Are You Laboring in Vain?

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I am a lover of words. I love the fact that they can paint an image as clearly as paint on canvas in the mind of a listener. I desire to write in such a manner that causes the reader to feel as though they’re a part of my story. My friend Ed Eisley has that power with words, he’s the greatest of story tellers. He is the greatest of story tellers because he is passionate about the stories he tells and he loves to excite his listeners, that’s a good lesson for the child of God. How excited are you about how God is working in your life?

The Spirit Speaks

When I was first saved, I was beyond excited and I thought everything in my life had godly purpose and intent. As I grew spiritually I began to realize that many of those things that excited me, or I thought were of God were actually distractions of other spirits to get my mind off Kingdom works and onto earthly works. Whatever I do, I’m a zealot. Sometimes to a fault. I was the same prior to salvation, but salvation gave my works value. Perhaps that is what Paul reminded the Galatians of in chapter 4, or perhaps he was just tired of zealots like me who can easily get off focus.

Galatians 4:6-18 KJVS

[6] And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. [7] Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Paul reminded them that God had written them into His story! Isn’t that an amazing thought. As the body of Christ, He tells stories through our lives using us as illustration. Is it any wonder I get so excited? But then Paul reminds them about another story that was written prior to their salvation. When they were caught up in the world and the story being written was one of heartache and sorrow, and yet they were turning back to that very thing. So much so that Paul was afraid he’d invested his time in waste.

The Flesh Speaks

 [8] Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. [9] But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? [10] Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. [11] I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

I can get so wrapped up in worldly things that are not wrong, but they’ll have no heavenly value, and they’re for certain a distraction from what my focus should be on as a servant of Christ. I caught myself yesterday volunteering for something that would have been fine, if I had the time, which I do not! Praise God the person for whom I volunteered had enough sense to say, “no, I have someone else who can do it.” I felt my soul sigh a sigh of relief and wondered why I had opened my mouth! Because I’m always trying to please people. And forgetting that I have Kingdom work to do.

And so I questioned, did God give me the many talents for which He has, as a labor in vain? Should I use them as a bondage to the world and not for the freedom I have in expressing what Christ has done in my life. God created me to be a story teller, an artist of words as well as images, but not to be in bondage by the world who will use my talents and cast them away like yesterdays news. What about you? Have your talents been squandered away by the world and used for their entertainment or glory. And if so are you ready for God to re-focus your attention to His work? I for certain am.

[12] Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am ; for I am as ye are : ye have not injured me at all. [13] Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. [14] And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. [15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

There was a time when the Galatians were so zealous and excited over Paul’s ministry that they would have plucked their own eyes  out for him to be able to see more clearly. But that depth of love for him had ceased. And when Paul continued in his excitement for the righteousness of God, their focus went elsewhere and now Paul words that had once painted a beautiful image, now upset them because the truth hurts. They were still zealous, but not all zealousness is good.

It’s good to be excited and it’s fine to exited about things of the world. Heck, I got so excited over a recent washer and dryer purchase you would have thought I had gone to Walt Disney World when I did the laundry. It still hasn’t worn off. I was excited because for the first time in all my years of doing laundry, I felt that my clothes were beyond clean!!!! The smell is amazing, the stains are gone and my clothes look shiny and new… a lot like my soul after the salvation of Christ! And yes I’m still excited about that!!!! But I can get off focus.

Paul’s words reminded me today that I need to get some excitement back in my ministry and stop losing focus to things in this world. I don’t have time for that!

What about you? Where is your zealousness focused? I pray it is on the things of Christ and that He uses your talents for Him mightily!!! Glory to God He is so good. How can we not be excited?

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Shari Johnson. (aka The Jesus Chick) has been encouraging women of faith and youth for a closer walk with Christ for over ten years. Having a burden for the leadership in American Churches, much of her writing is meant to spear on the servant of God to do more for the cause of Christ in these uncertain times. With humor, transparency and solid bible teaching Shari outlines messages that are easily understood, life applicable, and often with easily remembered points to ponder in hopes that they’ll be reflected on throughout the day and serve as encouragement on the go. Her servant’s heart is grounded in her own local church believing that it is there that the greatest impact can be made and unfortunately suffers the greatest neglect across America. Shari speaks at women’s gatherings in hopes of leaving a giggle in their soul and a burning desire to serve in their own local body of believers having it said of her “I laughed, I cried, and I was drawn to the foot of the cross…” Which is what it’s all about. For information on scheduling Shari, call her direct at (304)377-6036, message her via email at talk2shari@gmail.com or find her on Facebook!

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