The Works of the Flesh
There is a true danger in not following the will of the Lord for our lives. Not in the sense of ‘you’ll get in to trouble’, but that you’ll end up working much harder than you need to which will easily allow you to miss out on the fun in life. That was the case for me for many years. I had become a workaholic because I saw my worth through what I accomplished in life. That lead to many lost moments with my family. Instead of enjoying life, I was constantly looking for the next opportunity to excel.
This attitude can translate into our lives as ministers as well. I learned early on that if God is in it, the ministry will flow. I’m not saying it’s doesn’t take work, but there is a point where we are doing ministry in our own strength and not God’s will. What happens to me is I get a sense of urgency that makes my spirit very uneasy. I start to think my task all rely on me doing something instead of the Lord’s leading. When I see this happening, I stop and back up. It could be something as simple as timing or as significant as I’m headed in a completely wrong direction. Regardless, I stop what I’m doing and wait for further direction.
I’ve heard it said you need to work smarter, not harder. I want to change that to you need to work within the will of the Lord for your life. Working outside of His will leads to disaster. How do you discern the will of the Lord for your life? Through a constant and diligent daily relationship with Him. He wants the best possible life for all of His children, no different than how we feel about our own kids.
Where do you find yourself today? Are you desperately trying to climb the corporate ladder? Are you trying to prove something through your actions in ministry? If you find yourself worn out, burned out and generally frustrated with life, there is a good possibility you have stepped outside of the will of the Lord for your life. If so, it times to stop working and start listening for direction.
The Works of the Flesh
by Os Hillman
“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’” Deuteronomy 8:17
We’ve all heard someone say, “He’s a self-made man.” What are they saying in this statement? Are they saying that this individual achieved success by his hard work and sweat? Many a person has achieved success through honest hard work. There is a danger for any of us who may have achieved significance through our work. That danger is the belief that we achieved it through our own efforts apart from God’s grace and mercy. When we live in this belief, we assert that we are entitled to certain rights and privileges because of the position we have earned and feel we deserve.
The prodigal son’s brother who refused to celebrate the wayward son’s return was a man who felt he was entitled to certain rights. He saw himself as one who had been faithful to his responsibilities and deserving of more attention. He could not appreciate his brother’s failure and the pain of falling into a sinful life because, in his mind, he had never failed. This pride kept him from experiencing God’s real grace. This is how legalism develops in believers. It grows into a cold heart and an insensitive attitude toward others who may have stumbled in their lives. This same brother did not truly understand the love of his father apart from works; for he felt he gained acceptance only by doing his job.
Do you feel accepted by God, regardless of what you do? Have you wrongfully viewed your works as something you alone have achieved? These are the minefields of which each of us in business must be aware. God has gifted us to accomplish anything through His grace, not by our works.