4 Rather, we are always spreading the Good News. God trusts us to do this because we passed his test. We don’t try to please people but God, who tests our motives. – 1 Thess. 2:4 GW 1 Thessalonians 2:2-6 NLT
We don’t need smoke and mirrors, cards up our sleeves or any other sort of deceptive illusions or devices. We just need to spread the simple truth of the Good News that Jesus came in the flesh and died for our sins. When we feel the urge of God’s Spirit telling us to speak to someone He has put in our path, we can be sure that the soil has been tilled and the heart is ready to receive the Word. Just speak the Truth in Love and the rest is up to God. The answer won’t always be “Yes”, but just remember it is Jesus they are rejecting, not you. God gives us this assurance in His Word.
If we do our part, God will certainly not fail in doing His part. We must not quit just because people don’t like what we say. As long as we speak the truth in love from a pure heart, we are doing what God has asked us to do.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God always answers our prayers. He answers us in one of four different ways.
1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away.
2. Delay–It wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer.
3. Don’t do it – I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered.
4. Dynamically Different–He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.
When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answer is always no. Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. Do we really want our answer or would we prefer God’s answer? Remember in 1 Kings 19:3-5 when Elijah prayed “I have had enough, Lord, just take my life.”? Then think of how God answered that prayer in2 Kings 2:9-12when God took him up in a chariot of fire! If God had taken Elijah’s life when Elijah wanted him to, Elisha would not have been trained to become Elijah’s replacement and Elisha would never have seen all the great miracles. God answered Elijah’s prayer in a way far better than Elijah could have thought of or dared to ask. So when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted relax, God is still in control.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We need to remember that everyone, regardless of their lifestyle, bears fruit. Wrong thoughts, motives and actions produce the bad fruits. Right thoughts, motives and actions produce fruits for the Kingdom. When people observe our lifestyle, what kind of fruit do they see? If we are to produce the kind of fruit that Jesus wants us to produce, we must get our sustenance from the True Vine. Stay connected to Jesus by daily prayer, Bible reading, meditation, and singing praises. Then, we can be sure that we will produce good fruit and our actions will draw people to Jesus Christ.
1 The Lord said to Moses,2 “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. — Leviticus 24:1 NLT
Consider the olive. The tree grows in stony soil where other trees cannot grow. A new tree is started with a seed or a cutting and then transplanted.It grows for seven years before it has any berries on it and it is about fourteen years before the crop reaches maturity. In Old Testament times, the fruit was harvested by shaking and beating the tree with a reed or a stick. This injures the tree so much that it will only produce fruit every other year. Once it starts to produce fruit, it will continue to produce fruit for centuries. After the fruit is harvested, it is pressed to get the oil from it. This oil was then used to keep the light in the Tabernacle lamps burning continually. Jesus said that we are now the light of the world. For us to be the pure light that we should be, we must go through much of the same process as the olive. God transplants us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light and we start on a journey. It will take some time for us to mature and produce fruit. We need to be shaken at times to get us out of our comfort zones. We need to be disciplined at times to get us back on the straight and narrow path. We have sinful, fleshly desires and those desires are not going to go away without a fight. So, God allows us to be pressed down until there is nothing left but a heart with pure motives. Then and only then are we able to be the light to the world and deliver it from the darkness of sin.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.– 2 Cor. 4:8-10 NLT
1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.—1 Cor. 4:1-5 NIV
Paul is instructing the Corinthians in what their attitude toward Paul should be. But it is also instructions to us in how we should regard those in Spiritual authority over us. They have been placed over us at God’s direction and they have been entrusted with messages that we need to hear and obey. Those over us are required to be faithful in delivering the truth to us. Paul is so concerned about being faithful and obedient to His calling in Christ Jesus that it makes it appear as if he has no regard for other’s opinions of him. He can do this with a clear conscience since he is being judged by the Lord. Not judging someone does not mean that we throw away all reason and discernment. We are still responsible for deciding to whom and to what message we listen and adhere to. We must be very humble in assessing the value of another person since we know that we will be measured by the same standards we use. None of us can qualify as stone-throwers. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” —John 8:7b NASB
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.–Galatians 6:7-10 (NLT)
We are to do good to the members of our faith and also to everyone else. This is how we show the world that there is a difference in our attitude because God’s Spirit dwells within us. When our lifestyles reflect the indwelling of God’s Spirit, it shows the world that we are living to please the Spirit and not our flesh. This is diametrically opposed to what the world believes and teaches us. We must persevere in our lifestyle so that we reap an everlasting life of joy and glory with God. You can’t manipulate or fool God, so our actions have to be from the heart and with right motives, otherwise, they are not worthy of the calling God has on each of our lives.
1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.–James 4:1-3 (NLT)
Regardless of what popular songwriters might tell us, there is no such thing as unanswered prayer. There are at least 3 possible answers that God can give. He can say “Yes” or “No” or “Go, but go slow”. The prayers that we perceive as unanswered are those that don’t agree with what we expected the answer to be. If we have crosschecked our desires with Scripture and there is no conflict, the answer is usually “Yes”. God provides everything we need when we need it. He is not required to give us everything we want. Focusing on what we don’t have always causes conflict. The conflict may be limited to our own personal life, but it will most likely affect every relationship we have. We wage personal wars against our conscience and against our family and friends. In the case of nations, we wage war to gain new lands or to dominate the wills of others. So, pray about what to pray about, then pray. God hears and answers every prayer.