Those who honor me I will honor.
-1 Samuel 2:30
The past few days have brought some tough information....tough, but great. Today I studied the "law of the harvest"--we reap what we sow, we reap more than we sow, and we reap after we sow. When a farmer sows his seeds, he doesn't expects results the next day. he expects results in several months. When God reveals areas of our lives that we need to work on, it may take a while to really win that battle over sin. We just have to stay in the fight for "one more round".
Many people (myself included) spend so much time focusing on the pursuit of success, perfection, and just sheer popularity that we miss out on some great rewards that God has in store for us. When we only focus on ourselves we reap "a small world, worry, and heartache." In the world's eyes we can never be good enough anyways, so why even try to impress them? Lift your eyes to Jesus, the author and sustainer of our faith. God does see the big things and the small things that we do for Him. The key is doing good for His glory and not our own. Don't encourage someone just to get something in return. Encourage others because it brings a smile to Jesus' face. Jeremiah 45:5 clearly says, "Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not."
If you want to have a heart transformed by Jesus Christ, you must experience His love and forgiveness. Once you truly believe that Jesus loves you so much that He died for you (John 3:16) you can easily radiate that love to others. Once you have fully experienced the forgiveness of God in your life, you can bestow forgiveness on the people who have hurt you.
Here is a great illustration of a life dedicated to bringing glory to Jesus:
A young German, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was committed to honoring Christ, so he took an unpopular stand against Hitler and his Nazi regime. Bonhoeffer was imprisoned for speaking out boldly against Nazi oppression. Alone, facing a future of prison, loneliness, and death, Bonhoeffer never regretted his stance for Christ. He wrote: "I am sure of God's hand and guidance...You must never doubt that I am thankful and glad to go the way which I am being led. My past life is abundantly full of God's mercy, and, above all sin, stands the forgiving love of the Crucified." The desire for success, pleasure, and approval had been removed from Bonhoeffer's heart. He lived only with Christ's pleasures as his pleasure. Over and over again, he was dragged into court. The Nazi judge demanded he recant. Again and again, he calmly explained that as a Christian, he was an enemy of Nazi Socialism, so they threw him back in his cell. Late in the war, some friends plotted to free Bonhoeffer, but he quickly realized that his escape would endanger the lives of his family and friends, so he refused. On the day he was executed, Bonhoeffer went to the gallows with his head up and his heart full. His faith and dignity impressed his fellow prisoners, and even the guards. So what were Dietrich Bonhoeffer's rewards for a life of faithfulness, obedience, integrity, and eventually a martyr's death? His ultimate reward was the glory that he brought God, not only in his life, but also in his death.
Remember, focus on bringing glory to the King, God will take care of you in the end!
Coming Up....Excuses, Excuses.