JEREMIAH 48:10: “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord with slackness, and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from bloodshed.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: Am I diligent in the work that the Lord has given me? While we are not called in the New Testament to take up the sword as God’s instruments of judgment, we are still called to do some difficult things at times. It is easy to serve the Lord when we are walking in His blessings. When people love and affirm us it is a joy. However, when we face opposition, when we are falsely accused, when we are maligned for the work of the Lord – do we remain diligent?
The Lord once confronted my heart with a very difficult question to answer. It was – “Why are you so tenacious in business, but so quick to throw in the towel regarding spiritual things?” This question cut to my heart. I realized that the Lord was right. In business I was relentless, not giving up, but constantly pursuing the next new account. If I received 100 “No’s” – I would keep on until I got the “Yes” that I was looking for. However, in doing the will of the Lord I allowed the simplest of bumps in the road to knock me out of the game. I would get easily discouraged, and many times consider throwing in the towel. Why was this?
In business I was not personally invested. When I faced rejection I was able to shrug it off and go on. They did not know me, I did not know them, it was not personal – it was business! In the ministry it was personal. My heart was fully exposed and invested. Each time I faced rejection, criticism, or opposition, it was a jab to the heart. If anyone tells you that there is no pain in ministry then they have never read the Gospels, they have forgotten the price of the Cross. Jesus’ ministry led him to a painful and lonely death – yet, He was faithful! His faithfulness and obedience was rewarded as God raised Him from the dead and gave Him a name that is above all names – Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Lord of Lords!
We soon learn that we cannot do the work of the Lord without pain, and more importantly, without the power of the Holy Spirit. I can muster up the strength to go on in business. However, I cannot muster up the strength to go on in ministry. I need the indwelling power and daily renewing of the Holy Spirit! Only in the power of the Holy Spirit can I serve the Lord with diligence and faithfulness! This is what Paul is eluding to when he exhorts the Philippian believers.
- “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:12-16 ESV)
When we allow the inner working of God in our lives through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to be our strength – we can serve the Lord with diligence, we can minister the sword of His Word with anointing! In the power of the Holy Spirit we can embrace the cross before us, for we know that in our suffering we are only made more like Jesus as we place our complete confidence in Him. When we are diligent in the work of the Lord, through the power of the Holy Spirit, His word of promise to us is sure!
- “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:10-12 ESV)
Lord, this morning, help me to be diligent in fulfilling Your calling in my life. Help me to walk in the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit. Help me to minister the sword of Your Word in humility, power, and love!
In Jesus Name!