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Overflow from inside
- Jacob Ninan
If we look at the lives of great men of God we see that they have all been driven to attempt and achieve great things for God because they were driven by a great love for God and their desire to show their gratitude to Him. The Apostle Paul said, "The love of God controls us" (2Co.5:14), and, "To me, to live is Christ" (Php.1:21). But what happens if we are driven instead by a desire to make a name for ourselves, make money, enjoy life, etc.? Even if we are busy in 'Christian' activities, and our ambitions are all centred around 'Christian' accomplishments, if we are driven by selfish motives we would be wasting our lives in terms of eternity. As someone has said, only things done at God's initiative, in His strength and for His glory will have value in eternity (Ro.11:36).
It is not that we should not work for earthly things. Certainly we have to make our living on the earth, we have to earn money, and we have to be diligent and faithful in whatever we do. The difference between a godly life and a worldly life is where the heart is. Every earthly thing we do can be acceptable in God's sight if it is done according to His will and for His glory (Col.3:23). But now I am writing about doing things for God.
Jesus said that rivers of living water would flow from our innermost being, concerning how the Holy Spirit would work through us (Jn.7:38,39). In other words, any work that is of God will flow from deep inside us. That is where God is at work, in us, transforming us into the character of His Son, Jesus Christ (Php.2:13). It is out of the abundance of that life that our external actions have to proceed, if we are to be accomplishing the will of God.
How easy it is for us to be taken up with all the things we are "doing for God," from singing in the choir to preaching (or any other thing) and not give attention to what God is trying to do in us! Using the above examples, we can be worrying about training our voice and protecting our throat from infections, or finding impressive illustrations and perfecting our delivery, while we do not pay much attention to keeping a good conscience or forgiving others. Then a time will come when we become dry and hollow inside and we have to resort to pretence and acting in order to preserve our name.
A life of pretence is heavy and hard to keep up for a long time. On the contrary, how pleasant and joyful it is to listen to the Spirit of God and yield to Him, and do everything else in step with Him!
Jesus said that a cup of water given from the heart of a disciple would have its reward (Mt.10:42). He praised the widow who gave two coins to the temple because she gave out of her physical poverty but out of the abundance of her heart (Lk.21:3,4). It is not the quantity of the outward things that matters but the quality of the inside.
Let us seek to be true and real inside, and then the outside will also be real and lasting (Mt.23:26).