Obedience to our Lord in every facet of our lives is the key to inner security and experiencing the presence of Christ.
I recall one wealthy and influential businessman in California who sacrificed everything he had to care for his dying wife. Eventually he spent his fortune seeking to find a cure for her disease.
By the time I learned of their situation, they had lost their entire fortune including their palatial home. They were living in modest circumstances in a little trailer on a parking lot in Hollywood.
I went to see them with fear and trembling. How in the world could I, a healthy, young Christian businessman, identify with this poverty-stricken husband? He had already lost his large fortune and was about to lose his most precious friend and mate of nearly forty years.
The trailer was neat as a pin. When I stepped into their humble home, it was as though I were entering a corner of heaven. There, sitting beside his dying wife, was this man holding her hand. Both of them had radiant faces. The joy of the Lord filled the place.
I had come to minister to them, but they ministered to me instead. They were trusting God with their lives. Like Job, they were saying of their Lord, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope (trust) in him..." (Job 13:15).
I will always remember the peace of heart and mind that this couple enjoyed because they had learned to trust and obey the will and ways of God even in the midst of tragedy.
Many people hope to find security in their possessions when only a right relationship with God can bring abundant life.
Through the years, I have become increasingly convinced that there are no unhappy obedient Christians. Furthermore, I have never met a person living a disobedient life who can honestly say that he is happy.
I have observed many Christians like the businessman and his dying wife, however, who have found peace and blessing in tough times because they were walking with God in faith and obedience.
We can find no lasting security in a life apart from God as the Lord of our lives. God alone is the owner of all that we possess and the total source of our supply.
Are you experiencing the joy of Christ in your life? His love? His peace? The sense of His direction? If not, could it be that you are not obeying His commands?
When you withhold the resources that God has entrusted to you for His work, He has little with which to bless you, and your life becomes unfruitful and unhappy.
We are not our own anymore; we have been bought with a price, the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-20).
Giving Him control of our time, talents, and treasure is our way of expressing gratitude to our great and glorious God and Father for all that He has done to fill us with His presence.
Read Luke 12:13-34. What was foremost on the mind of the man in verse 13?
Why did Jesus deny his request? In light of this, why do you think He denies some of our requests?
Why was the man in the parable a fool? How do people today make the same mistakes this man made?
Name some illustrations Jesus used in verses 24-28 to show the uselessness of worrying about material things.
Give some examples from recent events that show how true verse 34 is. How does this parable help you put your priorities in order?
Read Philippians 4:10-19. How did Paul react to the lack of money?
Where did Paul obtain the strength to face adverse circumstances?
Is it easier for you to handle humble circumstances or prosperity? Why?
How does having your priorities straight affect material changes in your life -- whether for the better or worse?
Study verse 19. Why do you think God promises to supply our needs, but not necessarily our desires?
Read I Timothy 6:17-19. How do these verses compare with the world's view? Be specific.
Against what things did Paul warn the rich in Philippians 4:10-19? What did he exhort them to do?
How would your obedience to these verses affect relationships in the following: Your family, church, neighborhood.
In your own words, describe what Jesus Christ did for us according to II Corinthians 8:9.
Read II Corinthians 9:7-8. Because of what Jesus Christ has done for us, we should be willing to invest part of our income in His work. When we give toward His work, that should our attitude be? (verse 7)
Note the use of the word all and every in verse 8. Why can you be cheerful even though you may give sacrificially to God's work? When have you done this, and what has been the result?
Think about the circumstances of your life. What part do they play in your search for security?
In which areas of your life do you feel greedy or materialistic? How have these affected your spiritual well-being?
List your most important possessions. Prayerfully yield each one to God. Then write down one way you can show that it belongs to Him.
Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.
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