From the desk of Steve Shultz:
There is something to be said about our efforts and devotion to God. I've noticed how much hungrier I am in deep times of His presence... be encouraged to Love HIM even more.
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The Ultimate Purpose of Man: To Love God
In every field or profession, we can find people who seek to excel, but often there are more who settle into a place of just doing enough to get by. They may have spurts when they decide to do more or do better, but they usually do not last long before they begin to settle again. Unfortunately, Christians are generally the same about their faith with most seeming to just do enough to get by. As the Lord said to the Church of Laodicea in the Book of Revelation, to be lukewarm is so repulsive to Him that He will "spew these out of His mouth." It is a very dangerous presumption. There is nothing more offensive in a relationship than indifference, and when we are indifferent to the Lord, we are making such a terrible mistake that He even said it would be better to be cold than lukewarm.
The ultimate purpose of man is to love God, and the ultimate success of our life will be determined by how much we love Him. Those who truly know Him cannot be lukewarm. Those who are lukewarm are deceived into thinking they know Him. As the Lord warned, we can do many great works in His name, but then hear from Him on that great Judgment Day that He never knew us. Of course, He knows who we are, but this word that He uses for "know" in this text speaks of the deepest kind of knowing and intimacy.
A Greater Effort and Devotion
The Apostle Paul used the great athletics of his time, running and boxing, as an example of how we should pursue our purpose in the Lord. I've known many great professional athletes, and those who rose to the top of their field all have the same thing in common—superior effort. Of course, they must have the foundation of athletic coordination and skill, but those will not get you far without the commitment to make a greater effort.
I was sitting with Reggie White in his den once when we were joined by a teammate of his from the Green Bay Packers, who was also an All-Pro player. It came up in a conversation that they both believed there were probably people in the stands in every city they had played in who had better potential than they did. However, they were lacking the effort to develop it, which is necessary to play at the top level of a sport. So, those with superior potential spent their time in the stands paying to watch others do what they could have been doing. This is probably true in every sport and every profession. That is sad, but how much more sad will it be to be in that position for eternity?
Those who played basketball with Michael Jordan said that he had better than average talent, but that was not what made him great—it was his focus and devotion to be the very best he could be every time he stepped onto a basketball court. This was not just devotion for the games, but he was always the first one at practice and the last one to leave.
Christians fall into these same categories too. Some are not going to do any more than they have to in order to get by. The majority probably want to be good Christians and put forth an effort to learn and grow in Christ, and then a few have an uncommon devotion. These are constantly reading, studying, going to hear special speakers, or go to churches and conferences where they feel that they might learn of the Lord or experience Him in some way. We call these the ones who are "on fire for God." But how can anyone who has met the living God not be on fire for Him?
Those who read articles such as this WFTW (word for the week) are likely in category three—you are in pursuit of God. You likely get up early in the morning to have a devotion time and seek fresh manna from the Lord. You are serious about being the salt and light you are called to be, and you go to prayer meetings to actually pray, and you have many things that you pray for. When you read and study, it is with purpose. You are the ones who will likely be a part of the greatest move of God that has ever come upon the earth which will soon be upon us. Your devotion and effort will pay off.
The greatest gift that we can have as Christians is spiritual hunger. The time and effort we have given to knowing the Lord and His ways are about to pay off more than we ever dreamed. Those who have been slothful in their pursuit of God and their purpose in Him will likewise soon have great remorse because of their lack of devotion. However, He is gracious, and if we will repent of being lukewarm, He can make up the time that we've lost.
In the times we are entering, those who remain lukewarm will not make it. Those who did not have the devotion to hear the words of the Lord and obey them did not build their lives on the Rock. Many will not make it through the storms that are coming. Those who have built on the Rock will reap the greatest harvest in history and will be known for eternity as those who served the Lord in the last days.
The greatest event that will soon be upon us is not the great tribulation, but the great harvest that is the end of the age. These are the times that the prophets and righteous of old desired to see, and we've been called to live in them. We must not waste this greatest of all opportunities.
Because one of the critical factors in building a house that will stand in these times is hearing the word of the Lord, we have been studying how He speaks prophetically and will continue, but this will not do us any good if we do not obey what He's saying. If we have been frivolous in our pursuit of God, this is the time to get serious and stay serious regardless of what others are doing. We will soon be very glad for our devotion and very remorseful for the time we wasted. Let's determine that from this point on we are going to be glad.
Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church. He is the author of more than forty books, including The Final Quest, A Prophetic History, and Church History. He is also the president of The OAK Initiative, an interdenominational movement that is mobilizing thousands of Christians to be engaged in the great issues of our times, being the salt and light that they are called to be. Rick and his wife, Julie, have five children: Anna, Aaryn, Amber, Ben, and Sam.