Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Striving for the best results

Better decisions don't always produce better results, at least not immediately. But my faith tells me they will in the long run, as I trust God to work all things for good.

Maybe it's like saving money: No tangible benefit is seen in the short term, but over time the rewards become apparent and grow.

I first started toying with this concept on Friday and have continued to think about it since, especially as I have made some decisions I know are good, but I've come close to frustration as positive results seem to be hidden in a tangle of related outcomes including feeling tired and overwhelmed.

Today's reading from My Utmost for His Highest, drawing from Corinthians 6:4, provides interesting, timely and helpful perspective.

Among the words of Oswald Chambers:

"When you have no vision from God, no enthusiasm left in your life, and no one watching and encouraging you, it requires the grace of Almighty God to take the next step in your devotion to Him, in the reading and studying of His Word, in your family life, or in your duty to Him. ...

"We lose interest and give up when we have no vision, no encouragement, and no improvement, but only experience our everyday life with its trivial tasks. The thing that really testifies for God and for the people of God in the long run is steady perseverance, even when the work cannot be seen by others. And the only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God. Ask God to keep the eyes of your spirit open to the risen Christ, and it will be impossible for drudgery to discourage you.

"Never allow yourself to think that some tasks are beneath your dignity or too insignificant for you to do, and remind yourself of the example of Christ in John 13:1-17."

Psalm 139:1-10 also crossed my path today, and I want to share it, as well.

139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and known me.

139:2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.

139:3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.

139:4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely.

139:5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.

139:6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

139:7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?

139:8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

139:9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

139:10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

(The scripture quotation is from the NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION of the Bible, copyright (c) 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.)

I think this is also part of the lesson, from My Utmost on Tuesday. The Scripture is Acts 20:24 -- "... so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus ..."

"Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). ... We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Savior. ... He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God."

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