As time takes us further from our Life Action Summit, I am using my blog to offer pastoral encouragement to my FBCG family. Since the beginning of the year, I have had a simple thought that I have expressed to our church family in our gatherings, “The Lord first…” May Christ be first in our thoughts, first in our commitments, first in our devotion, finances, plans, dreams, goals, and first in our hearts. I long for us to savor His promises as we run the race that ends at His feet.
Jonathan Goforth, who lived a courageous life for Christ in China in the early 1900’s, once wrote, “There never has been a revival except where there has been Christian men and women thoroughly believing in and wholeheartedly pleading the promises of God.” In the last month we have sought the Lord together and have committed to biblical obedience that carry God’s promised blessing.
Paul’s words to the Philippians gives guidance as we pursue obedience to our Savior, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (4:12,13)
To be clear, Paul is calling believers to work out our salvation, not work for our salvation. These verses provide insight into the journey of sanctification in the believer’s life. A process in which we cooperate with God to grow in Christ. We are to appropriate the means of grace God has given for us to mature: Scripture, prayer, worship, church membership, service, giving, obedience, etc. As we live out our faith in Christ alone, there is great encouragement that He is at work in us, “both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (v.13)
However, we should not think that we will be unopposed in our pursuit of God’s glory. We contend with the triumvirate of this world’s system, our rebel flesh, and the devil. To the third foe, the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “…we are not ignorant of his (Satan’s) schemes.” Paul knew well the devastating effects of Satan’s lies upon a believer’s life. He was familiar with how the devil’s methods wreaked havoc in the church rendering her weak and pathetic. (more…)