Faithfulness; The Choices We Make Today Determine Our Lives Tomorrow

I feel like the subject of faithfulness has come up time and time again lately. This is no small topic or theme though. The choices we make today determine what our lives will look like tomorrow.

“Evidence, evidence, evidence, will be the one thing wanted when the great white throne is set, when the books are opened, when the graves give up their tenants, when the dead are arraigned before the bar of God.” J.C. Ryle—Holiness

How can we be so narrow-minded to think that our decisions affect only ourselves? Today’s actions determine the effect we will have on our lives years from now as well as the effect we have on others’ lives. All of our decisions, actions, faithfulness, faithlessness, generosity, greed, successes, failures, plans, dreams all work together in unison to shape the people we become. Kinda scary, huh? How are we cool with doing anything we’re unsure about now that we know our every move affects our future? This is where it becomes important to trust and rely on the scriptures. One of my new favorite verses is Jeremiah 10:23 “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his step.” So who ultimately establishes the way a man should go? Psalm 37:23-24 tells us:

The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

Knowing that God is sovereign, the question becomes, “But will God really work things out for me? What if this idea I have doesn’t pan out? What if I lose my job? What if God calls me onto the mission field? How am I supposed to be faithful if God Himself won’t even show me what to do?”

What was once an exciting graduation commencement speech of “The future is an ocean and you are the captain of your soul! Set sail and claim your destiny. You deserve it!” goes from anxiously unsettling to downright scary.

We pose the real question, “Is the future really not in my hands?”

According to scripture, no.

Yet we have confidence.

God is not going take us where we’re not supposed to be. We are in the palm of his hand it is HIS plan that is being worked out in our lives.

 Philippians 1:6 says: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” When God begins a work of salvation in a person, he finishes and perfects that work. Thus the verb “bring it to completion” points to the eternal security of the Christian.

That, my friends, is faithfulness.

God will never start anything that He won’t finish. You may be going through a tough time at work, at home or in your life somehow, God is not finished with you. There’s this internal shaping, this molding that God is working on your heart to turn more like His.

The choices we make today determine our lives tomorrow. That is true and it is Christ who works in our lives to orchestrate what tomorrow actually looks like.

So how do we stay faithful to God?

By remembering His faithfulness we are spurred on by the hope of the gospel, that confidence. Christ is our confidence. Christ is faithful, so we are to be faithful.

#150

slide1

AWANA—Gradeschool Theological Seminary

What comes to mind when you think of grace?

Growing up as a lad in my AWANA program at church I learned a lot of basic bible terms. One of those being grace.

Even as young 2nd grade Sparky, with my little red vest all patched up like a boy scout, decked out with all the colorful jewels and crowns boutonniere’d to match, I don’t think I fully grasped the gravity of what has been done.

As illustrated in my AWANA handbook, the picture of grace was of the handing over of an undeserved gift. A Christmas present, almost. The way I remember it defined for me me was “God giving me a free gift I don’t deserve.”

Often I think we feel entitled to everything. We’ve been fed by the american culture that if you want something, then hey! it’s yours. “Go on, you deserve it.”

I’m not saying that God doesn’t want us to have nice things. That’s a completely different conversation.

But what do you suppose is all too often lacking when we think of God as only a giver?

A correct view of ourselves.

Until we understand the magnitude of our depravity, I don’t believe we can fully appreciate what has been accomplished.

Ephesians 2 tells us that we: “were dead in our trespasses and sins…and were by nature children of wrath…But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love…made us alive together with Christ.”

We weren’t just floating around on our backs. We didn’t have one hand on the life raft. We didn’t even have driftwood to hang on to.

WE WERE DEAD!”

Cut to “decaying corpse on the ocean floor” scene.

Enter “God’s grace and mercy bringing us up from the grave, from the ocean floor and rescuing us from death to life.”

He did it. I didn’t. I couldn’t.

Encountering God’s grace is realizing that you are dead and that He rescues.

#150

So again, what is grace? J.I. Packer coins it as:

“God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves.”

Sounds good to me. Sounds like a free gift I don’t deserve. I just wish it could’ve been explained to me much better as a young gun in AWANA.