VIDEO Submitting to God’s Purpose – Characteristics of Commitment

Submitting to God’s Purpose

I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. —1 Corinthians 9:22

A Christian worker has to learn how to be God’s man or woman of great worth and excellence in the midst of a multitude of meager and worthless things. Never protest by saying, “If only I were somewhere else!” All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Unless we have the right purpose intellectually in our minds and lovingly in our hearts, we will very quickly be diverted from being useful to God. We are not workers for God by choice. Many people deliberately choose to be workers, but they have no purpose of God’s almighty grace or His mighty Word in them. Paul’s whole heart, mind, and soul were consumed with the great purpose of what Jesus Christ came to do, and he never lost sight of that one thing. We must continually confront ourselves with one central fact— “…Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

“I chose you…” (John 15:16). Keep these words as a wonderful reminder in your theology. It is not that you have gotten God, but that He has gotten you. God is at work bending, breaking, molding, and doing exactly as He chooses. And why is He doing it? He is doing it for only one purpose— that He may be able to say, “This is My man, and this is My woman.” We have to be in God’s hand so that He can place others on the Rock, Jesus Christ, just as He has placed us.

Never choose to be a worker, but once God has placed His call upon you, woe be to you if you “turn aside…to the right or the left…” (Deuteronomy 28:14). He will do with you what He never did before His call came to you, and He will do with you what He is not doing with other people. Let Him have His way.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for. God engineers everything; wherever He puts us, our one great aim is to pour out a whole-hearted devotion to Him in that particular work. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” My Utmost for His Highest, April 23, 773 L


Characteristics of Commitment, Part 1 – 1 Corinthians 9:19-21

Characteristics of Commitment, Part 2 – 1 Corinthians 9:22-23

Strong and Courageous

As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.Joshua 1:5

Each night, as young Caleb closed his eyes, he felt the darkness envelop him. The silence of his room was regularly suspended by the creaking of the wooden house in Costa Rica. Then the bats in the attic became more active. His mother had put a nightlight in his room, but the young boy still feared the dark. One night Caleb’s dad posted a Bible verse on the footboard of his bed. It read: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; . . . for the Lord your God will be with you” (Joshua 1:9). Caleb began to read those words each night—and he left that promise from God on his footboard until he went away to college.

In Joshua 1, we read of the transition of leadership to Joshua after Moses died. The command to “be strong and courageous” was repeated several times to Joshua and the Israelites to emphasize its importance (vv. 6–7, 9). Surely, they felt trepidation as they faced an uncertain future, but God reassuringly said, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (v. 5).

It’s natural to have fears, but it’s detrimental to our physical and spiritual health to live in a state of constant fear. Just as God encouraged His servants of old, we too can be strong and courageous because of the One who promises to always be with us.

By:  Cindy Hess Kasper

Reflect & Pray

What are your deepest and most persistent fears? How can meditating on God’s promises help you overcome your fear and anxiety?

Faithful Father, thank You that You’re always with me. Help me to remember Your promises and to trust in You when I’m afraid.

Loving Your Enemies

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

After preaching the Beatitudes, Jesus tells us to love and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44). But that can feel like an impossible task: Why are evil, broken people—especially those who harm blameless believers for professing faith—deserving of our prayers?

Nonetheless, we should be encouraged to pray, knowing that both Jesus and Stephen did so for the people who caused their deaths (Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60). Think of their words as a reminder that even persecutors are created and known by a God who loves them just as much as He loves us. Remember, the Lord can radically and miraculously change the heart of anyone, even someone who seeks to wound His church.

Think About It

  • Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). How can we do that in today’s world?
  • Are you able to consider those who persecute Christians as people God loves?

Christian Metaphors

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)

Christian believers and their characteristics are described in terms of many colorful metaphors in the Bible. In our text, Christ calls us “my sheep” and has also said: “I am the good shepherd,…and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14- 15). If we are truly His sheep, then we will surely follow Him, receiving safety, peace, and nourishment.

He has also said: “Ye are the salt of the earth:…Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). We are therefore expected to bring the salt of preservation and joy to a bland, tasteless, and otherwise decaying world, and the light of salvation to a dark, sinful world.

In another beautiful metaphor, the Lord Jesus has likened us to fruitful branches: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit” (John 15:5).

The apostle Paul compares us variously to soldiers, to athletes, and to farmers: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ….if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits” (2 Timothy 2:3, 5-6).

With regard to our Christian life and witness, Christ said we must be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). The apostle Paul compares us to individual members in a great body (1 Corinthians 12:27). Peter says we, “as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,” and also are like “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5, 9) to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

There are many other beautiful and meaningful figures of speech in the New Testament, all of which help us to appreciate the richness and fruitfulness of the Christian life. HMM

The Great Goddess Numbers, an idol

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 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. —1 Corinthians 3:12-13

The emphasis today in Christian circles appears to be on quantity, with a corresponding lack of emphasis on quality. Numbers, size and amount seem to be very nearly all that matters even among evangelicals…. The church that can show an impressive quantitative growth is frankly envied and imitated by other ambitious churches.

This is the age of the Laodiceans. The great goddess Numbers is worshiped with fervent devotion and all things religious are brought before her for examination. Her Old Testament is the financial report and her New Testament is the membership roll. To these she appeals as arbiters of all questions, the test of spiritual growth and the proof of success or failure in every Christian endeavor.

A little acquaintance with the Bible should show this up for the heresy it is. To judge anything spiritual by statistics is to judge by other than scriptural judgment. It is to admit the validity of externalism and to deny the value our Lord places upon the soul as over against the body…. Yet it is being done every day by ministers, church boards and denominational leaders. And hardly anyone notices the deep and dangerous error.   SOS153

Oh Lord, convict us! Forgive us! Deliver us! Amen.

The Experience of Knowing

The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God…because they are spiritually discerned. —1 Corinthians 2:14

When the Spirit illuminates the heart, then a part of the man sees which never saw before; a part of him knows which never knew before, and that with a kind of knowing which the most acute thinker cannot imitate. He knows now in a deep and authoritative way, and what he knows needs no reasoned proof. His experience of knowing is above reason, immediate, perfectly convincing and inwardly satisfying.

“A man can receive nothing.” That is the burden of the Bible. Whatever men may think of human reason, God takes a low view of it….

The inability of human reason as an organ of divine knowledge arises not from its own weakness but from its unfittedness for the task by its own nature. It was not given as an organ by which to know God. POM076

It takes the Holy Spirit to unlock the Book. He who reads simply with the eye of the Intellect will miss the glory of the Book, and never realize the soulfood with which it is stored. It is well to ask the light and blessing of the Holy Ghost upon us each time that we read. SAN117

Have Freedom From Fear

Psalm 27:1

Fear is in the saddle. Individuals and nations—none have escaped its onslaughts or its subtle influence. The threat of nuclear war hangs over our heads. Economic pressures, terrorism and violence have led one analyst to indicate that many people today are “living scared.”

The greatest saints have had their halos tarnished as they experienced negative fears. Abraham fled to Egypt when he faced famine. Moses tried to cop-out from God’s call by claiming inability to communicate. David, the killer of Goliath, knew something of fear. Elijah towered among the prophets, yet when his life was threatened by Jezebel, he fled. Repeatedly we read of the strongly expressed fear of the disciples, in spite of having walked and talked with Jesus and having witnessed His many miracles.

Someone has said that fear prepares you for three Fs—flight, fight, or freeze. The negative type of fear disrupts the normal process of living to the extent that it can eventually destroy the individual.

It is never the intention or plan of God for His born-again children to move about with a fearful heart. From Genesis to Revelation God’s message has been “Fear not!” From Paul comes the statement: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

In Psalm 27, the palmist is bold to testify of his trust in the Lord and his power to deliver: “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” (v. 1). What a difference when fear assails if we have a strong sense of security, an assurance that we don’t stand alone; that we have resources which are superior to our own and, more important, to our antagonist the devil. God is in control.

The force of David’s confidence of freedom from fear is underscored by his use of the name Lord, the name that is written in many translations with all capital letters. This name of God, Jehovah, was so awesome among the children of Israel that for centuries they were forbidden to use it. David, in Psalm 27, uses this name 13 times. David knew wherein his strength and power and deliverance, even from fear, lay.

With David, we can confidently ask the rhetorical question, “Whom shall I fear? Of whom shall I be afraid?” The implied answer comes thundering back,

“No one! Absolutely no one! He is in control.”

Edward Deratany, The War Cry