Divine responsibilities: Let me begin with that this article is not about questioning one's salvation but rather the mirror image of one's commitment to Christ vs. God's divine intervention in the lives of those that do so. The main message that I see in those seeking God's divine interaction in their daily lives, is that it also requires a commitment to the divine responsibilities that are always attached within that divine relationship. In Scripture, I do not see one without the other. Take a look at Jesus Himself, how God was being manifested in His life but Jesus had to give up His own life here on earth due to His commitment to His Father. He was first tested by the Devil and being tempted, overcame all temptation, showing Himself obedient, doing the will of Him who sent Him, His heavenly Father. Consider Abraham, Moses and the others that gave up their personal lives to commit to God and see how God did miracles through those that were committed from the heart. In other words, all the gifts of God come with a sincere need to commit. Consider in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, how he had a divine encounter with Jesus on that road to Damascus where he committed by saying,
Acts 9:6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?'' And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." 7. And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one.
Is it not clear that those that want God's divine interaction also has to have a willing heart to commit all, to God? The apostle Paul made a decision to commit to the will of God. For this, a lot of miracles were being done through him for he was found responsible before God. Responsible is not defined by the strength of man but a condition of the heart before God. Let's look at the gifts that were appointed to the church. Let's for a moment focus on the least of the gifts, the gift of tongues. Here the true church is given a gift but what is the responsibility that was attached to that gift. To communicate the wonderful works of God to those of other languages.
1 Corinthians 14:3. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
We also find in 1 Corinthians, that some were more focused on their speaking in tongues than the message, and Paul reprimanded them by telling them the focus was not on the tongues but on the message that was given through that gift. The message to them was this, if you cannot speak so other can be benefited, then don't speak it at all. Same today, if we are not willing to commit to God's service, with deep passion and commitment, then don't look for divine interaction for I do not see God granting the free gifts to those that are not willing to commit wholeheartedly to His service. After all, these gifts came at a price, a very high price, for they were paid through the loving blood of Christ Jesus, His only Son! So, consider this message that is found in Colossians 1:18. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He (being Jesus) may have the preeminence. In the flesh, many like to have public recognition of being Godly, some by the displaying of their credentialed positions, some by their claim to certain gifts of God, and let us not forget self-righteousness that can gain foothold in the hearts of each of us, if we are not careful and watchful in our own lives.
Luke 18:9. Also He (Jesus) spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10. "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank You that I am not like other men extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12. `I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And Jesus added in verse 14: ... for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.''But in one's service before God, the focus is never on the individual but on Whom is being manifested through those that serve. Therefore, any gift of God is not for our personal recognition but has a specific use within our service before Him. Even the gift of salvation comes with a tremendous responsibility. Consider these verses:
2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19. that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. You see, those in Christ need to continue this message to those around us that are in need of Christ! Paul has completed his service, it is now our turn to continue with this plea!
1 Corinthians 15:33. Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits.'' 34. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. Think about it! It is to our shame that others do not have the knowledge of God! There is the spirit of evil and the Spirit of God. We have a choice to which we are going to commit. The world can only begin to hear us if we speak from a loving heart.
1 John 4:4. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 7. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But there is a cost that is attached to that decision. We must surrender our lives and all we have to the care of the Lord. Self is not longer our main focus, but our love for others. I'm not saying that we are to neglect the care for ourselves for we are what make up the Temple of God. But the love of God is not something we have in the flesh, it comes from God, it is a gift of God and it comes at a cost to self and a responsibility to others. Consider the following word of Jesus.
Luke 14:27. "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it 29. "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all who see it begin to mock him, 30. "saying, `This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31. "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32. "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33. "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. The apostle Paul understood this precept of Jesus in his letter to Timothy. 2 Timothy 2:3. You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. Even though there is a cost, the gifts of God are free. Now that statement sounds like an oxymoron but let me try to explain it in this manner. If someone was to give you a brand-new living room set, there would be a cost to that, the old set would have to be taken out to make room for the new. You see there just is not enough room for both, one set would have to go. I know that this is not the best comparison but when we accept Christ as our savior, there is no longer room for our old ways of self, for the love of God, the gift of God, which comes from God, is now being manifested in our lives, has changed everything. When we experience this, that cost of casting out the old becomes rubbish to us and our commitment to the new becomes our wealth in the richness we find and experience in and through Christ. All the gifts of God are founded on love and should be manifested through love.
1 John 4:19. We love Him because He first loved us. 20. If someone says, "I love God,'' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21. And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Any of the gifts of God, if they are not shared in the Spirit of love may not be a genuine gift from God. All the gifts of God are to be shared with those around us. Beginning with the gift of love and salvation, we are commanded to share this with those in our circles of influence. As true born-again follower of Christ, our presence in the Lord is to be a blessing and uplift to others regardless to the circumstances. The love that God puts in our hearts has replaced our love for self. Through the love of God we understand righteousness. Through our faith in Christ, we become the overcomers in all circumstances. On our own strength, this is impossible but through Christ we find the strength to overcome. Here is the bottom line, if we want God to manifest Himself through us in Christ, then all the gifts of God that is manifested through us will become a benefit to others. Any acclaimed gift from God, if there's no benefit to others, that would certainly resemble a selfish thing, leading me to seriously doubt it being of God. As long as man is driven by that spirit of self, how can anyone expect any of the gifts of God to be manifested through them? Some may try to copy them but the genuineness of God only comes through Christ and becomes a fragrance to all around us.
2 Corinthians 2:14. Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. 15. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 16. To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17. For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.
In conclusion, being a servant of the Lord is done in our love manifested in our labor with divine responsibilities. I do not think that all the miracles that were being done through the Apostles and Jesus himself was a spiritual high for them. I do not believe for a minute that Peter was on a spiritual high when he spoke these words ..."How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.'' I think this was a very sober moment for everyone that witnessed this act of God. When the Apostle Paul spoke these words, these were not the words of a successful church ministry but words of labor and reality. Acts 20:34. "Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35. "I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, `It is more blessed to give than to receive.' '' There is only one way to endure the labor that is attached to the gifts of God and that is through a sincere love for those you're ministering to through Christ. Without love, we will never be known for our ministry for it will become empty and possibly short lived if attempted in the flesh.
My fellow brethren, especially in these last days, please take these words of our Lord Christ Jesus to heart!
Matthew 12:30. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Matthew 10:32. "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33. "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.