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Biblical Success is Faithfulness

Biblical Success is Faithfulness

The world defines success by results or production. Christians must be different because we trust in a sovereign God. This means that all outcomes of our decisions are his and his alone. We must not try to control things we cannot control. We are faithfulness driven, not results driven. faithfulness is all he requires. The only ability God cares about is your ability to obey his commands and trust in him for the outcome. Keeping faithfulness as the biblical definition of success protects us in four ways.

  1. Faithfulness protects us from the comparison Game. If we lose sight of a sovereign God we can easily fall into discontentment as we compare ourselves with other Christians and their accomplishments. We so easily fall into the sin of comparing ourselves to other Christians who have seemingly done more for God. But God has not called you to be results driven. He has called you to be faithful and leave the results to him.

 

  1. Faithfulness protects us from pride. Measuring your Christianity by what you have not done for God always leads to pride. What festers in the heart of a person who becomes discontent in what God has not allowed them to do? Pride. Simply being faithful and trusting God brings peace to your mind protecting you against an over inflated opinion of yourself.

 

  1. Faithfulness protect us from thinking too less of ourselves. Satan whispers and says, “God does not think you are good enough. If he did, he would give you that position in life.” If not governed by the biblical definition of success, our hearts will sink into depression which soon leads to a deflated, paralyzed Christian who blames themselves for the result they did not desire and completely missed being successful in their faithfulness.

 

  1. Faithfulness also protects us from apathy. Apathy is a common misapplication of the sovereignty of God. The bible never uses the sovereignty of God to promote apathy. God’s sovereignty always promotes action. Has God placed you in a position to do something great for his kingdom? Then do just that with all your might! God expects you to make wise changes to your situation if he has given you the ability and position to make those changes. Why withhold a blessing from others when it is in your power to bless them? Why withhold your gifts and talents from God and the church when God has blessed you with them? Our actions, or lack thereof, are reflections of our trust in God. Whatever you find your hand to do, do it with all your might and leave the results up to God!
Posted by Matt Williams
in Bible

God's Sovereignty & Man's Responsibility

God’s Sovereignty & Man’s Responsibility

        You clicked on this article for the same reason I choose to write about this topic. Because how one balances these two truths found in Scripture is still a hot issue in Christian culture and is one that is not going away. When we think about God’s Sovereignty and man’s responsibility we are talking about a pair of truths that stand side by side that seem irreconcilable, yet are both undeniable. A Christian cannot seriously read the bible and deny God’s complete sovereignty in all things. And yet, the same serious reader, cannot deny that man is responsible and that his actions, or lack thereof, have real consequences.

            First, lets consider God’s sovereignty. Prov. 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Or consider Isaiah 46: 9-10 “remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose”. How can God declare the end from the beginning? Not only does God know what is going to happen but he is the one who will sovereignly bring it about.

Now for man’s responsibility. Consider Luke 13:3 which says, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” It is not merely the hearing of the gospel which saves someone but man is responsible to repent and trust in Christ to be saved. Another example is found in Jonah. Upon hearing that God was going to overthrow his city, the king of Nineveh commanded a city wide fast and said, “let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”  

God is sovereign and yet man is responsible. Sometimes even in the same verse! Consider Acts 2:22, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God but who does God hold responsible? Scripture says that lawless men crucified and killed Jesus! Wow! How can both be true at the same time? The author certainly admits mystery but not contradiction.

J.I. Packer, a well-known and respected theologian echoes this truth when he says, “God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility are taught us side by side in the same Bible. Both are guaranteed to us by the same divine authority, both therefore are true…they must be held together, and not played off against each other.”

God wants us to embrace his sovereignty in all things but he also expects us to act. God has end goals in mind which he will achieve through the means of sinful people like you and me. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? If this confuses you, even a little bit, you are in good company. God does not expect complete understanding in everything he has written down but does expect us to study what he has written down in an attempt to understand it in the best way we can. It would be a mistake to neglect the study of something even though we recognize we cannot understand it completely. It would also be an equal mistake to assume that we have arrived in complete understanding of this topic. Balance is the key. We should not over emphasize God’s sovereignty to the neglect of man’s responsibility and vise versa. God bless you as you continue your study.

Posted by Matt Williams
in Bible

Do you pray for your Pastor?

Do you pray for your Pastor?

The pastoral office is an office that is not very well respected today. No one is impressed with our title, education or experience. It was not always the case. Old pastors tell me stories of when they were so well respected that they could show up at one of their members’ homes, uninvited and unannounced, and be welcomed in for dinner by the insistence of a family who was honored that the pastor would pay them a visit.

          These are different times now where pastors have lost the respect of their people and the general public. Some of this is self-inflicted. Pastors have fallen into sins, we have neglected prayer and study and therefore have no message from God’s Word for our starving sheep. Our societies view of pastors is now skeptical at best. We are kept at arm’s length and considered strange by our neighbors. Pastors, in general, are no longer esteemed, well-respected men. I think much of this is self-inflicted. We have lost respect because we have not earned it. There is a sizeable gap between how an average church member views their pastors and how the Bible says church members should view their pastor. The acknowledgement of this gap is, I believe, the first step in rebuilding this God ordained relationship in the Church.  Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

A pastor’s calling is to patrol the outer walls of your soul as a watchman with or without your respect. However, the honor a church member shows his pastor allows him to pastor with Joy. Don’t underestimate the power of joy! Joy is fuel to a pastor’s tank. A joyless pastor can perhaps be effective for a season but he will not endure long without joy which we so desperately need. You, the church member, can provide us with this as we labor for your growth in Christ. 1 Thess. 5:12 says “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you”

All pastors struggle with leading because of the weight of responsibility God has called us to bear. We are often reminded by God of our humanity. Our own sin and unworthiness never escape our thoughts. We are humbled by our lack of talent and mental inadequacies. God reminds us of this to keep us humble. Satan reminds us of this to depress us. Spurgeon said, “who can bear the weight of souls without sometimes sinking to the dust? Passionate longings after men’s conversion, if not fully satisfied consume the soul with anxiety and disappointment.”        

Few people can endure failures. Even fewer can endure success. Most do not have the character and self-awareness to avoid the flaming arrow of pride sent by the enemy the day after a victory. King David fell only after his many victories in battle. Jonah sits under a worm-eaten bush requesting that God take his life after his message results in the salvation of 120,000 persons.

All Christians have a target on their backs. Pastors have a larger one. Satan knows that all he has to do is to destroy the pastors to destroy the Churches. All Christians deal with adversity. But the adversity a pastor deals with is greater. I say all this to ask you a question. Do you pray for you pastor?

Posted by Matt Williams

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