Lesson 1 -- second quarter 2003
March 2, 2003
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
Prelude to service
Surely most Christians would like to do something for God, preferably something of significance and worth. We want to produce good results for the kingdom and glory of God. We want to bear worthwhile fruit. Can you identify with such desires? Then here is some welcome news: God desires that for you as well! I must also tell you, though, that before God can use us effectively we need to accept His preparations in our lives.
One way He prepares us is through submission. God graciously gives us plenty of opportunities to submit to the authority and wishes of others. He does this because servants are no good if they can't or won't honor the desires and commands of those who are over them. Even the Lord Jesus spent the majority of His earthly life in apparent obscurity, learning submission and exercising Himself in it. So if you wish to be a useful servant of God, learn to respond properly to authority. Live a life of obedience, submission, and cooperation. Do your best to please those under whose authority you live: parents, teachers, ministers, employers, police, and other civil authorities.
Another way God prepares us to serve Him is through testing. He has numerous testing methods. He tests us to teach us, to strengthen us, to mature us, to prove us, and to encourage us. Again we should note that even Jesus Christ went through testings of various sorts. In accepting and passing the tests, Jesus proved that humans who rely on God can achieve victory in this life. So if you wish to be a useful servant of God, get ready for those tests! Know and live by the Scriptures. Resist the devil. Deny the sinful desires of your flesh. Learn from your own experiences as well as those of others.
Do you still want to do something for God, something of worth and significance? Good! So do I. Let's accept the preludes to and preparations for service that God has established for His servants.
Might He call me?
Ah, now there's a stumblingblock for plenty of us! We want God to use us, but we aren't terribly convinced He feels the same way about the matter. We know others who have more going for them or who have less failures to their account -- it just seems more likely that God would call them instead of us.
Those two sets of brothers and fishing buddies -- Simon, Andrew, James, John -- almost certainly knew about John the Baptist. They knew this famous prophet-like preacher had disciples. I wonder if they ever fancied themselves becoming disciples of John. Possibly they did. But even more, I wonder if they ever wished they could be disciples of that Jesus of Whom John spoke so glowingly. Perhaps they did. If they did, I doubt they thought of themselves as qualified disciple material. After all, who were they anyway?! Yet, here comes Jesus walking along the sea shore . . . and He calls each one of them. Imagine that!
Might He call me? Might He call you?
"And straightway they . . . followed him" (Mark 1:18).
There we go!
Jesus taught with authority because He believed and lived what He taught. And He taught with authority because He was under authority. Christians today can also teach with authority for the very same reasons! How are you doing in these areas?
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