Righteousness and Good Works

dandelionLast week I talked about being content. But I can’t stop there. I tend to err on the side of being too content.

I’m meant to be serving God with joy, but that has softened into happiness. Which melted down into contentment – not with myself, but with my place in life. I’m often satisfied with living a socially acceptable life and letting God’s grace fill in the gaps. I’m not zealous for the Lord! I’m just satisfied with where my life is going, and that is not the same thing at all. There must be love for God’s Word, fear of His holiness, and zeal for walking in the Spirit.

Matthew 6:5 says:

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

And the Westminster Confession tells us that good works are the fruits and evidences of a true and living faith.

Good works must come from a heart that is humble and right with God. A good work can only be what is commanded in the revealed will of God. And it must be done for the kingdom and glory of God, with the intention of loving God and my neighbour.

Good works come from the Holy Spirit’s influence, but we mustn’t always wait for His special leading. Instead, we must be diligent in stirring up the grace of God in us.

“Why should we do good works if we have been saved? What purpose can there be in struggling against the flesh when salvation is sure?” you might ask. Well, I know how hard and even hopeless striving for godliness can seem in this broken world. But here are the reasons given by the Heidelberg Catechism  – and, sister, these are biblical reasons!

86 Q. : Since we have been delivered by grace alone through Christ, why must we yet do good works?

A. : Because Christ, having redeemed us by his blood, also renews us by his Holy Spirit to be his image, so that with our whole life we may show ourselves thankful to God for his benefits, and he may be praised by us.
Further, that we ourselves may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and that by our godly walk of life we may win our neighbours for Christ.

The Westminster Confession Chapter 16 says that by doing good works, we show thankfulness, strengthen our assurance of salvation, edify our fellow believers, adorn the profession of the gospel, deprive our opponents of arguments against it, and glorify God. Great!

NB I am not talking about salvation by works, but life after salvation by grace.

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Life as an Actress

file7781250177228Girls, did you know that you are an actress? You are performing your own life, live on your own personal stage.

Your audience consists mainly of your director. Others come and go, but they do not fully understand your performance. The director instructs you, and gives you guidance when the script is blank. This play is a one-off event, and at the end, you will either gain admittance to the director’s mansions, or be sentenced to eternal death. The director’s son is also watching. He is a perfect man who has acted his play, and is seated with his father.

As you live, you are acting. But you are not reading the script. It is in your hand, but you pay little attention. The script has all you need in order for you to act the play correctly. It is, literally, ‘at hand’, but you ignore it altogether. You see this as your play, and have no intentions of obeying the orders of anyone else. You have your own ideas about what you should be doing and only glance briefly at the script when you are at a loss for what to do or say next. You have no wish to follow the director’s instructions.

Your director is totally repulsed by your performance. You are not following the script at all. In fact, you are doing the complete opposite of what is written! Only occasionally do you do something which vaguely resembles your instructions. The director can only give you a mark of zero and condemn you to a place far removed from him. It is a place where you, among many others, will wander, eternally doing your own thing. Always you will be there.

On stage, your heart grows faint. You realize the futility and absolute worthlessness of your performance, and you have an inner assurance that, when you take your final bows, there is no future for you but listlessness and eternal nothingness. You can feel the full weight of all your misdeeds on your thin shoulders. You fall to the ground, bowed down with anguish and completely humbled. All you can do is whisper,

‘Sir, I can do nothing but to ask you to remove this burden…’

The director stands, and calls out,

“Son, be there!”

The Son comes onto the stage. Gently He lifts you to His shoulder, and begins to act your part. He gives you strength, and you cry, with utmost gratitude, from the depths of your soul,

“Abba, Father!”

Hiding God’s Word in Your Heart

Black BibleA verse in Psalm 37 caught my eye as I was looking through my Bible to see what riches God had for me that day. That verse stuck in my head, and I decided to memorize the psalm.
Slowly, a verse or two a day, this psalm is becoming written on my heart, as in Psalm 119 verse 11:
“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.”
Having these verses in my memory has helped me greatly. I find it extremely comforting to be able to hear God’s Word without having my Bible with me. I can encourage myself, any time I need to! For example, at the dentist…
I can challenge myself to delight in the Lord, trust in Him, and commit my way to Him. And I can rest in the knowledge that He will return to judge the wicked.
I would like to encourage you to join me in this endeavor. Do not be afraid that you will fail, for the Lord will help you, as it is He who commands us in Deuteronomy 6 verse 6:
“These words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.”
Surely He will give you grace in continuing to serve Him in this way!

What do You Desire?

bird.tree

Psalm 37 :4 reads:

“Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

Now we might think that this means if
we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us whatever we want! If we love Him, He will provide us with a new summer wardrobe. And if we Abide in Him, He will see that we work out some way to stop the freezer in the next room keeping us awake all night. But I discovered that that is not actually the case! This is what happened to me when I began to delight in the Lord by talking to Him much more often and hiding His Word in my heart:

My desires changed!

I began to wish for other things. I longed to know Him better, and to spend more time with
Him. I saw the ruin of the world around me, and groaned in waiting for His return.
Delighting in Him, I wanted only to know Him more! Instead of desiring material goods, I
desired spiritual wealth. And He is faithful in giving it to me. Every day, I grow in His grace.
Here is Psalm 37 verses 5 and 6:

“Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.”

The desire of my heart is His second coming. With Him in heaven, I will have all eternity to delight in Him!

Serving God With True Joy

For this first blog post, I would like to give a short explanation of our name, Serving with Joy.old.red.books

We are serving God

In our serving, we must be focussed on the One we are serving. What we do should not be done for our own pleasure, or to gain praise from others on earth. Rather, our service should be performed with the primary motive of honouring God as best we can.

Everything we do can be done thinking “I am doing this for Your Glory, Father!” Do all things as if you were doing them for God.

Our serving is to be joyful

It is not to be with an unwilling spirit. Neither should it be treated as drudgery.

If we are thankful for our salvation, and our service arises out of that thankfulness, we should also be joyful. We should delight in the fact that through grace, Christ’s righteousness is put on our account, and we are no longer guilty before God. Also, we should be joyful that because of God’s grace, and the work of the Holy Spirit, we can serve Him!

Let us always remember the joy as we serve our Lord.