him.
13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
We also learned, without a shadow of a doubt, that even if we should please God by exercising great faith and by that faith, even be able to move mountains, still, without obedience, it all means nothing, to the One who matters most of all. Scripture plainly tells us that without love, faith means nothing. But we also know that obedience equals love, in God's eyes. Because without love we won't obey Him and if we truly love Him, that love, far from being hidden, will be manifested, in our obedience.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Obedience: It's a beautiful word if you really think about it. I love when my children obey me. I even love when my cat obeys me. When she humbly submits herself to me anyway, not doing her own will, but what I want her to do, it melts my heart. On the other hand, when she won't obey me, it makes me frustrated and angry with her. There is something about an obedient heart that is very beautiful and I can relate to Gods heart and why He values it so highly. You can't buy obedience. You can't bottle it and sell it. It must come from within and grow on its own. That precious substance can be found in a humble heart. Meekness and obedience seem to go hand in hand, and our God absolutely loves a humble heart that has been exercised in both.
The effects of obedience is to be filled with inner peace, being encouraged by faithfulness, with the promise of present and later rewards from the One who has promised and can always be trusted. There are good things in store for those who have learned how to live within obedience's boundaries. Discipline factors in. And wisdom has taught us truly, that instruction and reproofs are the way of life. The way of the Kingdom. God's Kingdom. God's ways of doing things. God's ways. We should always be learning and going higher and higher, and deeper and deeper, into the things of the Spirit.
If you know anything about God at all, you already have experienced that He is also a rewarder of those who diligently seek after Him and those who put forth effort, striving to please Him. Those who do good according to His standard and never measure themselves by the standards of men. Because we already know, from what Jesus told us, that what may be highly esteemed among men still may be an abomination in God's eyes. So we have to be careful to check our hearts that we are not doing, what we do, so that men will think well of us. But we should instead, be concerned with the praise that comes from God only. That's how Jesus lived and He never gave Himself over to pleasing men.
(Mathew 22:16)...Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
24 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,
25 And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Through the teachings of Jesus Christ, we have learned that our lifelong focus should always be to please God first, before everybody else. Every good thing we do should be with a mind towards God first, otherwise its all for nothing and we lose our rewards. Rewards. Jesus put great emphasis on rewards.
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no REWARD of your Father which is in heaven.
It is He (Jesus) who brought up the idea of rewards in the first place. It was Himself, who gave us the idea of later rewards, and carefully focused our attention on those things. Jesus wants us to think in terms of future rewards. Men had never before thought of God the Father actually rewarding us for our service or obedience. They had only figured that when they obeyed God, they were doing what was expected of them, and that it was too much to hope for rewards. Well that may be true of demon gods, but the One true God, God Almighty, is a God of love. And one of the ways that He expresses His love is in giving rewards to those who obey Him. He rewards those who love Him, starting with the gift of Eternal Life.
However, all rewards are not free. They must be earned. And there is a time limit with which we may earn them. They may only be earned while living in this present life. Once we die, it's too late to earn any more rewards. Jesus said that if we don't obey Him and live differently than the world around us, then don't count on any rewards. Rewards are only given to those who obey Jesus.
(Mathew 5:44) Jesus said,
44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye ? do not even the publicans the same?47And if ye saluteyour brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect
(Proverbs 25:21) If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.
( Rev 22:12)
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my REWARD is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
Don't let any man convince you that the work you do for the Lord doesn't matter and that we will all have the same reward in Heaven. It isn't true. That's not Gods way.
So according to scripture, to actually get the reward we must obey first. We have to run this race lawfully. We have to compete according to the rules. Rewards aren't just for the taking. They are not handed out indiscriminately. Rewards are given when we meet the requirements laid out in scripture. This is God's ways. He wants us to put forth effort and strive to do good, against our opponent (Satan) who every day does whatever he can, what ever he is allowed to do, to keep us from being obedient. On the contrary, more than likely he will try to cause us to be disobedient, (just this time won't really hurt, will it?) sound familiar? But it does hurt us. Every time. Don't give in. Be strong and say No!
Have you discovered Satan's demons infiltrating your thoughts with their bossy ideas that run counter clockwise to the commands of Jesus? Cast them down in Jesus' name with the appropriate scripture! Fight them back and fight them hard in Jesus' name! His name was given to us for this very reason and it's what God wants us to do. Gods ways is to fight back the enemy in our own lives and wherever we find him in other peoples lives. Fight fight fight! in Jesus name! God wants us to fight His enemy in Jesus name.
Nobody knows yet what our rewards will be, but we do know that according to Jesus that they can be lost, by lack of diligence, or by taking our salvation for granted, or by being lazy or for sinning and of course for disobedience.
Eye has not seen or ears have not heard those things that God has prepared for those who love Him. Whatever these rewards are, they are going to be good and we are all going to desire them greatly. On the other hand, if we lose them we will suffer a great loss.
(1 Cor 3:13)
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Believe me, it can't be any plainer then that! We will suffer greatly if we lose our rewards. This teaching should be in all of our churches so that men and women would carefully live their lives, storing up treasures in Heavenly places, where moth and rust can never destroy them.
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Rewards are very important. And God wants so much to reward us for a job well done. But He will not reward us when we fall short. That's not His way. God never rewards disobedience. That's just His ways. Maybe your parents did that, but don't misunderstand God. He will only reward those who are well acquainted with His ways and have taken the time to learn how to please Him.
His lord said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
So take the time to learn Gods ways. Learn all about the way that He does things and as best you can, to the best of your ability, follow after His ways. Imitate Jesus. What would Jesus do? Become familiar with how he reacted in tight and uncomfortable situations and then go and do like wise. He is our example of perfection. Be closer to hitting the mark today, then you were yesterday. Never give up trying to perfect holiness. It is possible to achieve. Let's strive to imitate Jesus, God's holy Son, in everything.
God Bless Everybody,