In the first part of this study we were discussing how we are called for a purpose and how our gifts will be used to edify one another. We all have gifts and they should be used in conjunction with other gifts within the body to fulfill the plan and purpose of God within that local body. In fulfilling our purpose we not only fulfill the plan for ourselves, but also contribute to the greater plan God has called us to complete within the body of Christ as a whole. This takes the obedience of a body with a shared vision, but it starts with the individual being obedient to his or her calling to make this happen on a corporate level.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Before the world was created, God had a plan and purpose outlined for each one of us. The significance of this is hard for many to comprehend. Why would Christians walk away from their God ordained destiny, if they truly understood the significance of what they were doing?
Many times Christians walk away from the place God has called them to be a part of because of disagreements, or in many cases a lack of commitment to the plan God has called them to fulfill. The vision must be clear if you are going to fulfill it. We are not stumbling through this life on our own without help. There is a plan for each of us, and God expects us to find it and take the necessary step to fulfill it.
The Living Bible says it like this…
1 Corinthians 6:20 For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God, because he owns it.
There is an attitude that has come out of the world, of I’m doing my own thing. This is a form of rebellion towards God and will greatly hinder His plan for our life. This same attitude has permeated the church and has become a major problem. Many Christians are doing their own thing and don’t understand why they are not walking in the blessings of God. This is not a new thing, it’s been around since the beginning, and has been the root of every sin. I realize this is a very strong statement but if we were to always walk in obedience there wouldn’t be a sin problem would there? Obedience to the plan God has for our lives has got to be ever present in our thoughts and prayers. Our choices should be based not just on what we feel is right but on the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
God will certainly forgive this attitude but why put ourselves in this place if it is not necessary? God’s Word promises us blessings, yet we have to understand blessings will always follow obedience. So many Christians think that all they have to do is make a few positive confessions and go their merry way. I believe in the power of our words, and understand the great importance that God places on us lining our words up with His words. But I also know that disobedience and a good confession will not bring blessing. We can not walk in disobedience and blessing at the same time. Disobedience breaks fellowship with God and causes our faith to loose its potency. A minister I have great respect for used to say, faith quivers in the face of sin. How true! Blessings always go hand in hand with obedience. How much more we can do for the kingdom when we have found God’s purpose for our life and follow in that path instead of our own plans and purpose and what may seem good to us at the time.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
When we choose our own path outside of God’s plan then we have made a choice to walk in the way of death. This is a very sobering thing to consider, yet God loves us enough to warn us over and over in His word so that we will walk in the path of blessings. He has also given us His Holy Spirit that will lead us in the way that we should go. Let’s look at a some sections of Scripture that shows us a very good example of this. Starting in Genesis 12 We will look at specific sections of Scripture because of space. I would encourage you to look at the whole section through chapter 19.
Genesis 12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. 2. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
3. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'' 4. So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. 5. Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
Lets skip ahead to Genesis 13:1 Then Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife and all that he had, and Lot with him, to the South. 2. Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold. 3. And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai, 4. to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.
5. Lot also, who went with Abram, had flocks and herds and tents. 6. Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. 7. And there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. The Canaanites and the Perizzites then dwelt in the land. 8. So Abram said to Lot, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. 9. "Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.'' 10. And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. 11. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. 12. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom.
14:8. And the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim 9. against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of nations, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar four kings against five. 10. Now the Valley of Siddim was full of asphalt pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled; some fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. 11. Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. 12. They also took Lot, Abram's brother's son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13. Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. 14. Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15. He divided his forces against them by night, and he and his servants attacked them and pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.
16. So he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot and his goods, as well as the women and the people.
Genesis 19:1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 13. "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.''
14. So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!'' But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. 15. When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.'' 16. And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.'' 18. Then Lot said to them, "Please, no, my lords! 19. "Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20. "See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.'' 21. And he said to him, "See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22. "Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.'' Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. 23. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24. Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
A lot happens in these sections of Scripture but I would like to look at the decisions these 2 men choose to make. God spoke to Abram and told him to go to a land He would show him and He would bless him. He left and departed as the Lord instructed and his nephew Lot went with him. Abram treated Lot like a son. We can see Lots blessed place was tied in with Abram. He greatly prospered and had become wealthy in his own right as long as he stayed with Abram. As he prospered the land became crowded to the point that there was not enough room for the both of them and Lots servants began quarreling with Abrams servants. Abram realized that strife was a bad thing and choose to take the high road. He offered Lot his choice of land. Basically, you take your pick and I’ll go the other way. This was the kind of man Abram was. Lot took what looked to be the best land and they parted ways. Before we go on, lets look at some things. Firstly, strife is not godly, and Abraham knew this had to end. Being generous, Abram gave Lot the first choice, yet he was only thinking about himself.
Lot takes off and the next time we see him, he and his family have been taken captive along with all of his possessions. Did Lot have to leave Abram? Was this God’s will for Lot and his family? Abram took his trained servants and went out against the kings that had taken Lot and His family and recovered them and their family and possessions. God was merciful to Lot, yet in chapter 19, Lot is right back in Sodom in the midst of a very wicked city. God sent Angles in to rescue Lot and his family. In the end, Lot was spared, but he lost his wife and all of his possessions.
We all have choices to make. God will allow this, but we have the choice to follow after Him or to go our own way. Lot walked away from Abram and his place of blessing and because of this lost everything. He became wealthy because of Abram, yet instead of showing respect and deferring to his elder, he chose the best for himself. Lot could have said to Abram, I’ll talk to my servants and end this bickering. I’ll sell off some of my herds so that we may dwell together in peace. I’ll do whatever it takes to make things right. He could have dealt with the problem that took him away from Abram and his blessed place instead of running from it. In the natural it looked like he was going to greater prosperity yet you can not walk away from your place of blessing and be prosperous. I know it could have been different for Lot if he had made right choices.
You can not separate obedience and blessing. God has a blessed place for each of us. We must seek it and find it. After we have found it, hold on to it with tenacity. When we find our blessed place, blessings will overtake us. We won’t have to seek them, they will come to us. Let’s make the decision of obedience and not allow anything that may prevent us from entering and staying in our God ordained place. Let us say, persecutions or offenses or anything else will not dissuade us from fulfilling our mission and walking in the place God has preordained. I will choose life for me and my family. Amen
The Olive Branch