Monday, January 4, 2010

No Sand-bagging Allowed

Growing up I was involved in just about every possible business endeavor you can imagine. Most people saw me as an extravert and directed me into “sales”. I was counseled to, “UNDER promise, OVER achieve”. Later I realized that what I was being instructed to do is, “SAND-BAG”. It’s a deceptive means of appearing to accomplish more than what circumstances should allow. The actual, “sales job” is to determine what is achievable while at the same time convincing everyone that because of insurmountable odds it is just about impossible. At this point, anything accomplished is considered by the crowds to be success – even though it is only a small measure of what would have been possible IF I had been dedicated to the task. What’s more, I lose. I never grow from the struggle, I never experience true success, and I shroud myself in my own deceit. I am continually fooling myself and ultimately face the haunting question, “I wonder what if?”

It is tempting to do the same with our Christian service. Outwardly doing the “dos” and not doing the “don’ts” can bring recognition from the crowd and satisfy the ego - for a time. But it is only a small measure of what would have been possible IF we had been dedicated to the will of God. What’s more, WE lose. We never grow from the struggle, we never experience God’s working through us and the blessing of service, we shroud ourselves in guilt and look back on our life asking, “I wonder what if”.

"...He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

I like the way the Amplified Bible translates the verse:

“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”

His, “GOOD WORK” is that miracle of salvation. It is only “GOOD” because God initiates it! Notice it is not our good work – it is not “from you” it is a work that is done “in you”. And God does not “sand-bag”. He will continue to perfect this salvation until the day of Jesus Christ.

What, therefore, is our responsibility?

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” - Philippians 2:12-13

Many people struggle in a vain attempt to work “FOR” their salvation. The Bible clearly states that salvation is from God. There is nothing we can do to be saved; NOTHING. Paul clearly states that once God has saved us, we are admonished to work “OUT” our salvation. It is all part of that proper balance, the spiritual exercise, the “WORK-OUT” that we have been referring to in our blog. It is BECAUSE of our salvation that we work to grow, to learn, to serve, to be used to bless and to be blessed. Herein are happiness, fulfillment, confidence, contentment, security, comfort and peace.

So, a new year and the spiritual “work-out” continue! Muscles are a little sore, perhaps there are some new areas on which to concentrate. We will be doing that together as we continue to discuss, “HOPE”.

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