Are you fully invested?
We have to decide if we will be fully invested in what we choose to be part of, or we will just do the bare minimum. The decision will be swayed by who we are doing it for and if it will pay dividends. When we place a high value on something, we will give it the time and energy it deserves. As long as it has a direct impact on us or our loved ones, we will stop at nothing to see the projected outcome; and make the necessary sacrifices to ensure success. Our attitude will also rub off on others one way or the other, as we set the tone for them.
6 And Moses said to the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben: “Shall your brethren go to war while you sit here? 7 Now why will you discourage the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord has given them? 8 Thus your fathers did when I sent them away from Kadesh Barnea to see the land. 9 For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, so that they did not go into the land which the Lord had given them. 10 So the Lord’s anger was aroused on that day, and He swore an oath, saying, 11 ‘Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me, 12 except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly followed the Lord (Numbers 32).
The children of Gad and Reuben had seen land that was fit for their livestock that was not on the other side of the Jordan. They asked Moses if they could just have that land for themselves, without crossing the Jordan to inherit the land of Canaan that God had already searched out for them. This is where the verse picks up Moses’ response; which was a rebuke for their decision. Their lack of zeal to go in by crossing the Jordan and to fight the nations that were on the other side, was disobedience to God and would have led to a rebellion among their fellow brothers. God had already gone before them and promised them that He would fight all the greater nations, and give them the land. Following God wholly requires we take some risks, fight some battles and trust Him in all circumstances.
A lackadaisical attitude has an impact on others. Our doubts and concerns will cause others to second-guess themselves. The listless response we have to things of God will make others less enthused by godliness. People are affected by the attitude that prevails. People are also often swayed by the opinions of those they are well acquainted with. Obedience is a wholehearted commitment to do God’s Will; while rebellion is refusal to fully obey God. The children of Gad and Reuben only got so far to reach the promised land, then they threw in the towel. They only looked to what would benefit them, at the exclusion of others. They were selfish in their disobedience by failing to consider the needs of their brothers. When we don’t wholly follow God due to our insecurities we inject our perspective into others’ decisions. Our lack of commitment pours cold water on another’s hopes. Stand alone if you must, like Caleb and Joshua and see the Salvation and Promise of God. Do not allow others’ opinion to eat away at your portion. There’s nothing wrong with having doubts, but it’s futile to fail to look beyond the hurdles and risks.
18 Now the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the spoil, and do evil in the sight of the Lord?”
20 And Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and brought back Agag king of Amalek; I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the best of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
22 So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king (1 Samuel 15).”
Saul started well as a king and ended dismally. He was diligent in doing what was right, but somewhere along the way, he felt he had the authority to decide what would be acceptable before God. Saul failed to completely execute what God had commanded him, to destroy everything of the Amelakites including the king; because they were wicked. He saved the king and he allowed his soldiers to take the best plunder. He then decided to justify his actions by claiming he was going to use the spoil to honor God, by sacrificing it. When Samuel the prophet confronted him, Saul claimed he did as God told him by going to the mission. Getting the first step done, doesn’t mean we have done well—we have to complete the mission by fully executing as commanded.
There are things God wants us to deal with in our relationship with Him; and He requires complete submission. He has called us to different missions in our lives—our profession, family roles, or service to others, He also wants us to get rid of wickedness along the way. We should be careful that we are not dazzled by the glitz of the things He abhors, as to spare them. We should turn our eyes from these worthless things and not try to find an excuse to not deal with them. As the Body of Christ we have to be intentional to not just start well, but finish well. We finish well by running the entire course. We honor God by complete obedience and without compromise. Sin and stubbornness are as vile to God as witchcraft and idolatry. No good deed or offering will be acceptable as a propitiation for our failure to perform our duties. Saul was rejected as king. May it not be said of us that we are unfit for any position and role God would have for us; because we compromised by lusting after the things we were commanded to destroy.
8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire (Matthew 18).
One may look at this verse and think it was too draconian. “It is better to enter life lacking a foot or an eye? What?” Scripture is spiritually discerned and understood. We have to look for deeper wisdom, not the superficial appearance. The eye is the thing we desire to look at, the hand is what we determine to do, and the foot is the place we like to go. Well one may say, “But The Lord was being very specific about the parts of the body.” Indeed, He was. He also explained what He meant, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you.” Why not say your eyes? We don’t just see with one eye, but both and can still see even if we look out of one eye, and we can use one hand or walk on one foot. He meant what we desire to look at that causes us to sin. He meant we give up that activity which we depend on and can’t do without, which is luring us to sin. We depend on it like we do our eyes, feet and hands. To become partakers of eternal life, we must be willing to give up some lifestyles, habits, and desires. It comes down to a choice between eternal life or hell fire—it’s as black and white as that. If it’s a career, a relationship or business that we believe we can’t do without, that is leading to sinful desires, consider finding another one. We have to count the cost of being children of God, and decide whether or not it is worth the sacrifice.
Praise the Lord! I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation (Psalm 111).
What does your worship look like? Is it stimulated by those around you and what they are doing? Worship is the honor we bestow to God by song, prayer and how we live each day. When we determine how much we value someone, we give them how much they deserve. It’s not done out of pressure to show them how we truly feel, but out of love. In the assembly of the upright, true worship is done out of reverence, love, honor and willingness. When it comes to God, we should not honor Him like we do humans. When we exalt God we do so willingly, with our whole being.
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things say the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth (Revelations 3).
Most of us like our beverages either hot or cold—not lukewarm. With God, the things we would like for Him to delight in, have to be done wholeheartedly or not done at all. This doesn’t just mean how we serve others in our ministry, it also applies to our relationship with Him. Our decision to believe in God and live by faith in Christ, should not be taken lightly. It cost Christ His life so that we could be forgiven and made into a new creation in Him. He did nothing haphazardly, but was intentional and one-track minded to complete His Purpose. Our life has a new purpose in Christ, Who gave everything for us. We must therefore be as He was, wholly committed to live for the purpose we have been called, till we draw our last breath. He knows our works because nothing is hidden from Him; He knows our dedication and our motives. No matter who we are with or where we are we have to be faithful, steadfast and motivated to do what pleases God.
We are already complete in Christ, because we became one with Him by His death and resurrection. He lived to fully do The Father’s Will, and set for us an example. Since we have The Spirit of Christ, we have His likeness to do the same. We can only be fully invested in what is profitable to us. What could be more valuable than forgiveness and new life in Christ! As believers we set the pace for others who may have doubts about making a commitment. We have been chosen at such a time as this, and we must strive to live up to our calling. We should be passionate about our Christian life. Christ gave His life, so that we can truly live. We have to try and reciprocate by being committed to honor and love Him.
11 Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your Faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. 12 I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your Name forever. 13 For great is Your Love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead (Psalm 86).