Saturday, August 22, 2009

Devotional - It Is Finished

Good morning my friends. It is a beautiful day that the Lord has given to us. You know, he can end it at any time. The trumpet could blast today and it is finished with. It is good to live each day with the urgency of it being the last day. That way we remain more thankful for everything.

We have a disease in my church; we find it hard to finish what the Holy Spirit begins. We start off everything well but then we let it lapse or just fade into nothingness. It is not just my church. This disease really exists in many places because it is what we do as individuals. We are emotional creatures and often we allow our emotions and circumstances to dictate our moods and desires. In a very short period of time we can experience many highs and lows, often allowing them to effect our actions.

This is the reason why we need the strength, encouragement, power and direction of the Spirit throughout our day. Without him it is impossible to stay the course and we need to stay the course. Jesus warned us:

"No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

There are many costs to following Jesus, not the least of which is faithfulness to the tasks we are given. Paul addressed the Corinthians on this matter concerning the collection he was making for the church of Jerusalem:

And here is my advice about what is best for you in this matter: Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have. vs. 10-12

This is specific to the collection for Jerusalem but it is also the basic premise to faithful service: let your eager willingness to do it be matched by your completion of it. It is a terrible testimony to begin a service of some sort, a project in the name of Jesus and then just let it fade away to incompleteness. People say "My heart just isn't in it any more". Yes your heart is a good place to look because God does not call us to tasks or experiences unless he intends us to complete those things. Too often we do not complete it because we allow our passion for Jesus to fade or our dedication to wain. Relationships take effort, they take time, they require sacrifice, they are a lot of work.

People are looking for revival; so am I. But I do not want a revival that will tickle my fancy for a little while and then move on. I want to see a deep seed growing and producing much fruit in the Church, something that will wake up our faithfulness and determination to see it to the end, despite the cost. I want to see something that will match our earlier eagerness, that will compel us forward to completing everything that we have set our hand to do. It is a terrible testimony to who Jesus is for us to walk away and leave it undone. Remember who he is and what he has done:

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. v. 9

Jesus hung on the cross and said "It is finished". Will we be able to say that about at any point in our life or at the end of our life? Will we be able to say Paul's words:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. vs. 6-7

Faithfulness is not about your emotions or feelings. Faithfulness is when you submit your emotions, feelings and will to the will of Jesus. Faithfulness requires a daily renewing of relationship and purpose. It requires a great prayer life. It requires our acceptance of the strength and determination the Spirit offer us every day. It requires a love for Jesus that surpasses everything else in our life. It requires the knowledge and acceptance of it, that what we have been called to we are required to finish, to take it all the way, to complete it. Hold on to these words today:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

May you find your strength in Jesus today to be a faithful servant of our Lord, King and brother. And do not let go of the revival that is rising in you. Be more. Do more. Expect more.

"Let your eager willingness to do it be matched by your completion of it."

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