So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6 NIV)
— John Mark Comer
— Jesus (Luke 6:47-49 NET)
— Jesus (Luke 6:46)
— Aaron Stone
THE OUTWARD, UPWARD LOOK
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else” Isaiah 45:22
This is a promise of promises. It lies at the foundation of our spiritual life. Salvation comes through a look at Him who is “a just God and a Saviour.” How simple is the direction! “Look unto me. How reasonable is the requirement! Surely the creature should look to the Creator. We have looked elsewhere long enough, it is time that we look alone to Him who invites our expectation, and promises to give us His salvation.
Only a look! Will we not look at once? We are to bring nothing in ourselves, but to look outward and upward to our Lord on His throne, whither He has gone up from the cross. A look requires no preparation, no violent effort: it needs neither wit nor wisdom, wealth nor strength. All that we need is in the Lord our God, and if we look to Him for everything, that everything shall be ours, and we shall be saved.
Come, far-off ones, look hither! Ye ends of the earth, turn your eyes this way! As from the furthest regions men may see the sun and enjoy his light, so you who lie in death’s borders at the very gates of hell may by a look receive the light of God, the life of Heaven, the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, and therefore able to save."
— Charles Spurgeon from Faith’s Checkbook
“It is no wonder that the Lord’s people should be satisfied with the goodness of their Lord. Here is goodness without mixture, bounty without stint, mercy without chiding, love without change, favor without reserve. If God’s goodness does not satisfy us, what will? What! are we still groaning? Surely there is a wrong desire within if it be one which God’s goodness does not satisfy.
Lord, I am satisfied. Blessed be Thy name.”
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— Excerpt From: Charles H. Spurgeon. “Faith’s Checkbook.”
While I’m sitting in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley area east of the Twin Cities at a scenic Caribou Coffee, across from my stunning wife, with a refreshing sparkling tea, and my Bible open to 1 Peter 5, I am pleasantly reminded of our occupational role in the Kingdom.
I’ve seemed to always wrestle with the balance of resting in Jesus’ finished works and doing work for the Kingdom. Both seem important, but it can be hard to find a decent heart posture in regards to this balance. In reading through 1 Peter 5 today, I stumbled across a verse that, I think, provides a great mindset for believers to have whilst doing Kingdom work.
"Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve…" 1 Peter 5:2
'not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be…’
In this specific scriptural excerpt, the matter at hand is particularly shepherding or overseeing, but I think this same idea can be applied to many, if not all, works.
The difference lies in this: are we willing? Are we ‘eager to serve’ as the latter part of 1 Peter 5:2 states?
If you deal with feelings of obligation, burdened responsibility, or encumbering dutiful action, I encourage you to rest in the fact that Jesus paid it all and we can’t do anything to add to His sacrifice or to our own salvation. We are no longer under a law that demands our effort to be enough. We live under God’s grace and anything good, beautiful, or profitable that will shine through our good deeds is from the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us.
But, there is work to be done ("In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16), and as long as the Bride has an eager and willing heart to do good works, we will see fruit. After all, if this approach is taken, we will enjoy serving God and God’s desire for us to be willing and eager to serve will be fulfilled (‘as God wants you to be…’).
Grace & peace.
Can’t get enough.
Scripture presents two aspects of being complete before God:
First, we are instantly made complete in Christ in our legal position (justification).
Second, we progressively become “complete in obedience” in our living condition before God (sanctification).
You are complete in Him (Col. 2:10)!