by Ralph Mahoney
Do you want to be powerful in your attack on Satan? Powerful in your witness for Christ? Successful in building a growing church?
The principles shared in this article put at your disposal the powerful truths that can transform your life.
TO KNOW HIM…IS TO PRAISE HIM
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself…they shall proclaim my praise.” (Isaiah 43:18-21)
“. . .This people have I formed for MYSELF! . . .”
Why has the Lord called you? Did He call you for the ministry? Has He called you to be a missionary in a far-off country? Perhaps you believe He called you to be a good husband and father.. .or just to be a good Christian or church leader!
Consider what the following verse says: “God has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). Also, consider the purpose expressed in another verse: “This people have I formed for myself ” (Isa. 43:21)
The primary reason God has called us if for fellowship with Himself, not for what we can do for Him. When God first created Adam, there were no lost heathen to save, no churches to staff, no gospel to preach, nor was there any kind of church ministry. God made Adam to enjoy sweet communion with him.
God’s first concern is still the same: our fellowship with Him and with Jesus, His Son. That is the essence of why we are called.
We are not saying that God’s calling doesn’t involve service: God called Paul, for example, to be an apostle, to preach the gospel, and to stand before kings and governors for His name’s sake. But we must be careful to put first things first. God intends that our service to the body of Christ and to the lost proceed out of a relationship with Himself. God wants us to make our relationship with Him our first priority.
BUSYNESS DISTRACTS US FROM FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
Luke 10 records Jesus’ visit with Mary and Martha which serves well to illustrate this principle: “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’
“‘Martha, Martha’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her”‘ (Luke 10:38-41).
A Mary and Martha dwells in each one of us. As our Christian life progresses, one or the other will take preeminence in our experience as a result of our particular point of view, the influence of our culture, or the influence of our religious heritage. Unfortunately, Martha is usually the one who prevails. How easy it is for those in Christian service to gradually, almost imperceptibly, let their work crowd their relationship with the Lord out of their experience.