Monday, March 2, 2015
Some of you take long, healthy walks on a regular basis, often in a natural and picturesque setting. Quite obviously, you see it often and are familiar with God’s beautiful creation. In some cases, people get so used to these pretty sights that after a while they make no note of them. I knew a fellow who used to, because of his business, drive into the Texas Hill Country daily. Since I am in awe of the Hill Country’s beauty every time we drive there, I once remarked to my friend that he must have been uplifted every day just to be able to see these wonders. He replied that he no longer paid attention to it. Naturally, I was slightly shocked and dismayed that he was “missing out” because I sincerely believe that if he had learned to take second and third glances, he would have seen something new and wonderful in each new day. God’s Word is like that. If we keep our hearts and minds open every time we read it, we can constantly see and learn something new and reap it's benefits.
Such is the case with this little gem I found recently: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and there fore all died.” (2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV) The KJV says: “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” The MW Dictionary says that one of the meanings of the word constrain is “ to force or produce in an unnatural or strained manner.” It is clear to me, then, that this is a reminder that there is no greater motivation or compelling force than the love of Christ. Our love for Christ should be the only motivation we need in order to serve Him daily. Even is sports, there are many who don’t need the cheers, speeches, or pats in the back. The cause they strive for is all the motivation they need.
The reason this should be important to us is because many, many methods are employed to try to motivate people to seek and serve God, and lead them to a real and lasting relationship with Christ. God’s genuine ministers look for ways in which they can more effectively convince people of their need of Christ in their lives. Many have come to Jesus by way of a song, testimony, sermon, or even a miracle, so “ which is the best and most effective method?”, you may ask. Quite simply, it is the one where God is in it. Too often, people are dazzled, Christians included, by preachers who, according to them, are powerful and truly anointed servants of God. Often after they minister, (perform) just about everybody in the audience responds or gets deeply moved by them. Yet, in many of these instances, the feeling that these folks received was temporary and not lasting. Two verses prior to today’s starting text, Paul, realizing that many get carried away emotionally after seeing or hearing such ministers, told the Corinthians to beware about “ those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart before God.” (2 Cor. 5:12 NLT) We can try with all our heart and soul to reach people but in the end, it is God’s working and He gets the glory. God wants all his children to do what they can to bring people to Jesus, but lets not forget that He, and He alone, is the One who does the saving.
Memory verse for the week: “So then, neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” (1 Cor. 3:7 KJV)