The Servant’s Primary Goal

We make it our aim…to be well pleasing to Him. —2 Corinthians 5:9

“We make it our aim….” It requires a conscious decision and effort to keep our primary goal constantly in front of us. It means holding ourselves to the highest priority year in and year out; not making our first priority to win souls, or to establish churches, or to have revivals, but seeking only “to be well pleasing to Him.” It is not a lack of spiritual experience that leads to failure, but a lack of working to keep our eyes focused and on the right goal. At least once a week examine yourself before God to see if your life is measuring up to the standard He has for you. Paul was like a musician who gives no thought to audience approval, if he can only catch a look of approval from his Conductor.

Any goal we have that diverts us even to the slightest degree from the central goal of being “approved to God” (2 Timothy 2:15) may result in our rejection from further service for Him. When you discern where the goal leads, you will understand why it is so necessary to keep “looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). Paul spoke of the importance of controlling his own body so that it would not take him in the wrong direction. He said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest…I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

I must learn to relate everything to the primary goal, maintaining it without interruption. My worth to God publicly is measured by what I really am in my private life. Is my primary goal in life to please Him and to be acceptable to Him, or is it something less, no matter how lofty it may sound?

By Oswald Chambers

Identifying Self-Rejection

Romans 15:7

As news reports indicate, mistreatment of children is tragically widespread. And kids wounded by abuse can be scarred for life. Fortunately, most people’s experiences aren’t that extreme. But even mild hurts can fester, affecting relationships and self-image.

The Origin. The bondage of self-rejection can often be traced to feeling unaccepted by someone close. Trauma like divorce or a loved one’s death may also contribute to a distorted self-image. Once internalized, this type of thought pattern can lead to negative behaviors.

The Symptoms. If a person has difficulty accepting himself, he may have a tendency to criticize others and interpret innocent comments as personal attacks. Perfectionism and feelings of inferiority are also common. As a result, fear of failure and criticism may lead to procrastination.

Another outcome of self-rejection is unpredictable anger. People who are hurt may find themselves easily frustrated. Such individuals might become loners or feel overly concerned about others’ opinions. For example, instead of focusing on a church service, one may notice what people are wearing and feel insecure about her own outfit. Someone with this mindset can be hard to love because she questions whether she’s worthy of care and affection. Sadly, she may then behave in a way that “proves” her theory.

We find the solution in today’s scripture: We are to accept one another as Jesus accepts us. This includes accepting ourselves. Ask God to search your heart and reveal any areas of self-rejection.

Related
https://stopandpraytv.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/freedom-from-self-rejection/

The Unjust Steward

“And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8)

This parable of the unjust steward has perplexed many Christians, for it seems to indicate that the Lord approved of dishonesty. “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness” (v. 9) also seems to contradict verse 13, when He said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

The apparent contradiction vanishes, however, when we realize Christ was not commending the dishonesty of the steward, but his acute business sense and concern for the future. Neither does the Lord approve of greed or covetousness, but He does exhort believers to be as prudent in investing their money for the eternal future as shrewd worldlings are in feathering their earthly nests. Sad to say, it is common experience that, by this measure, “the children of this world” do conduct their affairs “in this generation” far more shrewdly than “the children of light.” Even more sadly, the latter often even try to follow the example of the ungodly in “laying up for themselves treasures upon earth,” rather than “treasures in heaven” (see Matthew 6:19-20).

The Lord would exhort us, on the other hand, to use our money (“the mammon of unrighteousness”) to make true friends, “that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations” (Luke 16:9). The “unjust steward” was trying to insure his own earthly future, hoping to make temporal friends by bribing them with money that was not even his own.

How much wiser it is for us to use whatever money the Lord has entrusted to us to make true friends, helping to bring them to Christ and building them up in the faith. Then, when we “fail” from this life, we shall enjoy their fellowship and gratitude in the “everlasting habitations” of eternity. HMM

Discerning Leadership

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. —Acts 20:29-30

Within the circles of evangelical Christianity itself there has arisen in the last few years dangerous and dismaying trends away from true Bible Christianity. A spirit has been introduced which is surely not the Spirit of Christ, methods employed which are wholly carnal, objectives adopted which have not one line of Scripture to support them, a level of conduct accepted which is practically identical with that of the world—and yet scarcely one voice has been raised in opposition. And this in spite of the fact that the Bible-honoring followers of Christ lament among themselves the dangerous, wobbly course things are taking….

The times call for a Spirit-baptized and articulate orthodoxy. They whose souls have been illuminated by the Holy Ghost must arise and under God assume leadership. There are those among us whose hearts can discern between the true and the false, whose spiritual sense of smell enables them to detect the spurious afar off, who have the blessed gift of knowing. Let such as these arise and be heard. Who knows but the Lord may yet return and leave a blessing behind Him?

Lord, grant to me “the blessed gift of knowing.” And then be pleased to use me for Your glory today. Amen.

No One for Whom Christ Died Is Worthless

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. Proverbs 16:5

Contempt for another human being is an affront to God almost as grave as idolatry, for while idolatry is disrespect for God Himself, contempt is disrespect for the being He made in His own image.

Contempt says of a man, “Raca! Fool! This fellow is of no worth. I attach to his person no value whatsoever!” The person guilty of thus appraising a human being is thoroughly bad. The gravity of the situation lies not in the fact that a man can cry “Fool!” but that he can entertain in his heart the contempt which the word expresses.

Contempt is an emotion possible only where there is great pride. The error in moral judgment that undervalues another always springs out of the error that overvalues one’s self. The contemptuous man esteems himself too highly, and for reasons that are invalid. His high opinion of himself is not based upon his position as a being made in God’s image; he esteems himself for fancied virtues which he does not possess. The error in his judgment is moral, not intellectual.

Here is our warning: the Christian believer’s disapprobation of the evil ways of men and women must not betray him into contempt for them as human beings! He must reverence the humanity of every man—for no one for whom Christ died can be common or worthless. To esteem anyone worthless who wears the form of a man is to be guilty of an affront to the Son of Man! We are to hate sin in ourselves and in all men, but never undervalue the man in whom the sin is found.

Response to the Word

The word of God is… sharper than any twoedged sword. HEBREWS 4:12

Men and women who read and study the Scriptures for their literary beauty alone have missed the whole purpose for which they were given.

God’s Word is not to be enjoyed as one might “enjoy” a Beethoven symphony or a poem by Wordsworth.

The reason: The Bible demands immediate action, faith, surrender, committal. Until it has secured these, it has done nothing positive for the reader, but it has increased his responsibility and deepened the judgment that must follow.

The Bible was called forth by the fall of man. It is the voice of God calling men home from the wilds of sin; it is a road map for returning prodigals. It is instruction in righteousness, light in darkness, information about God and man and life and death and heaven and hell.

Further, the destiny of each individual depends upon the response to that Voice in the Word!

Father, Your Word contains the precious words of life. I pray today that the Word of God will be proclaimed faithfully—and effectively—to people of every language, tribe and nation.