Wednesday, February 24, 2016, 1:13 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Fully Ready!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 12:35-48 (ESV).
Awake When He Comes (vv. 35-40)
“Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
We must be spiritually awake (alert) at all times, and ready to go when God says “Go!” and prepared to do whatever he tells us to do, when he tells us. So, how do we do this? How do we stay “dressed for action”? For one, we have to be in genuine relationship with him. We must first of all, in response to God’s calling on our lives, to be one of his disciples, and in the power and working of the Spirit of God in saving us from our sins, turn from our sins (from darkness; from Satan) to God/Jesus (to the Light), so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (made holy) through faith in Jesus Christ (See: Ac. 26:16-18). By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are thus crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Ro. 6; Eph. 4:17-24).
Then, we need to walk (conduct our lives) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God now living within us. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. His blood sacrifice on the cross, in dying for our sins, made possible that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to our sinful flesh, but according to the Spirit, for if we walk according to the flesh we will die, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said that if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self we will die, but if we die with Christ in death to sin, we will gain eternal life (See: Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).
In other words, we must consider our lives no longer our own, to be lived how we want, for we were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross to take away the sins of the world. And, we must live like Jesus truly owns us and that he is truly our Lord and Master, and that we are his servants. This means that each and every day of our lives we spend time each day in his Word, listening to him speak, and then doing what he says. When he speaks, we don’t resist his voice. We don’t ignore his voice and the promptings of the Spirit within us, but we walk in his ways and in his truth, letting him guide and direct our lives in the way in which he wants us to go. We are sensitized to the Spirit’s voice saying, “Go here. Do this. Speak to this person. Help this needy person,” etc. Of course, if we are married, some things must be agreed upon by both partners, as they must both sense the same leading of the Spirit. If we are convinced God is leading a certain direction, we may have to wait on his timing when our spouse is also convinced of the same calling.
Also, we must obey our Lord in forsaking our former lives of living for sin and self, which includes examining every aspect of our lives against the Word of Truth, asking the Lord what we must put off that is hindering our walks of faith. We can’t be ready for service and dressed for action if we neglect the Spirit and his leading in our lives, and instead we do what pleases us. We won’t be ready if we spend our free time consumed with the things of this world such as TV, movies, video games, worldly music, sports, entertainment, and with being entertained by others’ sinful acts, which include lying, stealing, mocking others, gossip, gluttony, adultery, sexual acts outside of marriage between a man and a woman, and the like. If God is not our Lord (owner/master), and we are not living like we truly are his obedient servants, then we won’t be ready, dressed for action. We will be more like those still in their pajamas, fast asleep in bed, who don’t even hear the alarm when it goes off, or who keep hitting the snooze button every time they do hear the alarm.
For Us or For All? (vv. 41-48)
Peter said, “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
There are many people who call themselves Christians, or who claim to know Jesus Christ, who truly do not know him at all. Some of them bought into a lie which told them that if they said certain words that they would now be saved from their sins, and have the hope of heaven when they die, and that nothing can ever take that away from them, no matter how they lived their lives from that moment on. Or, they may have been told that being a Christian means just being a good deed doer, and that they must make sure that their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, and that they can’t be assured of heaven when they die, but can only hope that if they are good enough, heaven will be their final destination. Both of these teachings are distortions of truth and are based in falsehood.
Jesus said that if we don’t lose our lives in him, and we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose our lives for eternity. Paul spoke similar words when he said that if we walk after the flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live. Jesus said that if we don’t keep his word, we don’t know him. John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue to walk in darkness (in sin), we are liars, and the truth is not in us. Many scriptures in the New Testament indicate that believing in Jesus Christ is not a one-time event in our lives, but believing in Jesus is present and continuous, and that we must continue in that faith until the end if we want to be assured of eternal life with God. Some people call this works-based salvation, but it is not. It is what Jesus and his apostles taught regarding our eternal salvation. A saved life is a crucified life with Christ, in death to sin, and in living with Christ to righteousness, not in our own power, but in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit now living within us.
As well, for those of us to whom much has been given, much will be required. For instance, I have known the Lord Jesus as my Savior and Lord since I was a child, about age seven. I am now 66 years of age. I grew up in a church (same denomination as A.W. Tozer) that taught holiness and walking in the Spirit, so from infanthood I learned the scriptures, and I was taught the deeper things of God in relation to living holy lives, pleasing to him. They taught me how to listen for the voice of the Spirit within me, and how to respond in obedience to the call of God on my life and ministry. As a teenager, I said “Yes” to go wherever the Lord would send me, and to do what he called me to do. I was blessed beyond measure with men and women of God who taught me to walk the talk, and not to just talk the walk. And, they set the example before me by how they lived, too. This set a wonderful foundation for my Christian life and walk of faith in Christ Jesus, my Lord.
When I was only 16 years of age, I began teaching the Bible, first to children, then to teens, then to women, and then to college-age adults, but then only secondary to my husband who was the primary teacher. With the college students I was primarily a ministry coordinator, working in a supportive role with my husband. And, then the Lord called me to this ministry of writing out my devotions from each day and to post them on the internet. I have been doing that nearly 10 years now. So, God has taught me so much from his word, and he has used me to share what he has taught me with others, so I have been given much, I know. So, I know much from me is required. And, I accept that responsibility, because I know it is not me doing it, but it is the Spirit within me leading, guiding, inspiring and empowering me in service to my Lord. And, that is where I want to be when he returns.
I know, as well, that following Jesus Christ with my life, in going where he sends me, and in doing what he has called me to do, involves being hated, rejection, persecution, and possible death for the sake of his name, and for the sake of his gospel message of salvation from sin. Yet, I am ready to die, if need be, for Christ and for his gospel. I know the seriousness of God’s calling on my life, and I know I must be ready at all times to go, and to say, and to do whatever it is he wants me to do and say, and I must be prepared that I will have to suffer for my obedience to Christ and because I accepted his calling on my life.
So, where are you? Do you know Jesus? Are you walking in the Spirit and no longer according to your sinful flesh? Have you died with Christ to sin and self? Have you forsaken your idols and have you put off all that hinders your walk of faith and obedience to Christ? Are you willing to do whatever God says to do, and to go where he sends you? Would you forsake all that is of this world to follow him in obedience? If we are going to be dressed for action, this is where each and every one of us needs to be daily.
Fully Ready! / An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”