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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Dying in the Lord, #12
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
The Christian people are at a crossroads. God has given many gifts and graces to His people in our day. Now, what are we to do with them?
The needs of humanity are great. Millions are being born but so few, it appears, are accepting Christ as their personal Savior. God has given us many gifts. Should we not go forth in His name to save the world? Haven't we already been given our marching orders in the Scriptures?
Haven't we already been charged to go into all the world and save souls? Aren't we to go into every road, every pathway in the jungle, and compel them to come in?
Two paths lie before us, two choices concerning how we are to live and minister. Missionary statistics are telling us where the greatest needs for the Gospel are located. Church-growth experts are teaching us techniques for filling our church buildings. Shouldn't we get busy and do great things for God?
One choice is to pray, ask God to bless us, and then go to work for Christ. The other choice is to seek the Lord intensely each day, telling Him of our desire for service, doing the practical things set before us, not being afraid, after careful prayer, to take a small step in the direction we think He is leading us but avoiding making major plans until we are certain God has spoken. Those who make the second choice learn to take nothing for granted. They remember the mistake Joshua made with the Gibeonites. They bring every detail of their life and ministry to the Lord.
At first glance these two approaches may seem to be nearly the same. But in practical living they are worlds apart. The first is to work for God. The second is to work with God. The first leans heavily on the human mind to direct the program. The second waits continually on the Lord, being supremely alert to His every desire.
The first scorns inactivity, having little patience for delay of any kind. Hagar always mocks Sarah. The second may experience many years of barrenness before anything of significance seems to take place.
It appears that much if not most Christian activity for the past two thousand years has been of the first kind. The great organizations have made their plans to conquer the world for Christ. But throughout the Bible we find the Sarahs, the Hannahs, the Josephs, the Elizabeths, who had to wait on the Lord for many years before the promise was fulfilled.
When God brings a Christian believer to the place of decision, "Should I go out and work for Christ or should I wait on the Lord until I am certain of His will, no matter how long I have to wait," it is of extreme importance that he or she choose the latter. To decide to go ahead "by faith" and seek to do God's work may keep the individual filled with his own self-life. Instead of coming to know the power of Christ's resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings he becomes no more than a zealous religious worker attempting to make as many proselytes as possible, converts to his way of thinking.
To be continued.