While it’s difficult to swallow our pride and admit that we are wrong, it’s always best to take full responsibility for our attitudes, responses, and behavior. That is the only way to walk humbly with the Lord, which pleases and honors Him.
What do you do when you hear people discussing what it takes to get into heaven where one person says they’ve been a good and moral person and the other says they are saved by faith in Jesus Christ? Of course this further begs the question, “What do I need to do to hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ when I arrive in heaven?”
In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the Lord tells of two faithful servants who used what they had been given to increase the master’s wealth. When the master returned from a long absence, he rewarded his two faithful servants and said to each of them, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, 23). Every Christian longs to hear those words from Jesus’ lips someday in heaven.
We are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9), but we are saved “to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus spoke of laying up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20), and His parable of the talents hints at various rewards for those who faithfully serve Him in this world.
To hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from Jesus, first make sure you are saved. The unbelieving will never hear those words, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). And recognize that Jesus is not only your Savior; He is also your Lord (see Luke 6:46). “Serve the LORD with gladness!” (Psalm 100:2, ESV).
Here are some ideas on ways you can serve the Lord:
1. Share the gospel. The Lord Jesus desires us to make disciples, teaching others of the nature and character of God and sharing the meaning of His death and resurrection (Matthew 28:18–20).
2. Help the disadvantaged. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19–31, the rich man is condemned because he doesn’t help Lazarus and because he trusts in his wealth too much. Don’t put self-gratification before the needs of others. First John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
3. Forgive others of their offenses. This isn’t the same as reconciliation or trust, but it means you renounce vengeance. The Lord Jesus modeled forgiveness: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to [the Father] who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
4. View your position of authority as an opportunity to help the people under you, and view your position of subservience as an opportunity to submit to your authority, just as Jesus submitted to the Father’s authority. Either way, you can be Christlike, because Jesus was both master and servant to different people. “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
5. Seek to know the character of God better through church fellowship, listening to sermons, studying the Bible, praying, and chronicling how He seems to have been involved in your life.
6. Recognize that every advantageous position you’re in is because of God, the Source of every blessing: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (James 1:17).
7. Be willing to be unpopular, displaying rare courage like the Good Samaritan in Jesus’ parable (Luke 10:30–37). Do what the Bible says is right, always. “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29, ESV).
8. In introspective moral judgment (evaluating your own character), look at the character of Jesus as a measure rather than rationalize your questionable actions and attitudes. Show humility.
It all comes down to this: love God more than anything, and love others sincerely (Mark 12:30–31). At the judgment seat of Christ, those who are faithful to the Lord who saved them will hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” No true servant of the Lord could ask for more.
(article reprint | Got Questions.com)
I am traveling this week to visit family out west. I will return and start posting again on Monday, the 12th. Stay well and always be encouraged by the fact that God loves you no matter what. Blessings to all.
Have you ever seen a father’s reaction when he discovers three words on the box of a just-bought toy: Some assembly required? What follows are hours of squeezing tab A into slot B, bolting D into F, and then hoping no one notices that steps four, five, and six were skipped altogether. I’m convinced the devil indwells the details of toy assembly. Somewhere in perdition is a warehouse of stolen toy parts.
“Some assembly required.” Not the most welcome sentence but an honest one. Life is a gift, albeit unassembled. The pieces of our lives don’t fit. When they don’t, take your problem to Jesus. He says, Bring your problems to Me! In prayer, state them simply. Present them faithfully, and trust Him reverently!
Remember—we’re still a work in progress. God’s not finished with us yet.
Walking through or being in the valley can be tough. The valley is described or referred to in the Bible as a low point or challenging time in a person’s life. What do you do when you find yourself in these circumstances? Do you resort to anger, drugs, bewilderment or any other substitutionary action that reflects your feelings about your situation? If you’re like most, you probably go through a personal inventory of your actions trying to discover, “what or where did I do wrong?”
There is no need for self-persecution and self-examination. Experiencing valley time is all part of God’s plan for you and me. Some would say they don’t want or need this time. I would agree in part but I also understand what God is doing in my life and yours.
There is a key word to think of when you find yourself in the valley. That word can be found in the 23rd Psalm. It reads in part, “….yea though I walk through the valley….”. Did you see the word? It is the word “through”. God does not intend for us to stay in the darkness of the valley. His purpose is to help us discover Him by increasing our faith and depending on Him to lead us out of our situation.
If you can find it within yourself to praise God during this time you will have the victory. Satan on the other hand will be there every step of the way trying to convince you that your problems are bigger than what God can handle. That is a lie straight from the pits of hell. Do not listen to the lies.
A key verse to remember the next time you find yourself stuck in the valley—“Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world.”(1 John 4:4)
One of our basic human needs is acceptance. Without it, we feel alienated or maybe even rejected. In the Bible, acceptance is often referred to as “favor.” For example, when Joseph was sold into slavery, Genesis 39:4 says he “found favor” in the sight of his master Potiphar and was put in charge of the official’s entire household. Joseph found acceptance and approval because of his exemplary behavior.
Although the Christian faith may evoke a negative response from some, believers shouldn’t be discouraged. A life that reflects Christ pleases God. And in bringing light to a dark world, an obedient life will also bring the favor of many into its circle of influence.
Whose favor are you longing to receive? Do you desire God’s approval or man’s?
Let’s go back to some basics about the bible and what it says about God, Jesus, religion, and other topics often criticized by the uninformed skeptic. In general terms what does the bible have to say in its historical and forthright pages?
The Bible recounts the interaction of God with his people. It is split into two sections, the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT). The Old Testament is the record of God’s dealings with his chosen people, Israel, and covers the time period from the “Beginning”—whenever that was—to roughly 500 BC.
The New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus (shortly before the AD 1 mark), tells of his life, teaching, death, and resurrection, and includes numerous texts written to the first generation or two of Christian believers, up to the end of the first century. A key thing to remember about how Christians read this big book is that they have always insisted on two simple things: first, that the Old Testament points forward to what Jesus would do in the New Testament; and, second, that we must therefore read the Old Testament through the lens of the New Testament.
The Bible is a story that stretches from creation to eternity, giving everything in between a particular shape and substance. In Bible-speak, this is called “salvation history” or “biblical theology,” an account of how God planned, revealed, and executed his purposes for the world.
The message of both the Old and New Testaments is vertical and horizontal, partly about love for God and partly about love for neighbor. The Ten Commandments, which introduce all of Israel’s laws, consist of four commandments about what one does for God, followed by six commandments about the treatment of others. The rest of the Bible, this vast story, concerns God’s remedy—in biblical speak, “redemption.”
Redemption in the Bible is not just a spiritual rescue. It involves three dimensions: God intends to redeem our relationship with him, our connections with one another, and our enjoyment of creation itself. The Bible’s redemptive plan is not just about putting souls into heaven. God wants to redeem all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven—which doesn’t leave much else!