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By Elder Sherman Ong

Published Life BPC Weekly, 2006-02-26

Text: Revelations 14:13

"Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." (Revelations 14:13)

Are you working yourself to death? What are the symptoms of workaholics? Are you missing on your quiet time with God? Are you working overtime daily? Are you bringing your work back home to do daily? Are you skipping worship services because you have to work overtime? Do you miss out on your family time? Are you skipping family worship? If your answer is affirmative to these questions - beware - you may be working yourself to death! This is not God-honouring. It is time for reflection and to conduct a quick life inventory check.

Back to the First Principle

The first question in The Shorter Catechism states: What is the chief end of man? The answer is: Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. The Westminster Larger Catechism question 1 states: What is the chief and highest end of man? Answer: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever. If man's chief and highest end in life is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever, anything other than this is out of the sphere of God's will! That was why the Apostle Paul had provided the Corinthians a litmus test: "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31) Our entire life must be one that is mapped to bringing glory to God, our Creator. We are created in His image, and we must be His light-bearer, and shine the darkness away wherever He will place us. We are to "bloom where we are planted", so to speak.

Timeless Principles that prevents slow death in the fast lane -

1. Seek God First "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) This is the first and foremost timeless principle for every child of God to obey and practise. By putting God first in all things, we glorify Him and Him alone. King David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). As long as he lived in the sphere of God's will, he continued to glorify God. But when he left the sphere of God's will, he fell into sin and lived a life of sorrow and pain. God is very clear about this relationship with us. He wants to bless us, but He expects us to be faithful in seeking Him and putting Him first always.

2. Spirit of Excellence "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." (Ecclesiastes 9:10) This is another timeless principle for the child of God to obey and practise in order that one may glorify God. Every child of God must possess this spirit of excellence. All that the Lord has entrusted us to do, we must do it with the best ability that we know how, and glorify Him in them. Every work from the Lord is honourable if it is done to His praise and glory. The world looks to productivity as an important criterion for prosperity and success. Christians are blessed with work in order that he may glorify God and bring about a godly testimony to the praise and glory of His Creator. Our work reflects our attitude towards God. Hence, God blesses us with great success and prosperity.

3. Secret of Success "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then shalt have good success." (Joshua 1:8) God has given every child of God a blueprint of life - a roadmap - and He expects us to study it, chew over it (literally) and internalise it. In so doing, we will not depart from His way, His truth and His life. The Word of God promises those who keep His words shall have good success in life. Jesus says, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) Do you believe in it? Then why aren't you spending time reading, studying, and meditating upon God's Word? Don't miss out on this secret of success in our Christian walk!

4. Surrender to win Christ "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." (Philippians 3:8) Christ is our life goal. Christ is our focal point. Christ is the only Constant. We must be prepared to give up anything and everything that may hinder our walk with Him in order to follow and please Him. Jesus says, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) For the world, the secret to gain is to grab, but for the Christian, the secret to victory in life is to give - to consecrate our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1)

5. Saved to Serve "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day." (Deuteronomy 8:18) We are born again to serve the Lord. Christian service is a hall mark of being born again. Christian service is a natural course and outcome of being a transformed person. As the Lord empowers our life and enables us to get wealth, He made us His faithful stewards and effective disciples to serve Him all the days of our life. Many of us may not be fulltime ministers, but all are to be tentmakers of the Lord (Acts 18:3). Our ability to get wealth comes from the Lord and for the sole purpose of serving Him.

6. Supreme virtue of life "But godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6) Having acquired all things, get wisdom. Godly wisdom will put us in good stead. Solomon asked of God to give him wisdom and knowledge in order that he might rule the kingdom. As God's children, we must never be mesmerized by materialism and worldliness. Godliness with contentment is great gain. This is the surest way of not suffering slow death in the fast lane and suffering burnout. Very often because of over-commitment in our career, we do not have time for God and His people. Instead of living a balanced Christian life, we live a lopsided and topsy-turvy life.

7. Serve to glorify God - "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31) This is a very important reminder to every child of God as we work in the world; we are to acquire this spirit of servanthood. The corporate world is talking about servant leadership. Even as corporate leaders grapple with the idea of servant leadership, the Bible has very clear injunctions for Christian workers - serve to glorify God! Recognise that God is there in all that we do. Nothing is too insignificant to God or for God to bless. Anything that is worth doing is worth consecrating and working out to glorify His name. Whether therefore we eat, or drink, or whatsoever we do, let us do all to the glory of God.

Are you dying in the fast lane?

The rat race is for rodents! As God's children, we are created in His image for His everlasting purpose. Our calling in God is distinct from the worldly designation. The Word of God tells us, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:27-28) Life is short, and death is short. After death is judgment! No one can escape it; every one has to take this journey to eternity, unless we live to witness our Lord Jesus Christ's second coming! What we do in this life, the Bible says, "their works do follow them" (Revelations 14:13). Make sure that you accomplish what is most needful in life. Our Lord Jesus commanded us to perform the following works in our short life span:

Work No. 1 "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." (John 6:29)

Work No. 2 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12)

Work No. 3 "If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23)

So the most important work is the work of believing! We must first seek to believe in and serve the living and true God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Our Lord's life mission was clearly presented by Dr Luke: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) Therefore, Jesus wants us to be His witnesses, and to continue to win souls into His kingdom. With each day He tarries in His coming, we have additional opportunities to win souls for Him. King Solomon says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise." (Proverbs 11:30) The final and ultimate test of our faithfulness is obedience to His Word! Again, Jesus taught the disciples, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (John 15:7). God's abiding words will guide and help us to glorify Him. As we hide God's words in our hearts, we will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). God will always answer us affirmatively as we live in the sphere of His will. This is the sure way not to die in the fast lane!

Conclusion

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." (1 Corinthians 3:11-23)

If we learn to build our life foundation on Christ alone and seek to put Him first always, exercise the spirit of excellence daily, practise the secret of success by meditating on the Word of God, surrender our life to win Christ, serve the Lord whole-heartedly, acquire contentment in godly living, and continue to serve the Lord in order to glorify Him, we will most certainly be saved from the destructive nature of running in the fast lane. May the Lord help us. Amen.

Vision & Mission

 

To build a united church family that is committed to making disciples through Salvation, Sanctification and Service, to the glory of God.

Verse for the Week

December 3 & 10 - Holy Living

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 2 Peter 3:11