Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Acknowledgment Leads to Fulfillment

So, it's been a while...but I've decided that the internet is far to useful of a tool to continue to waste when it comes to spreading the word of God. I will now once again attempt to keep a regular devotional running. Posts may be sparatic at times, but I'm going to try to share what God is revealing to me in the hopes that the Lord would use it to touch another :) we go...

Have you ever heard the old play on words "Denial is not just a river in Egypt" nile...the nile? get it?, if you haven't you have now, and you will certainly be reminded of it most ever time you crack open your Bible. Why? Because it is incredibly easy for us as Christians to look at our lives and think that we have it all worked out, and that we're essentially living life off the "big" sins (although, hate to burst your bubble, but all sin is equal!). We evaluate our week, that usually has consisted of school or work, family time, and three church services and feel like we've done God proud! While this is a nice concept, it is anything but true. In the midst of doing "all the right things" our motives behind them can still be horribly wrong.

If our lives are driven by anything but a passionate, burning desire for God, we have some repenting to do.

In James chapter 3, verses 13-17, God imparts to us the following through his servant:

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy

Obviously, we show our faith through our actions, a truth clearly outlined throughout the book of James, but here, he is cautioning us to let those works be driven by pure passion for God.  As he describes the "bitter jealousy" and "selfish ambition", the greek meaning of the second phrase reveals what James was really getting at. According to Strong's Concordance, the word "ambition" that is used here can be used to describe the motives of a politician who "courts popular applause through trickery and low arts". More simply put, people who use their works to gain approval of man, not to glorify and please God.

But James is not being accusatory, here he is acting as watchman, urging people to take a good look at what their real motives are and not "lie against the truth". We need to take his advice and be honest with ourselves. We must acknowledge our true reasons for doing what we do, and stop saying it is of God, because God cannot use and control a heart that is filled with envy, jealousy, bitterness, and self-seeking. He can only use a heart that operates in surrender to Him. 

We must begin to admit our faults, no matter how hard it may be, because the longer we put it off, the longer we keep God from fully using us to be vessels of His glory. It is only when we evaluate our motives, cleanse our hearts from those that are evil, and seek God's will that we can sow seed that will birth fruit in the environment we dwell in. 

So, I invite you into a season of identifying and pruning the nasty branches left over from last year's season of life. Cut out of the envy, cut off the self-seeking, cut off any motive that can't be identified as pure passion for Jesus. It will be painful, but in the end, you'll see fruit in your life that you've always thought was impossible. Even if one soul comes into the kingdom as a result, your pain will have been worth it.