This past Friday I published The Truth Newsletter on the subject of “A Food Stamp Thanksgiving” and how a record number of Americans are on food stamps. Many are because they have fallen on hard times; many are because the government has made it easy to do so. And of course we the church should be doing a better job of not only meeting the physical needs of our neighbors, but also, and more importantly, their spiritual needs. One of those needs is reaping happiness from the fruit of your labors:
“Blessed is every one who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.” (Psalm 128:1-2)
Godliness is what brings happiness to our lives. Now this does not mean that trials and tribulations will stop just because we are pursuing godliness. What it does mean is that those trying times will not come because of us. Life brings difficulty but too often we self-inflict ourselves with trouble because of our disobedience.
It would do you well to read all of Deuteronomy 4 this week to learn of how Moses commanded the Israelites to obey God and avoid idolatry, but let me share with you one important verse:
“You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.” (Deuteronomy 4:40)
If I keep God’s statutes and His commandments, life will not only be easier for me and my children, but it will be prolonged. How? Because right-living avoids bad attitudes and habits. Right-doing avoids wrong-doing (I know right) and prevents much of the strife we bring into our lives.
But there is still one more important ingredient to add to right-living and right-doing; it’s right-being. Jesus warned:
“For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)
I can only imagine the number of people who believe their good works are going to get them into heaven. I know there are people with whom I work and attend church are deluded into this thinking. Even we Christians get caught up in our works. Oswald Chambers clears it up for us:
The characteristic of a disciple is not that he does good things, but that he is good in motive because he has been made good by the supernatural grace of God. The only thing that exceeds right-doing is right-being. Jesus Christ came to put into any man who would let Him a new heredity which would exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees.
So the question we must ask ourselves this morning is not am I doing right, but am I doing right because I am right?
Only Jesus can answer that question for you.
Will you let Him?
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Copyright © 2012 David Jeffers
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