Thought for the Week - 6th August 2017

Pastor Gareth Watkins

Habbakuk 2: 4

Look at the proud!
They trust in themselves, and their lives are crooked.
But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God.

Romans 12: 3-5

Because of the privilege and authority
God has given me, I give each of you this warning:
Don’t think you are better than you really are.
Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves,
measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,
so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body,
and we all belong to each other.

God has a great plan of salvation for all of us. I recommend this way of living to everyone. I can recommend Jesus Christ, and the life that God has for a person, above all other forms of living. These days there are many ways to live your life. I can recommend the life of Christ amongst the mad world. The world is mad in its thinking and it’s getting worse. To live a straight forward Christian life is going to get tougher to the compromise of our lives and our jobs. We are going to get put in the firing line for thinking true and straight thoughts.

I can recommend, in spite of all those things, the reason for living as a Christian – God’s plans, purposes and transformation is there, as well as the breaking of the chains – all of it is held in the life that God has for us. It’s possible to become God’s workmanship! We are meant to be inside God’s creation. In order to do that, we have to have our minds and bodies presented on the altar as a living sacrifice. When we do that, the transformation that God has for us comes.

We read in the verses above that there is a going on. We start off as Christians; being saved is the starting point. We find Christ, we find a relationship with Him, we find our sins can be forgiven, that the shackles can be removed; we find life. We have to go on. How do we go on? We go on by constantly evaluating ourselves. We have to evaluate where we are in our Christian lives.

What do we evaluate ourselves by? It’s not other people, or the number of years we’ve followed Christ. Our gauge can be found in the verses above. Paul says:

Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves,
measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

What faith has He given you? That is the start! The faith and call that God has given you to fulfil His plans in this world – the faith that you need for those things to be completed in you – that is the standard by which you gauge yourself. If you want to follow after God, then He has given you a faith to achieve those things. Paul is saying that we need to be saved, we need our minds to be transformed, and we need to consider where we are when we go along. It takes us on that path unto eternity

Both Paul and Habakkuk show that we don’t simply stand still, doing nothing. We move on and do the things that we’re meant to do. Paul knows where he’s been and the life he lived as Saul. He’s evaluating himself before God. He can reflect on where he’s come from and the man he used to be. He’s now a man saved in Christ but moving on and fulfilling the things that God wanted him to do. David (in Psalm 51) also knew what it was like to reflect on his sin and his life, and how they robbed him of God. David wanted to be restored into the things God had for him. Similarly, Paul wants us to go on in the things God has for us. The only way we can do that is by having a sin free life, a transformed mind and evaluating where we are according to the faith that God has given us. There has to be an evaluation. There has to be an ongoing.

Our gauge of how we are doing in our Christian life is found in the faith that we’ve got from God to deliver what He has for us to do.

A renewed mind is looking positively toward God has for that person. Naturally our minds are at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). But we read that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). God gives us the faith to do the things that He wants us to achieve. God has a function for us. In that function He delivers His plans and purposes.

Paul says:

Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,
so it is with Christ’s body.

Every single part of the body is important! In our Church life we can think the “educated” people are important. Every part is equally important in the body! God has His plan to be fulfilled in the whole of that body!

Paul reminds himself of where he comes from. He knows he has to evaluate by the faith that God has given. In order to achieve the things that he did, he had to keep moving on. He tells us there’s an evaluating, a measuring and a going on! We have to evaluate where we are.

The body of Christ has a special function for each person. We are not all called to be missionaries – some are called to send the missionaries, some called to fund the missionaries, some called to help the missionaries in other ways. There are many forms of action within the body of Christ. We need to consider our part. There’s no part where we are too old! We need to be constantly renewing our minds, constantly living in the faith that God has for us, and doing what He wants us to do.

Within the body of Christ, He gives us different gifts. He gives these gifts so that we can accomplish that which He has given to us in faith. We have to step out in faith. As we step out in faith, He gives us the gift that enables us to do that thing. Each person has his own part to play. God gives us these gifts to enable to do those activities very well. In Romans 12: 6-8 we read about those gifts:

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.
So if God has given you the ability to prophesy,
speak out with as much faith as God has given you.
If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.
If it is giving, give generously.
If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously.
And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

These are gifts of God. Some people are given the gift of teaching, others are not. Some are given the gift of serving, others are not. Every gift is from God; given by Him to us so we can live according to the faith that we’ve been given. As we evaluate our days, He gives us the gifts to accomplish that which He wants us to do. The gifts and the lives that we’ve got enable the body to grow.

Imagine each part of the body fulfilling the part that God has for them!

We need saving. God sorts that out! Because of the sin, our mind is all upside down. So He provides a way to renew our minds and our thinking! He knows we need to go forward, so He starts talking to us about going on in the faith that God has given us, and evaluating ourselves by the faith that He’s given us as we go down the road over the coming years. That takes us forward to fulfil our earthly times. Our earthly times are limited. What better place to be found than about our Father’s business!

God opens the doors, gives the gifts and provides the blessings! The body goes forward!

We are His workmanship. We are created in Christ to do good works that God has prepared for us before we walk into them. He will give us gifts to accomplish those things. We can evaluate where we stand in Him by the faith He’s given us. Consider these things. There’s no point in carrying on for no reason. We have plans to fulfil! We have the body of Christ, which we are part of! We have a function within that body of Christ! He’s promised us gifts to help us do it.

There is no reason to fail. There are no spare parts. We go on until that day He calls us again.


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