SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (December 14, 2013)
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load. 6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches” Galatians 6:1-6.
“CARRY EACH OTHER’S BURDENS AND IN THIS WAY YOU WILL FULFILL THE LAW OF CHRIST” Galatians 6:2.
In the previous edition of Spiritual Nourishment for Today, we focused our attention on Galatians 6:2 and emphasized the need to support one another spiritually, emotionally and financially. We emphasized that aside all the financial and emotional support we can offer to other believers to help carry one another’s burdens, prayer support should never be left out. It is the most important support we can offer one another as believers. In this edition, we want to look at Galatians 6:3. In Galatians 6:3 we find Paul exhorting believers as follows:
“IF ANYONE THINKS HE IS SOMETHING WHEN HE IS NOTHING, HE DECEIVES HIMSELF.”
This is something we all need to pay attention to and try to understand it in order to be able to apply to our Christian lives. The piece of advice being given to us in this particular verse is that:
CHRISTIANS SHOULD STOP DECEIVING OURSELVES BY THINKING THAT WE ARE SOMETHING WHEN INDEED WE ARE NOTHING BEFORE THE LORD. BEING NOTHING IN THIS CASE DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE WORTHLESS BEFORE GOD. IT ONLY MEANS WE ARE NOTHING WITHOUT OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. Many Christians in this world sometimes deceive themselves by looking at themselves as being more important than others because of what they possess in terms of wealth. Some look at the cars, buildings and the amount of money stack in their bank accounts and begin to think they are better than others who do not possess what they possess. Many people who have been blessed by God in the things of the world tend to look down on those who have not attained what they have. This is pride and therefore evil. This is one of the reasons why Paul is saying such a person is nothing. Despite all the material possessions we may have accumulated, we are nothing in the presence of the Lord because without him, we cannot achieve anything in this world. According to Scripture, all wealth comes from God.
“THE SILVER IS MINE AND THE GOLD IS MINE,’ DECLARES THE LORD ALMIGHTY” Haggai 2:8.
“BUT REMEMBER THE LORD YOUR GOD, FOR IT IS HE WHO GIVES YOU THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE WEALTH, AND SO CONFIRMS HIS COVENANT, WHICH HE SWORE TO YOUR ANCESTORS, AS IT IS TODAY” Deuteronomy 8:18.
The above shows why we are nothing before the Lord despite all our wealth. We are nothing because whatever we think we have belongs to the Lord and he can take it and give it to anyone he so desires. So even in our riches, we must learn to act responsibly, bearing in mind that the Lord blessed us in order that we shall become a blessing unto others, and not to boast or look down upon those who do not have.
My dear rich Christian, do you now see why you are nothing without God? I guess it will be very wise for all believers to ask the Lord what we are expected to do with whatever the Lord has blessed us. In that case we shall know exactly how to use our wealth for his purposes and ultimately bring glory to his name.
Apart from those who are rich and see themselves as something when indeed they are nothing, some people who have been gifted with spiritual gifts also see themselves to be something. Yet in the presence of the Lord, we are all nothing! Some people think that the spiritual gifts they have were received because of their own efforts in the form of fasting and prayers. They boast that the Lord opened their eyes to see beyond the present or gave them power to perform miracles, heal sicknesses and exorcise evil spirits because of their continued fasting and persistent and consistent prayer life. This may not be entirely wrong. It is true that God draws nearer to us when we draw nearer to him. But it is not true that what we do can earn us anything before the Lord. It is only by grace. We cannot do anything apart from him; neither can we receive anything if he does not grant them to us. In John 15:5 Jesus clearly stated:
“I AM THE VINE; YOU ARE THE BRANCHES. IF YOU REMAIN IN ME AND I IN YOU, YOU WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT; APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.”
This means that even though we can make several efforts, we can do nothing apart from him. Apostle Paul also asked the question:
“FOR WHO MAKES YOU DIFFERENT FROM ANYONE ELSE? WHAT DO YOU HAVE THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE? AND IF YOU DID RECEIVE IT, WHY DO YOU BOAST AS THOUGH YOU DID NOT?”
It is therefore very important for us to remember that whatever our Spiritual gifts and whatever we are able to do in ministry does not come from our own efforts. It is only by God’s grace. Once we have such an understanding, we will be able to humble ourselves before the Lord and serve the body of Christ with our gifts in order to build one another in Christ.
IF WE TRULY UNDERSTAND THAT WE RECEIVED OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS OF SPEAKING, WRITING, TEACHING, HEALING, COUNSELING, PERFORMING MIRACLES, SPEAKING IN TONGUES, LEADING THE FLOCK, ORGANIZING THE CHURCH, INTERPRETING TONGUES, DREAMING, INTERPRETING DREAMS, AND SEEING VISIONS ETC. CAME FROM THE LORD, WE WILL NEVER BOAST ABOUT ANYTHING.
Many people do not understand that they received their gifts only by grace. They think their own efforts helped them. With this queer understanding, they demand money and other favors before serving the Lord with their gifts. It is the reason for which some people request for money before praying for their fellow believers. It is the reason for which many people demand money and other items from others in order to fast for them. What a shame! Have we forgotten what Jesus commanded us to do?
“HEAL THE SICK, RAISE THE DEAD, CLEANSE THOSE WHO HAVE LEPROSY, DRIVE OUT DEMONS. FREELY YOU HAVE RECEIVED; FREELY GIVE” Matthew 10:28.
Jesus commanded us to offer whatever we have received freely to others freely. If we understand we received freely, then we must also offer freely to the glory of the Lord and for the benefit of mankind. This does not mean it is wrong to receive free gifts or stipend after ministering. If the Lord touches the hearts of people to give us gifts of any kind because they feel blessed through our Spiritual gifts, we should receive and bless them for that is God’s will for his workers. We should not focus on getting something in return for what we use our Spiritual gifts for.
The point being made in this message is that we should not look at ourselves as something we are not. We should not look down upon others because of what we have or what we are able to do because whatever we are now was made possible through the grace of God. Without his power and grace in our lives, we are nothing. Let us therefore submit fully to him and serve others with our wealth, gifts and talents instead of looking down on them. May the Lord help us all!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 7
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 6
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 5
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 3
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 2
Exhortations for Good Christian Living – Part 1
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.