“But to the house of the Rechabites Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Because you have obeyed the command of Jonadab your father and kept all his precepts and done all that he commanded you, therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall never lack a man to stand before me”” (Jeremiah 35:18-19 ESV).
The background on this was the God sent the prophet Jeremiah to the Rechabites and had him offer them wine with their conversation. The Rechabites refused to drink the wine because their father Jonadab had charged them to drink no wine, build no houses, nor grow crops or vineyards. This pleased God and he gave Jeremiah a word for Judah and Jerusalem that basically said He would bring disaster upon them because He had repeatedly told them to obey His commands and they did not listen. But for the Rechabites obedience to the command of their father, He told them they will always have a man who serves Him.
Obedience is key to living in abundance and peace. In the natural we have laws and rules we must follow in every area of our lives, and as we can see the Rechabites followed the instructions given by their earthly father. Yet, these bring spiritual reward! God has said obedience is better than sacrifice. Being mindful and doing what God has told us brings us the blessings He promises in His word.
Therefore the Lord said: “Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men, Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work among this people, a marvelous work and a wonder; for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden” (Isaiah 29:13-14 New King James Version).
What are our motives for serving the Lord? Do we serve Him with our whole heart? Are we seeking His face before involving ourselves in ministry? Did God even ask us to serve in a particular area for this season? Are we joyful in serving God? Are we exhilarated each time we perform our service? Why are we serving in this ministry? Is it because God has called us, or because we don’t want to let others down? As leaders, do we use guilt as a means to get ministry helpers? Are we allowing God to lead and prosper our ministries? Are we humble enough to accept when someone tells us they don’t feel God leading them in a particular direction; are we humble enough to tell someone God is not leading us in that direction? God does not need our help in deciding who serves in what ministry because He has called all of us according to His purpose. The above are questions we should ask ourselves often. If we are serving God in a ministry or performing a service to make others happy, our hearts are far from the Lord. We pay Him lip service. If we are not obedient to the Lord, no matter what He may tell us to do, we are not pleasing God and our motives have moved from Christ -centered to man -centered.
God has ways of dealing with us when we become man-centered. He will sometimes either remove the leader or the servant. Circumstances could arise that prevent us from serving in ministry. He is in complete control and He wants our obedience, not our busyness in His name. If He has not called us to serve in that capacity, no one should tell us we have to. God has someone else in mind for that position and we shouldn’t stand in the way of what God has for someone else. No matter what it is we do, we need to maintain our focus on the One who has given us the ability to serve and we need to go where He tells us to go regardless of how different, how painful, how lonely or how difficult it may seem. He is preparing and training us for the purpose He has for us and we must become God-pleasers instead of man-pleasers.
Dear sweet precious Jesus, we exalt You and we praise Your Holy name. It is because of You that we are where we are today. We thank You for saving us, we thank You for leading us as our Shepherd. We would still be wandering lost, lonely, hungry and thirsty in the world if You hadn’t whispered our names. Forgive us for trying to look busy to others when perhaps You have called us to be still. Help us to maintain our focus on You, oh Great Shepherd! You are the One who teaches, You are the One who leads, You have our hearts and our devotion. Please allow us to see when we are trying to do things on our own. Please reveal to us those areas in which we are not pleasing You but trying to make man and our flesh happy. Give us the courage to turn from our fleshly ways and desires in order to be obedient to You and to follow You. Holy Spirit, come and fill the empty places of our hearts that have been swept clean of our fleshly desires. Lord, grant us Your grace and humility to move where You would have us, give us courage to speak what You desire and the strength to carry out Your commands. We give You glory and honor today and bless Your name! In the merciful name of Jesus, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Remember it was the work Christ did at Calvary, in paying the ultimate price for our sin, that we are forgiven and have salvation and a place in heaven. It is not how busy we are, how talented we are, how much we know or how much we can do; it’s not how greatly we are liked, nor how popular we are – none of this will make one difference regarding our salvation or the purpose our Father has for us; it’s the work on the cross that Christ did for us. When we take our focus off Christ and put it on our appearance before men, we have turned our hearts from God. Get before the Lord today and pour your heart out to Him and ask for Him to search you and show you those areas in which you seek man’s approval and seek to keep up an appearance before men, and then make a point to become Christ-centered instead of man-centered, even if it means you become “disliked by men”.
Additional Scriptures: Genesis 39:1-41:57; 1 Samuel 15:11, 22-23; Daniel 1:8; Galatians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31
“A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant” (Stephen Charnock).
Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed (Hebrews 12:12-13 New King James Bible).
It’s been proven regular exercise keeps us strong, healthy, as well as being a vital component in how young and limber we feel. Working out regularly along with eating right helps us maintain our bodies enabling us to live longer lives. It gives us better sleep, we feel better about ourselves, and exercise helps combat depression and boredom. As temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to be good stewards of our physical bodies. It takes discipline and desire to persevere and gain strength. If we want to work out, it also takes commitment to discipline ourselves to do it.
We must take care of our spiritual self just as well. Spending time with God, studying His Word, being filled fresh daily with the Holy Spirit all work together in keeping our spiritual bodies strong and healthy. Being spiritually fit also helps keep the armor on the Lord has given us. By daily spiritual exercise we become stronger spiritually, physically and mentally. Working out our spiritual health gives us the extra motivation we need to stay physically healthy, giving us the strength we need to be mentally healthy. God gives vitality!
A few months ago, the Lord gave me a wake-up call, telling me to take better care of myself, both physically and spiritually. He showed me areas of trouble within my physical body, and He called me from a place of serving to a place of rest at His feet. It has been difficult, but I have heeded His voice, and I am beginning to see the benefits and blessings from my obedience. It is not easy to be disciplined, yet God gives endurance, strength and the ability to maintain self-control. Together, with Christ, it is possible.
Let’s Pray: Dear Most Heavenly Father, You are awesome! You have fearfully and wonderfully made each and every one of us, knitting us together in the womb, numbering the hairs on our heads and writing our stories before we could even speak! You are faithful and merciful, loving and so very worthy of our praise! We give You glory, honor and we bow in worship at Your feet! Father, thank You for the blessing of this day, this day in which we can begin to understand what exercise of our spiritual and physical bodies can do for us! Grant us spirits of stewardship, Father, that we may become good stewards of our bodies. Teach us with what to nourish ourselves; what spiritual foods to eat and what physical. Whatever habits, lifestyles, activities that we partake in that do not please You, reveal that to us and show us Your path. Father, we desire to have strong hands and knees, we desire to walk on Your straight path and we desire for our lameness to be healed. We pray for Your guidance. Father, we love You and we give You ourselves as an offering today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: I am not a fan of exercise, but I have learned the importance of working out. Even if all you can do is walk, walk up and down your driveway until you’re ready to walk down the block. Spiritually, get that bible out and begin reading it, and as you read, ask God to grant you insights, and to speak to you through His word. Pray every day and invest in Spirit-filled praise and worship music to help you praise the Lord. Begin to weed out the secular things in your life that do not bring honor or glory to God and replace it with Godly things and you will see yourself becoming stronger.