Sunday, April 29, 2018
Empowered By God To Work Righteousness #JesusFollowers
We are clearly called by Jesus to actively and boldly pursue a mission of Righteous Action on this earth. And by so doing, we help bring about God's Kingdom of Heaven in the Here and Now.
This was the core of all Jesus taught in his Gospel, and there was nothing unclear or confusing in his message, nor has anything been hidden from his 12 disciples, or from us.
To do Good Works, in humility and to the best of our ability, was expressly taught and commanded by the one God chose and anointed at his baptism to be God's chosen example and Master to all humanity.
If we don't accept this teaching, we simply cannot claim his name as that of our teacher. (1 John 2:6)
So, let no one tell us that we are powerless to do good, because God has implanted within our infant souls the Reasonable knowledge of what is good, has given us Scriptural Wisdom to point to what is good, and has chosen and sent Jesus to teach and live out what is good as our perfect example. Then God graciously gives us ongoing gifts of wisdom, strength and courage to continue to do what is good when we ask these things from Him in prayer.
We are in all these ways empowered fully to do all that God asks of us without excuse or hesitation. And for this, we should continually thank and praise God for His gifts.
Jesus teaches us, "Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able." And, "Strive to enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Luke 13:24; Matt. 7:13-14)
By this, we know that we may indeed enter the narrow way of Righteousness, if we strive to do so. But along the way, we can't be detoured by making excuses or adopting "easy" man-made beliefs and short-cuts that let us feel that we are following our Master's way, when we really aren't.
Striving always equates with effort and work. And salvation, like all things worth having, requires work, not just good intentions or vain praise.
Good intentions, or a cheap, works-free faith, can neither win us eternal salvation with God nor enrich our lives here on earth, any more than good intentions alone could build a house, get us an education, find a job, or feed the hungry and care for those in need.
Jesus, who was faithful to God in all things, assured us that we can do all that he did. (John 14:12) And he followed God not with his lips alone but with his acts and with his heart.
Because of this, we need never fear acting, and letting our Works define our Faith.
And we should not fear to act simply because we fear failure, any more than students should refuse to take a test until they are certain they will score a perfect grade.
When we fail to live up to the standards Jesus sets for us, we repent and seek God's inexhaustible mercy and forgiveness. But we must not make excuses for not seeking what Jesus commands, nor hold God responsible for HIS promises if we refuse to strive to fulfill our own.
We should also remember that Jesus' warning for us not to judge applies to our own eternal salvation, which is God's alone to give. We must strive to merit salvation, but humbly allow God alone to be our judge of worthiness.
So, let us Work Righteousness in this world, doing all we can to be an example of the light of God that was born within us, kindled into Good Works by the saving example of Jesus, and inflamed by God's ongoing help and graceful encouragement.