I can’t tell you how many times in the last few months I’ve opened a new word document to write a blog and banged out a few lines on my keyboard only to get frustrated and snap my laptop shut. The perfect story or the ideal quote would never come to my mind as I sat to write, But I don’t need to have a perfect story in order to share with you what He has been doing. My purpose in writing these blogs is to share in hopes that God will stir something in your heart to seek after Him more. And I have confidence in the power of His Holy Word,
“So shall MY word be that goes forth from MY mouth;
it shall not return to ME VOID,
but it shall accomplish what I please,
and it shall PROSPER in the thing for which I sent it.”
He has been showing me so many things about my sinful heart and His perfect will throughout this summer. I started keeping a notebook of my favorite verses; some were verses I had memorized as a babe in Sunday school and others were less familiar but equally as powerful. Each of my next blogs will be about one of these verses. Today, 1 Corinthians 9:19 –
“For though I am FREE from all,
I have made myself a SERVANT
to ALL, that I
might WIN more of them.”
Paul is talking about full time ministry and the ways ministers earn their living so they can teach the Word. Two things came to my mind as I pondered this verse. The first being, those of us in the body should be so eager and generous with our material goods to those that minister to us.
Secondly, I was convicted by the way that Paul wrote this verse. He’s bound as a servant, but he sees it not as bondage of cruelty or punishment, rather as a bondage of love. He chose bondage.
What a foreign idea to people who live in a world where we rave about freedom and rush to escape responsibility.
How little am I willing to give up to advance the spreading of the gospel? My inability to regularly give the Lord a tithe of my income, a few minutes reading the Bible, some time every day in prayer seems careless and disinterested at best. The things in life that I really care about are evident in the time and money that I spend on them. I exchange over 3,000 text messages a month, spend unknown hours with friends and ninety percent (sometimes more) of my income on myself.
What kind of servant am I? …a servant to myself obviously.
Pronouncing myself to be a Christian, trying to live by the standards God sets and I find myself failing miserably the whole time because my heart is still rooted in selfishness. In his letter to the Philippians Paul says,
“For me, to LIVE is Christ
and to die is GAIN.”
So how can I possibly be as great and Godly as Paul? He’s basically a saint, that is if you’re Catholic; he wrote so many books in the Bible; he went to jail for the Gospel; martyred for the work of the Lord. But not to fear, all of this was not done by Paul’s own strength and will. That kind of heartfelt dedication isn’t possible without Him. Paul knew of his weakness firsthand. To the Philippians he explained,
“For I can do ALL things
through CHRIST who STRENGTHENS me.”
All this to say, look at how you spend your life, time, energy, money and learn what your priorities are. You may say you’re a Christian, which means follower of Christ, but are you really? Though you are free from all, free in Christ, are you willing to bind yourself by love for Christ, as Paul was to serve Him? Oh how lost and distracted we are. I pray for myself that I can wake up every morning and give my wicked, lying, deceitful heart back to Him who created me and knows me and my every thought.
“Then Jesus told his disciples,
‘If anyone would come after me, let him DENY himself and take up his cross and FOLLOW me.
For whoever would SAVE his life will LOSE it, but whoever
loses his life for my sake will FIND it.
For what will it profit a man if he GAINS the whole WORLD and forfeits his SOUL?
Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?’”