Friday, December 2, 2016

"Privileged Responsibility" Part 2

"Privileged Responsibility"   

Part 2

    The privileged responsibility that proceeds from our relationship with God involves the transformation of "I have to" into "I get to".  

    "For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (I Corinthians 9:16).

    Consider the challenges, deprivations, and sorrows known by the Apostle Paul because he fulfilled his calling to communicate the Lord Jesus Christ to his world.  "Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches" (II Corinthians 11:25-28).  Paul nevertheless counted preaching as a gift of both "necessity" and the avoidance of "woe".  He knew that true joy and peace of heart results from obedience to God, at whatever cost.  The sacrifices paled in comparison to the fulfillment of heart known by Christ-enabled faith and faithfulness.

    Did Paul always feel this conviction of privileged responsibility?  Of course not.  He was human.  He faced the temptations of fleshly discontent and devilish discouragement no less than we experience.  Doubtless, choices of faith were often required, choices to believe the Word of God in the face of conflicting emotion and inclination.  "I get to" does not come naturally, but rather supernaturally as the Spirit of God works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).  This requires our response whereby we "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).  We must frequently determine to believe, like the Apostle, that the will of God for our lives offers our only hope of experiencing a heart that fulfills responsibility while knowing joy in the holy process.  

   Apply this to every duty and calling of our lives.  Be it in the home, or the workplace, or church, or mission field, or in every endeavor, we must determine to view our God-given responsibilities as privilege.  Things change when we do this, first in our hearts, and then in the execution of our charges.  Indeed, consider that we actually deserve our Heavenly Father's utter rejection, wrath, and absence from our lives.  The fact that He rather involves Himself in us to the degree that He calls to us live for His glory in every venue of life transforms "I have to" into the amazed wonder of duty becoming the deepest delight of our hearts.  "I get to."  No attitude more constitutes genuine response to God and His will, and no perspective more prepares our hearts for "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (II Peter 1:8).

"Serve the Lord with gladness."
(Psalm 100:2)

Weekly Memory Verse
   Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
(Titus 3:1-2)

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