Thursday, June 4, 2015

Devotion: Cursed By Blessings?

Most people strive to be successful in life.  The world’s definition of “success” is “the achievement of something you planned or attempted to do; the gaining of fame or prosperity.”  Most people work hard to achieve a certain level of success or status in life.  Some work hard to acquire houses in a particular communities or neighborhoods and to acquire particular kinds of automobiles so that others can see their success.  Some work hard to gain prominence and to live a certain kind of lifestyle so that others can make note their success.  Others work hard to gain fame and/or prosperity so that others can admire their success.

However, having these things does not automatically make a person a success.  The world tends to judge success based on the possessions that a person has, but quite often, these particular possessions are examples of “bad success.”  Yes, that is right.  A person can have all of these things in their life and still have “success,” but that success will be bad.  “Bad success” is “when the achievement of something you planned or attempted to do results in a loss.”

“God, in his kindness, has taught me how to be an expert builder.  I have laid the foundation and Apollos has built on it.  But he who builds on the foundation must be very careful.  And no one can ever lay any other real foundation than that one we already have—Jesus Christ.  But there are various kinds of materials that can be used to build on that foundation.  Some use gold and silver and jewels; and some build with sticks and hay or even straw!  There is going to come a time of testing at Christ’s Judgment Day to see what kind of material each builder has used.  Everyone’s work will be put through the fire so that all can see whether or not it keeps its value, and what was really accomplished.  Then every workman who has built on the foundation with the right materials, and whose work still stands, will get his pay.  But if the house he has built burns up, he will have a great loss.  He himself will be saved, but like a man escaping through a wall of flames” (I Corinthians 3:10-15 TLB).

As we go through life, we are either building with gold, silver, jewels, sticks, hay, or straw.  Not everyone builds with gold, silver, or jewels as not everyone builds with sticks, hay, or straw.  Each of us actually chooses the various kinds of materials that we use in our work.  But understand this point, in the end, God is going to put a fire to what we have built and that fire will test our work to determine what sort of work it is.  The one who built of the right materials and whose work stands the test will get paid.  But the one who built of the wrong materials and whose work fails the test will suffer a great loss.  Please note that this passage is not talking about some type of judgment, rejection, or punishment.  The one who builds of the wrong material will suffer lose, but he himself or she herself will be saved, similar to a person escaping through a wall of flame; neither the sticks, hay, or straw will escape with them.

The key to having “good success” rest in being in the center of God’s will.  The key to being in the center of God’s will is to meditate on his book of instructions day and night, studying it continually, so as to be sure that we observe to do and obey all that is written in it, for only then will we make our way prosperous and have “good success” (Joshua 1:8).  God tells us that he knows the plans he has for us; plans for good and not evil, plans to give us a future and to give is hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  There is nothing on this earth that can satisfy us like knowing that we are in the center of God’s will.  Knowing that we are where God wants us to be will bring pure joy.

Scripture tell us, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).  However, not being in the center of God’s will bring about a feeling of dissatisfaction, feeling like one is going nowhere.  This is what happens when we do things in our own self, where we trust in our own wisdom and lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God will direct our paths, give us renewed health and vitality, and crown our efforts with success (Proverbs 3:5-8).  The world’s definition of success is based on achieving what you planned or attempted to do.  It makes no mention of achieving what God has planned for you to do.

As always, we pray that today’s commentary will abundantly bless you, greatly inform you, and that you will be the better for having read it.  If blessed by this message, please share so that others may be blessed as well.  Amen.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

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