Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trials and Persecution 4: Proper Focus

Last Thursday night, I heard an elementary-age child preach a short sermon to our church's congregation. If you can believe it, he actually presented a truth that I think many Christians desperately need to hear. As he preached on faith, he proclaimed simply,
"Does faith have a reward? Yes you can please God." 

It is not everyday that we consider the very act of pleasing God a reward in and of itself. Typically we think of pleasing the Lord as a means to an end. We consider it a prerequisite for receiving blessings in this life and the next.

Now indeed there is nothing wrong with desiring blessings in your lives, but why is that the sole reason we serve God? Shouldn't pleasing the Lord truly be a reward unto itself?

After all, when we make our friends or spouses laugh, we accept that smile as a reward for our efforts. We take joy in pleasing those that we care about and that are important to us. Indeed we will go to great lengths to ensure that we please those close to us, not for some ulterior motive, but just for the purpose of seeing them happy.

But who in our lives should we care about the most or be the closest to, but the Lord? We all know that the Lord has made many wonderful provisions for us whether in suffering or not. He with no obligation to whatsoever, has gone out of his way to make our lives worthwhile while we are basically nothing in comparison to him.

I John 4:10 states simply,
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

God loving us is not a trivial matter. It's not what one would expect in such a situation. It's not the norm for someone so magnificent to condescend to love someone so below his station.

At risk of belittling this love, look at class divisions today. It can be hard for a pastor to respect a prostitute, but it is usually not difficult for a prostitute to respect a pastor. Amplify that by infinity, and you have Jesus and us.

It should be very easy for us to love the Lord for what he has done for us. In so doing, we would have no other purpose than to sit and think about living entirely for him. As the banner I've mentioned previously states,
"He died for me. The least I can do is live for Him." 

If we truly understand these principles when we are in a trial in our lives, the trial begins to be inconsequential. It becomes rather light in comparison to the goal that is dominating our lives to serve and please the Lord, no matter the cost.

And that should be our focus, whether we're in a trial or not.

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