ARE YOU denying Christ? "Certainly not!" you hasten to answer. But wait!
Jesus Christ came to this earth to set us an EXAMPLE that we should follow in His steps. He lived an active, vigorous life — a life FILED with ZEAL, with ROBUST HEALTH, and real live VITALITY! It may come as a SHOCK to realize that perhaps YOU have been denying your very Saviour!
First and foremost, Jesus Christ came teaching OBEDIENCE to God the Father. His message was concerned with a WAY of life! That WAY of life was not only TAUGHT by Jesus — it was LIVED by Him — perfectly! The ten great commandments, which are living, irrevocable LAWS — express the very ROOT AND FOUNDATION of that WAY of obedience. Christ said "If you love me, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS" (John 14:15). One of those commandments is a sign of identification between God and His true people. And yet — it seems that some have OVERLOOKED a part of this great LAW. Piercing the very core of all human disregard and laziness comes the reverberating THUNDER in the voice of the GREAT CREATOR of this universe! "SIX DAYS SHALT THOU LABOR, and do all thy work" (Ex. 20:9).
DARE we disobey this direct COMMAND?
A Message About WORK The most well-balanced man WHO EVER LIVED was Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Had you ever realized that fact? Jesus said He was sent to this earth to "WORK THE WORKS of the Father," who had sent Him! (John 9:4) His MESSAGE was concerned with ZEALOUS WORK!
Read again an example Christ used to illustrate His message in Matthew 21:28-31. Notice, "... a certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go WORK today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I GO, sir: and went not.
Christ's next question was "Which of the two did the will of the father?" READ the answer in your own Bible! The FIRST, of course! Even though he had first refused — he repented, and then DID something about it. But the other son — though PROFESSING to obey — DID NOT WORK!
Some of YOU may be in danger of showing God BY YOUR WORKS that YOU belong in the SAME status as the second son!
Perhaps you have SEEN the truth! Being able to SEE the difference between the pagan doctrines of demons and the very precious TRUTH of God, you nod your head — you're willing to "go along" with it. Many have been able to SEE the truth of God by the REASONING of their minds — but, in actual PRACTICE — they deny the very truth which they profess — BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO WORK at the business of being a Christian, to SHOW God THEY REALLY MEAN IT! (Titus 1:16.)
Paul's Admonition The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, exhorted them to either WORK — or not eat! "For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, WORKING NOT AT ALL, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we COMMAND and EXHORT by our Lord Jesus Christ that with QUIETNESS they work, and eat their OWN bread and if any man obey not our word by this epistle, NOTE that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed" (II Thes. 3:11-14).
Of course, many brethren leave their jobs because they have found they must keep God's weekly and annual Sabbaths. That is unfortunate — but absolutely RIGHT in God's sight. However, after being WITHOUT a job for some time, they get into WRONG HABITS. They begin to relax, to "take it easy." Discouragement comes with the lack of work, and human nature begins to play its old tricks once more. With the time being wasted as it drifts by, they begin to FIND FAULT with others. This is INVARIABLY the result of idleness!
The life of idleness and ease leads to GOSSIP and roots of bitterness! (I Tim. 5:13.) Some of YOU BRETHREN have been living in IDLENESS! Can you take correction? Can you receive chastisement? (Heb. 12:1-11.)
God commands us to be QUIET — TO QUIT CRITICIZING OTHERS — to do our own business, and to WORK WITH OUR HANDS that we may HAVE, in order to give! (I Thess. 4:11-12.) Every single minute you REFUSE to WORK for your daily needs, to busily engage yourself in whatever job you can obtain — no matter what obstacle — YOU ARE DENYING YOUR VERY SAVIOUR!
The life of a Christian is not easy! Christ did not SAY it would be EASY. He said we are to "count the cost" of living in the only way which can bring real happiness (Luke 14:28). God has promised to supply EVERY NEED of those who put their faith in Him. But that faith CANNOT BE A DEAD FAITH! Read again the second chapter of James. It was the WORKS together with Abraham's faith that really counted!
How to Solve Your Work Problems If you have left your former job because of the Sabbath — God expects you to find another! Perhaps you must take a lower salary at first. The question is: DO YOU BELIEVE GOD? He says He'll supply all your needs — but He demands PROOF of your intent. God wants to see some WORKS along with that faith! He WILL supply every physical need, BUT ONLY AS YOU REALLY DESERVE THEM!
Take for example the man who was forced to quit work in a factory which manufactured implements of war. After quitting his job, he realized he must find another. He chose farming, since he felt he could best put his talents to work in that field. A drought came — he lost everything. With winter approaching, the situation was desperate. But — he didn't gripe! HE DIDN'T BEGIN TO CRITICIZE OTHERS — but he set his jaw and said, "I WILL MAKE IT — SOMEHOW!"
Perhaps you've heard it said before that ANY old dead fish can float downstream. But it takes a very LIVELY fish to swim UPSTREAM, fighting the many cataracts and falls in its path! Yes — it's EASY to go along the line of least resistance — lazily ALLOWING OTHERS to keep pushing us along. But the man who will look coldly at his problem — analyze it, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, is the man God will bless abundantly!
There may be instances when obtaining a job will be quite difficult. Perhaps a man is forced to occupy himself in some manner of work which is out of his particular line. But, in throwing himself COMPLETELY into the task at hand, in determining to MAKE IT — SOMEHOW, he will find the opportunities opening before him, and blessings he had never dreamed were possible! WHATSOEVER you do — whether it's your particular line or NOT — DO IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT! (Eccl. 9:10.)
"By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them" Christ said we are to become shining LIGHTS in the world, that others may see our good WORKS, and through our brilliant, purposeful, POSITIVE EXAMPLE they, too, may be turned to the truth of God.
But too often, it seems, such is not the case! Instead of being a LIGHT to the world — God's people want to be in DARKNESS! The very ones to whom God has revealed His all-important, precious TRUTH want to take it for granted! Instead of becoming entirely DIFFERENT persons than they were — instead of diligently WORKING at their jobs, and SHOWING GOD THEY'RE THANKFUL for His truth, they want to wipe their feet on every principle of God's word, reject and DENY Christ by neglecting to really LIVE as He lived (I John 2:6), by zealously applying themselves to WORK HARDER THAN ANY OTHER PEOPLE ON EARTH!
This negligence and lack of concern brings REPROACH and SCORN on the very Work of God — and God's people.
The common philosophy of this present world of "do as little as possible and get as much as you can for it" is a far cry from the dynamic, vigorous life of the God-fearing person who is busily engaged in BEING A CHRISTIAN!
God's people are not called so they can have it EASY! None of you were chosen so you could RELAX! Read John 16:33, where the recorded words of YOUR SAVIOUR "In the world, you shall have tribulation" show again the MESSAGE which He brought. It wasn't a message concerned with living a life of EASE! But it's well worth the effort! "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). God tells us to WORK out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12).
It's Easy to Be Lazy Some of God's people ARE WILLING to allow others to take care of them. Some are undaunted at becoming a burden to others, and are so very concerned with SELF THEY FEEL NO COMPUNCTION AT LIVING FROM THE LABORS OF OTHERS. Those in God's Church who ALLOW them to so conduct themselves ARE DOING THEM A GREAT INJUSTICE. By PERMITTING them to continue living in this manner, they actually ENCOURAGE their wrong habits!
Those who may be UNWILLING to change — unwilling to really REPENT — may say "I have FAITH." You have faith you say? FAITH that God will take care of you? AND CERTAINLY HE WILL, but unless or until you PROVE TO GOD YOU REALLY MEAN BUSINESS BY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR OWN SITUATION — HE WILL LET YOU STARVE! Abraham's faith, as EVIDENCED BY HIS WORKS, was what really counted! (James 2.)
It's time to WAKE UP, and quit kidding ourselves! It's time to GET BUSY AND STAY THAT WAY! Read from the word of the Almighty RULER of this entire UNIVERSE — the One who has the power of life and death over You — THESE powerful words! "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, HE HATH DENIED THE FAITH and is worse than an infidel" (I Timothy 5:8).