Seek the Welfare

Jeremiah 29:7 ESV

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

Where does the Lord have you in this life? Where has he placed you? He has a reason for you to be there. He has something he wants to do in your life and through your life for his praise and for his glory, if you are one of his, by faith in Jesus Christ.

And, you know what? He wants us to seek the welfare of the people around us, too. But, do you know what “welfare” means? It means “completeness,” “soundness,” and “peace.”

And, where are those to be found? Only through faith in Jesus Christ – only through surrender of our lives to Jesus Christ in submission to his will for our lives. Only in walks of obedience to his commands will we find true peace and soundness of mind and will we be complete (whole, unbroken, healed).

And, this is what we are to seek for our friends, our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, the people of our communities, and even for those who profess faith in Jesus Christ but who may not be in genuine relationship with God. We need to pray for them to give their hearts to Jesus Christ so that they will be whole, unbroken and healed.

And, you know what? We will also be complete in Christ, and spiritually whole, and we will be healed and unbroken when we seek the welfare of others – when we seek what is truly best for them, which is to be at peace with God, in relationship with him, walking in obedience to his ways.

Jeremiah 29:8-9 ESV

“For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.”

There is nothing wrong with having dreams. God does still speak to people in dreams. The dreams just have to be in agreement with the Word of God. So, if we feel God is giving us a message through a dream, the message still needs to be consistent with God’s divine character and will for us, and it has to be consistent with scripture, particularly under the New Covenant.

So, it isn’t that dreams are bad, it is that people, in their own imaginations (in what they dream up), are teaching and are preaching what is not of God, what is against God, what is against his divine character and will for us, and what is against the teachings of scripture. And, it is that they are teaching what is not for our welfare, but for our harm, to do us evil, not good, to pull us away from Jesus, not to bring us to spiritual wholeness.

But, then they disguise it as the true gospel of grace and as a ticket into God’s heaven, while it is a ticket to hell, instead. For, they are not teaching what is for our welfare – for our completeness, wholeness and spiritual health and well-being. For, they are teaching that we can have faith in Jesus Christ and yet we can continue to walk in darkness, in sinful practices, fulfilling the lusts of our flesh, stealing, hating, lusting, and lying.

So, we need to not listen to those who tell us that faith in Jesus Christ gets us into heaven but that it doesn’t have to alter how we live while we are still on the earth. For, the scriptures are real clear on that subject. For, Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins and so we could go to heaven one day, but he died that we might die with him to sin and that we might live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Eph. 4:17-24).

Jeremiah 29:10-13 ESV

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

One day Jesus Christ is going to return for us, his followers, and we are going to get to be with our Lord for eternity, as he has promised. This is our hope, and this is our future that one day we will be with our Lord forever.

But, the Lord is not promising this to everyone who professes faith in him. He is not giving this hope and this future to everyone who says he is a Christian or that he believes in Jesus. And, that is because our Lord truly seeks our welfare. He truly seeks for us to be spiritually whole, complete in him, and at peace with God, walking in purity of fellowship with him.

There are many people in this life, though, who call themselves Christians, who are not seeking our welfare, although they may claim to be. Their idea of being a follower of Jesus is just to be “nice” (agreeable, pleasant) to everyone, to never make waves, to never confront anyone with sin, but just to be superficially “nice” so that everyone will like them.

But, our Lord didn’t put us on this earth to be people pleasers, to be superficial with others, and to say only what makes people feel good about themselves. He didn’t put us here to be mean or nasty to people, either. But, he put us here to be a light to the world, and that light is His righteousness, holiness, purity, faithfulness, truth and grace.

And, he created us with a purpose, that we would bring him glory, honor and praise by how we live our lives, not in superficial “niceness” to everyone so that they will all like us, but in genuine concern for the true welfare of those around us, seeking God’s best for them, which is that they bow to him in humility and in surrender to his will and to his purposes for their lives.

God’s will for us is that we would seek him with our whole hearts, not that we would seek after the things this world has to offer us. His will for us is that we walk in purity of devotion to him, doing what he says to do. His will, too, is that we love others like he loves us and gave himself up for us so that we might be free from our slavery to sin, and so that we might walk (live) in purity of devotion to him, walking in his ways and in his truth.

How Do We Love?

Do you truly love others? Then seek their welfare, what is for their good, not for what will harm them. Tell them the truth about sin, righteousness and judgment. Don’t sugar coat it to make them feel good about themselves. Be loving, yes! But, don’t lie to people. You are not helping them that way, and truly you are harming them, not doing them good.

God knows what is best for us, and he wants what is best for us. And, what is truly for our welfare is that we submit to him, surrender to his will, and that we walk in obedience to his commands.

This means, too, that we leave our lives of sin behind us, and that we now walk in his ways and in his truth.

And, this is what we should seek for others, too. It doesn’t matter if they like us, though. The important thing is whether or not they truly know Jesus via surrender to his will and via making him truly Lord (owner-master) of their lives. So, we need to be about doing the work of the Lord and seeking and saving the lost.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 ESV

The Ninety and Nine

Lyrics by Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868
Music by Ira D. Sankey, 1874

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold;
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare;
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.

“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me.
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.”

But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry;
’Twas sick and helpless and ready to die.

“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way,
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They’re pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

And all through the mountains, thunder-riv’n,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heav’n,
“Rejoice! I have found My sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”

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