Closing the Gap 9.4.18

By September 4, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 35 “Labor in the Lord” Day 2

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

1 Cor. 15:58  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Reflect:

Just prior to this verse, Paul writes of the surety of the resurrection from the dead and the final victory of Christ over death.  It is the context for the “therefore.” Therefore, since as a follower of Christ your death will not destroy the works of your life, stand firm!  Be immovable! Give yourself fully to the work God has for you to do. You can be confident that this work will not be in vain. Solomon feared that all he did would be left to a foolish heir who would squander his work.  His fears proved to be valid, because that is exactly what happened. The problem with Solomon’s fear is that it did not lead him to labor in the Lord, but rather it led him to cynicism about the ultimate value of a life’s work.  As an old man, Solomon did come to see that what matters most at the end is what matters most all along the day. By that time, he had squandered a good bit of his life and labors. You do not have to fear that your life’s work will vanish into the dust of death, not if you “labor in the Lord.”  What exactly does that mean anyway? Does it only mean “evangelism, preaching, missions”? Paul writes elsewhere what this means: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17). It means that all we do and all we say is to be done and said in the “name of” Jesus.  Which means that we do and say these things under the great family name of Jesus, as his children, as his representatives, and for his glory. This is single story living. There is no “spiritual, eternal” work that belongs “upstairs” and “physical, temporal” work that belongs “downstairs.” The two story approach to life believes that upstairs living is meaningful because it is praying, preaching, going to church, and giving to missions.  Meanwhile, downstairs is viewed as not meaningful in the end because it involves a job, cleaning house, changing diapers, and mowing grass. Your life is to be a single story dwelling. All you do is to be done as a member of the family of Jesus.  The implication for this is that you must “close the gap” on doing whatever you are doing with full assurance that it does have lasting value and impact.  If you feel like your day “mattered” because you helped someone in a way that seems significant to you, then rejoice. If you do not feel like your day had any lasting significance because it was quite ordinary, devoid of any obvious “eternal” impact, then perhaps you need to change your perspective.  Every day, no matter what the content of that day, is to be lived for the glory of God and for the good others. It is possible to live a day of vanity. It is possible that we live entirely for self and waste our day or days living apart from the will and ways of God. But this need not be true and the difference between a day lived in vain and a day lived for Christ begins in the heart, not in what activities are on the calendar.  Start your day and end your day by remembering and reflecting on what matters most at the end. Then remember that what matters most then is what matters most now. What will matter most then will be the glory of Christ and the good of others. Keep that perspective close by. Pull it out and consider it frequently, as you navigate your days. Stand firm, let nothing move you. Do not let this day, or any day, be a day lived in vain.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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