Here is the question to ponder today, how hard is it to die when you have so much wealth? Consider this: People who lay up treasures on earth spend their life backing away from their treasures. To them, death is loss.
People who lay up treasures in heaven look forward to eternity; they are moving daily toward their treasures. To them, death is gain.
Those who spend their life moving away from their treasures have more and more reasons to despair. Those who spend their life moving toward their treasures have more and more reasons to rejoice.
Is the passing of time causing you and me to despair or rejoice? God's ownership of everything is the reference point for all of us who serve the Lord.1
How Can We Stay Spiritually Healthy in Life?
God's Word teaches us eight habits that can keep us spiritually healthy until death. Wouldn't it be great to be in robust spiritual health, looking forward to Heaven? The habits recorded in Psalms 116 are not just for those who have one foot in the grave, they are actually good habits for all of our lives.
Here are the simple habits that make our death precious in the sight of the Lord. These are the marks of a healthy spiritual life that takes the sting out of death.
v. 1 Believe in Him. that He is listening and watching and respond in love.
v. 2 Cry out to Him. Get used to talking to the Lord. Pour out your heart, your fears, your woes—share them with Him.
v. 9 Follow Him. through your daily life. He is the Shepherd and we are His sheep.
v. 13 Drink Him. He is our cup of salvation. We thirst and He alone satisfies. Let Him into your life to meet your deepest needs!
v. 14 Obey Him. Do what He says. Give in and submit to Him.
v. 16 Serve Him. Tell Him that, say it aloud, and offer it as an offering.
v. 17 Thank Him. Think through all the many blessings and benefits the Lord has heaped upon you. If you have troubles, listen to some children pray. They thank the Lord for eyes to see, warm "blankies" to sleep under, food to eat, and all the other simple and sweet blessings of life.
v. 18–19 Live for Him. From now on live for His glory, talk of His blessings, come into His presence, worship and adore Him.
Do your plans and priorities for the rest of this year mirror what the Lord desires? His desires are clearly laid out in His Word.
Our key passage for this series is 1 Timothy 4:7. Paul says we are to discipline our selves towards godliness. What encourages a godly life?
The Discipline of Scripture
Time alone with God in His Word, the Scriptures, is the great necessity of our spiritual lives. We need to be alone with God daily! We need to find times to get away alone.
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
The Lord God of the Universe wants to arrange your life, and accompany your trip through life, and authorize everything needed from now on. Wow, that is the best life there is.
The Discipline of Spirit-Filled Living
Jesus explained the Holy Spirit in our lives by using the image of a strong river of water flowing out of us.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink (present active imperative). He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37–39).
Rivers of water is the way Jesus describes the normal life of believers, His children.
The Discipline of Stewardship
A life given back to God as an offering is what stewardship is all about. Stewardship is not about money; it is about life itself. Time and life are far greater treasures than money and possessions. God wants you 1st and foremost! A Godly steward knows that God own him and everything he has.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1–2).
And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15).
He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he's moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving away from his treasures has reason to despair. He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice.
Is the passing of time causing you and me to despair or rejoice? God's kingdom was the reference point for these men. They saw all else in light of the kingdom. They were compelled to live as they did not because they treasured not things, but because they treasured the right things.
We often miss something in missionary martyr Jim Elliot's famous words, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." We focus on his willingness to go to the mission field. That willingness started when he relinquished his hold on things as MINE!
1. Adapted from Alcorn, Money, Treasures and Eternity.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Ben White
This article was excerpted from Dr. John Barnett's book, Discipline Yourself For Godliness. For more resources, visit our website at www.DiscoverTheBook.org. Or to read the rest of this article, insert the following URL into your browser bar: http://www.dtbm.org/sermon/discipline-four-stewardship-living-totally-for-jesus/
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