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November 9, 2017

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THE TEST OF YOUR LOVE FOR CHRIST

"Lovest thou me?...feed my sheep." John 21:16

In general, most Christians have an imperfect concept of service for the Lord. We think the "doing" of many spiritual things, many which are good and beneficial to the church, is what God considers service. We find many today devoting time and effort in this way, but at the sacrifice of their devotion to Christ.

Devotion to Christ demands our utmost for His highest...having our hearts "focused" on the person of Jesus Christ...concerned that our relationship is not marred with anything that will be a hindrance to the Holy Spirit having full and free reign in our hearts...and having our will under His lordship. This does not take away from being involved in service for Christ; rather, when HE is our foremost concern and the ONE to whom our life is devoted our involvement in service will naturally follow empowered by the Holy Spirit. Our devotion to Christ must take precedence over our service for Christ.

It is not uncommon today to find many in our churches that have substituted creedal belief for a personal belief in Christ. That's why there are so many devoted to causes, programs, and activities, and so few devoted to an "intimate relationship" with Christ. Our Lord's first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; that was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. The same principle is imperative in our spiritual life.

Our complete devotion to Jesus Christ must not be diverted by anything that would hinder the pre-eminence HE demands if we are to be His disciples. The secret of a disciple's life is his "passion for the person of Jesus Christ." Our walk, our relationships, our ministry, our concern for others, and whatever responsibility we have, should flow from our intimate relationship and devotion to Jesus Christ. This should be our foremost concern and priority.

God has a way of penetrating our hearts and bringing us to complete reliance upon HIM. That's why all of our service and ministry should "begin" with our devotion to Christ and our trust in Him, as the source of our strength and sufficiency.

We often hear people say, "I cannot live this Christian life." True, but they can choose to open up their life and let HIM live His life through them. Others say, "I cannot serve the Lord. I am not gifted for this or that." True, but you can choose to put yourself in the place where God's almighty power will work in and through you. It is one thing to recognize our inability, our lack of being gifted...BUT God wants us, by faith, to choose HIM to be our strength, ability, and sufficiency. God will never call us to do anything without enabling us with the tools to accomplish the task.

Suddenly, as we surrender to His control, releasing to Him the right to meet us at the point of our need, and to give us His power in the inner man by the Holy Spirit...the "outflow" of His life within finds expression through us in service and ministry that is of HIS doing, not ours.

It is then that fruit is born that will glorify Him. It is then that we will begin to have an effective life and ministry for HIM. That's what Paul meant when he said, "It is not I, but Christ...who lives in me." He was only the "channel" through which Christ manifested His life, and empowered him for service.

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.


This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-11-09


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