The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from Ps. 70, 143-144; Jer. 50-52; Ezek. 1-16; 3 John 1; and Rev. 1-6. Today’s devotional is also available in Spanish.
“I know your deeds.” This is the expression with which the Lord Jesus began the letters He wrote to the “angels” of each of the churches in Revelation 2-3. If the Lord wrote a letter today to pastors and local churches, I believe He would begin in the same way. “I know your deeds.” This means that our deeds are important to God—because our deeds express our character and our commitment as ministers and as a church. Our deeds are what will complete the Great Commission to preach the gospel, making disciples of all nations.
As a pastor, I serve every day knowing that God is paying attention to what I do. Because of this, I also pay close attention to what I do, knowing what He wants and expects of me and my work, and always looking to have my deeds celebrated and approved by Him.
These days, we tend to pay attention to those of us who are successful in ministry, and we want them to tell us what they do to get results. This is not wrong, but it is very important that the things we hear and the things that are suggested to us be put into balance, measuring them with what the Lord Jesus says.
Let’s begin with acknowledging that Jesus celebrates when His ministers and His church do their work with patience, perseverance, effort, faithfulness, love, faith and a spirit of service, even in the midst of suffering. True followers increase the amount of work they do even in the midst of trials, material poverty or little strength.
But it is also important to understand that the Lord Jesus Christ warns us that in the midst of our “doing,” we should not lose sight of our “being”—our true identity in God. As we fulfill the Great Commission, we must always manifest:
- The fruit of the Holy Spirit, that is, God’s love in us. As we take the gospel to the ends of the earth, we must maintain our first love.
- The character of the Holy Spirit—that is, the holiness of God in us. In the task of making disciples, we must not be lenient with those doctrines that cultivate a lifestyle that displeases God and that go against the life of holiness.
- The life of the Holy Spirit, which is the fullness of God in us. As bearers of abundant and eternal life, believers should not get trapped in the hypocrisy of nominalism, projecting an image of life when we are actually dead inside.
- The ministry of the Holy Spirit—that is, the passion of Christ in us. Being ministers of reconciliation, we preach the message of the passion of Jesus Christ, which reconciles the world with God. We must not become lukewarm in our commitment to God and His works, or become deceived by the alleged stability and comfort that material wealth can provide.
Do our deeds as ministers of Jesus Christ and the works of the churches we pastor manifest the fruit, character, life and ministry of the Holy Spirit who lives in and with us? It is my prayer that we are saturated with the presence of the Holy Spirit, and that our deeds always please God and fulfill the Great Commission.
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