Thursday, 7 February 2013
Live a Life of Faithfulness
Today’s post is from HTB’s Bible in One Year daily devotional by Nicky Gumbel. It is on Faithfulness- a subject that God, my mentor and my close friends have really been prompting me on. I found this passage helpful and thought I would share. To read the full version, click here.
Myra Hindley was one of the most notorious murderers of the twentieth century. Her crimes were almost unbelievably horrific. Yet one person took it upon himself to visit her regularly whilst she was in prison.
Lord Longford (Frank Pakenham – 7th Earl of Longford), 1905–2001, was a controversial figure who spent much of his life visiting prisoners, including Myra Hindley. Yet, no one can doubt his compassion and his faithfulness, both to God and to those he visited.
When he died former prisoners joined hundreds of mourners to say farewell to the man who had spent his life faithfully fighting for society’s outcasts.
He found inspiration in the words of Jesus from today’s passage. On his deathbed he asked his wife, ‘You know what the most important quotation from the Bible is?’ His answer was: ‘I was in prison and you came to visit me’ (Matthew 25:36). This quotation from Jesus was to be Lord Longford’s last words.
Life is not a competition which we have to win. It is not supposed to be a rat race. Life is a huge privilege and an opportunity. God has trusted us with gifts and abilities, which he wants us to use. He is faithful to us and he expects us to be faithful to him.
1. Thank God for his faithfulness
‘Be kind,’ said the philosopher Plato, ‘for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’ The Bible gives us an even stronger reason always to be kind. God is always kind to us. In his faithfulness, he shows us ‘unfailing kindness’…
2. Live a life of faithfulness
We need to be faithful with whatever we have been given. It is no good wishing that we had been given more. We are simply called to do the best we can with what we have. As Mother Teresa said, ‘I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.’ To be faithful means to use the gifts and abilities that God has given us…
Jesus said, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (v.40). He tells us that faithfulness to him is shown in what we do for the most vulnerable and most needy in our world (vv.35–36,42–43). Jesus says, ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (v.40). How we respond to Jesus has eternal consequences (vv.30, 46).
3. Imitate Job’s faithfulness
God has had a good plan for you from the moment you were conceived. He also had a good plan for Job. Right from the start he had planned Job’s restoration and blessing.
Job is remembered throughout history for his faithfulness. The apostle James says, ‘You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about’ (James 5:11).
God does not give is trouble free lives. He does not answer all our questions. But he does reassure us that he is with us in our troubles.
Joyce Meyer writes, ‘If you do things God’s way, he will give you double for your trouble.’ ‘The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first’ (v.12). As with David, God showed his kindness to him and his descendants (v.16).
Job is commended for his perseverance in the face of suffering (James 5:10–11). Satan believed that suffering would cause Job to turn away from God. Job’s perseverance demonstrated that Satan was wrong. With brutal honesty at times, Job was nonetheless able to maintain his worship of God in good times and times of great trial.
His perseverance is an example to us of how to respond to suffering. When we respond with faithful perseverance, Satan is defeated. Job is a ‘type’ of Christ. Through Jesus’ faithful perseverance in response to his suffering on the cross, Satan has been totally defeated, once and for all.
I hope this passage from the full devotional has blessed and encouraged you as much as it has for me.