Never think you've done enough or worked long enough to have reached a point of rest or retirement. Such thinking belies the grace of God. "Enough" is for the one who believes that merit attaches to effort. The goodness of God does not cease. The war for your soul and for the souls of others will not end until that final day. Discipleship reaches for the goal of faith, eternal redemption. The destination of the way of Christ, which you walk in faith and diligence, is reached only with your final breath. All the while, consider today is the day of faithfulness. Make every effort in the present. Step by step you will go forward, and in each moment you will give your best. Be diligent, never flagging in zeal, O Soul. God's power for you is sufficient for now.
Some profess their faith in the obscurity of night, John 3:2. Though, perhaps, excusable at first, such profession cannot be maintained over the long haul. It will either come into the light or die in the dark. The believer must fight the good fight of faith in the presence of many witnesses, I Timothy 6:12. He must “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what is promised,” Hebrews 6:11,12.
—Ed Mathews, Plow New Ground, July 18
Focus question: Before how many witnesses has your faith been fought?
The writer has it right:
A church relying on human wisdom, wealth or resources ceases to be the body of Christ and becomes an earthly society.
Ironically the writer belonged to a denomination that had no existence in the New Testament and no basis for its doctrine in Scripture. Let us not be self-deceived. Among us are churches relying on their own resources, working only as far as their eye can see.
In his devotional for Jan. 2, Ed Mathews reminds us of how things work in God's kingdom:
An uncommon control. Delays, setbacks, and detours are routine in the affairs of the kingdom. Yet His cause will succeed, His Church will endure, Matthew 16:18. God knows our struggles. He cares for our situation. His plan will not fail, Joshua 21:45; 23:14; Nehemiah 9:7,8. There will always be troubling developments. Our faith will be tested. Our souls will be tried. But God is “faithful,” I Corinthians 1:9. He did not leave His Son in the grave. Neither will He abandon His people, Psalms 16:7-11.
Let's ask God to help us be faithful in the midst of testing and troubles.
Focus question: What false hopes or unrealistic expectations cause me to be discouraged? What biblical truths will carry us through these?
Can God count on you? Can your family in Christ count on you? Can the spiritually needy of the world count on you? If not on you, then on whom?