Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cultivation- Chapter 17

Cultivation: Balance is vital in service and growth in Christ. Too much of “I” will not produce anything for Christ.

God’s cultivation of the hungry-hearted believer is downward. Patiently, persistently, and painfully our Father digs down into the recesses of self, more and more fully revealing to us just what we are, and are not, in ourselves. His reason for this is twofold: that the Lord Jesus might be free to manifest Himself in us; and through us for the sake of others—growing and sharing.

Each of us must be thoroughly cultivated before He can effectively cultivate others.

** During this time of cultivation most of the service that we do is for the growth of ourselves and not for the growth of others. I’ve put of serving in a church for years because I thought that I needed to be fully grown and developed as a Christian before I could help anyone else. I’m realizing that the service part is going to help me grow. Even if I don’t feel as though I’m reaching out to many teens at the youth group, I will know that this is going to be mainly for my growth as a Christian and my own cultivation. It will be a process which should become more about Him and less about me.

Our Lord always concentrates on the greater need.
** So that if we are not fully grown our service is for our own hearts so that we can fully mature. This is turn will help us to fully serve Christ and to reach out to more people.

Not our interest in Christian work; our energies, enthusiasm, ambitions, or abilities; not our academic qualification, or anything that we are in ourselves, but simply our spiritual life is the basis of the beginning and growth of our service to God. Even the work, when we are in it, is used by Him to increase our spiritual measure.

** There is nothing we can do on our own to prove to God that we are good Christians. God only looks at our heart and our spiritual life to know if our intentions are pure. When our spirit is right, we can be used by God but this is not a measure of our faith or righteousness. True Christian service comes from a changed heart and not because we feel like we have to or need to.

Too many want to preach about being the thing themselves, but in the long run it is what we are, and not simply what we do or say, that matters with God, and the difference lies in the formation of Christ within. WE ARE NOT SAVED TO SERVE; WE ARE MATURED TO SERVE.

We find out everyone else by first finding ourselves out. (This takes some serious time in prayer and time in the word.)

Praying for others can only flow from a heart at rest about itself, and knowing the value of the desires which it expresses for another. I could not be true or happy in praying otherwise.

Then too, in all our services, there is the proper motive to be fully considered. “Work should be regarded less with reference to its immediate results, or as to how it may affect this or that person; the great question is, will it, when sifted in His presence, be acceptable to Him? And this acceptability to Him is my reward: Wherefore we labor that, whether present or absent, we may be acceptable to him. 2 Cor 5:9

** When we commit to doing a service we need to stop and evaluate whether we are doing it for our own glory or benefit or are we truly doing it to please him. I know I fail to do this evaluation many times. I do things because I don’t want to say no to someone or to appear to be a nice person. Both of these motives are totally wrong and do not serve for God’s greater purpose.

The quality of one’s work depends on the nature of one’s rest—and the rest should be like His own, known and enjoyed with Him.

P.s. The greatest proof of our love for Chris is that we care for those who belong to Him; if you love me, feed my sheep.

**Evaluation of self: Although I know I’m growing, I still feel like I have a long way to go. I still worry about other people’s feelings over what God wants me to do. I’ve put off serving God at the church for way too long and as I begin my service I pray that I serve with the right intentions and that God will let me mature so that I can help others see his love through me.

1 comment:

Josh Carpenter said...

I am praying for you and your work with the youth group as well. I know you will touch people, but that should not be your goal. If you are doing what God wants you to do and you are in God's will, people will be affected. Be sure you are doing what God wants you to do and the rest will fall into place. It is an easy trap to fall into to try to touch people instead of obey God. I think many well meaning pastors have fallen into this trap over the years.