You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
Personal Responsibility and Accountability form the Crux of Fruitful Lives on earth
[Acknowledgement to Doug Savage and the other person who compiled and published these images]
God teaches in Proverbs 10:4-6 “He who has a slack hand becomes poor [on a multilevel: spiritual, emotional, and physical.] But the hand of the diligent, [hard-working, industrious, conscientious, faithful,] makes rich. He who gathers in summer [as even the ants do,] is a wise son, (Prov. 6:6.) He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame. Blessings are on the head of the righteous [in the Lord Jesus Christ.] But violence [and every other evil] covers the [lying] mouth of the wicked.”
Unfortunately, people with spiritual, emotional, financial, and other personal problems usually seek an easy way out of their dilemmas without sacrificing their own ‘self’ in any way to be “diligent” in everything they do — and most importantly, to give themselves wholeheartedly to Jesus, “Who [gave Himself on the cross] so that the blessing of Abraham might [freely] come upon [all true believers,]” (Gal. 3:10-14.) Forfeiting the blessed spiritual place or position in God’s Kingdom through faith in Jesus, they look for a paradise here on earth, or a way to get rich, happy, and self-fulfilled in this life to supposedly remain in ‘control’ of everything, which is encroaching unstoppably upon them to make their lives a misery. Well, such a utopia does not exist. That is why all outward religious practices, narcissist self-love, the sinful control of other people, and get-rich-quick schemes, only lead to greater trouble and loss — even if it is veiled under the cloak of personal goodness and religion, as we see in the gospel of greed, which is preached in various forms in all churches, (2 Tim. 3:1-9.)
The dreadful ‘psychological disorder’ of religious narcissism ‘works’ for billions of people because it is easy to pay our money to a church system to supposedly ‘buy’ wealth, health, and happiness. It is just as easy to reject the Truth of God’s Word; abuse those whom we must take care of in Godly agape love, and gather a lot of false friends and preachers who “tickle our ears” by supporting and preaching what we want to hear, instead of searching for, and submitting to the Scriptural Way and Will of God. In this way, we give nothing of ourselves while polishing everything outwardly in an attempt to escape our moral responsibilities and ultimate accountability before the throne of God for our neglected stewardship, (2 Cor. 5;10.)
Except for the truth that Jesus did and still does everything in our place that we can never do, the truth of God’s Word is all about tending to our personal responsibilities in every area of our lives. Hence, Paul cautioned in 1 Tim. 6:9-12, “Those who desire to be rich, [famous, and in sinful control of circumstances and other people,] fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money [and other worldly allurements,] many [believers] have strayed from [trusting God to supply all their needs,] and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, o [person] of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness, [which is not passivity, cowardice, and weakness.] Fight the good fight of faith… [by always standing on the fact that God is Real, Almighty, and His Word is totally true,] and [thus] grab hold of eternal live.”
Ž Scriptural and practical reality is that true blessing on our lives is the place where we all must begin to rectify, as far as humanly possible, the problems that vex us in this life. Man’s way to do this, will always end in eternal disaster, but God’s Way will carry us through this life and bring us to eternal life in heaven. However, to seek Jesus to get a life of luxury and honor in this world is a lure that will hook us onto the fishing rod of the devil. In the wilderness, Satan even came to Jesus, (God Himself,) when He was at an all-time low in His feeble humanity, to tempt Him into selling His human soul for temporal, physical comfort, honor, wealth, and the adoration of this world! (Mt. chapter 4; Heb. 5:8, KJV.) How do we wrap our minds around such audacity! So, we can be sure that the devil will do the same to us.
The evil one knows very well that Jesus never promised us a paradise on earth. In fact, Jesus called us to lay down ourselves or our “minds,” (thoughts, beliefs, will, intellect, and emotions,) as “living sacrifices” unto Him above all, to understand and do His “perfect will,” (Rom. 12:1-2.) We are in stewardship regarding everything we are, and all that God had entrusted to us. So, repenting from all double-mindedness, we must submit ourselves to God Alone under all circumstances. Full submission to Jesus is the basis of our relationship with Him, (Jam. 4:7-8.) We must die to the sinful desires of this world to live in Christ, (Gal. 2:19-21.) We must repent from everything that is sinful to overcome evil, (Rev. 12:11.) We must, after uncompromising acceptance of Jesus, follow Him in a lifestyle of servanthood; trusting in Him to provide for us on all levels of life, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5.) “Our Heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask, [but we must still ask Him,]” (Mt. 6:8.)
· Our Scriptural rebirth and discipleship in Jesus are entwined and subject to decisive submission to Him, the Truth of His Word, and the leading of His Holy Spirit, (John 8:12 KJV.) Our willing submission to God takes us spiritually “out of” the lostness, bondage, and cursedness of this world, (Jn. 1:12-13; Deut. 28,) and places us spiritually into His Spiritual Kingdom of redemption, salvation, and blessing, (1 Pt. 2:9-10; Eph 1:12-14; Col. 1:13-14.)
Thus, being personally born again in Christ is the only way to come under God’s eternal blessing, and to live out our stewardship in His will, (Gal. 3:10-14.) This is what the Paul referred to in Philippians 2:12 when he wrote, “...In obedience work out your own salvation in fear and trembling…” ‘Paul did not mean we must earn our salvation. Salvation must express itself in progressively [striving] to Godly living and upright character,’ (Footnote, Spirit Filled Bible 1991.) Even superrich people who were not spiritually born again into this blessed place inside Jesus’ Kingdom are cursed, and bound to spend eternal life in hell. As long as people remain disobedient to the context of Scriptural Truth, they will remain in the bondage, darkness, and cursedness of the devil, and struggle with the same problems to sink deeper into a pit of hopelessness, instead of “overcoming his wiles” in God’s will and timing through Holy-Spirit power and obedience to His Truth, (1 Jn. 2:1-11.)
Someone wisely said, “Jesus changes our circumstances by changing us.” Conversely, we so desperately want to believe that God will change our fallen world into a good world so that we can be successful and happy here! We want to believe He will turn our bad loved ones into good loved ones, even if they choose to live in darkness. However, God will destroy this fallen world at His return on the clouds, (2 Pt. 3:9-10.) And He will never override the unrepentant decisions of those Who reject Him and His Scriptural counsel, (Heb. 3:15.) By our personal choice to live in Him and follow Him, Jesus changes the bound, cursed souls and lives of believers into salvation, freedom, blessing, and eternal life in heaven — but He always does it His Scriptural Way.
Ž This is where we all must start if we want to understand and experience God’s provision for every area of our lives. The first commandment or creation principle Jesus gave Adam in the garden in Eden was to “tend [manage] and keep [guard] it,” (Gen. 2:15.) God confirmed this in Genesis 1:27-28 when He said, “…In the Image of God He created them [male and female.] Then God blessed them [both] and said to them [both,] ‘Be fruitful [productive] and multiply, [not, as some believe, to have as many children as possible, whom we cannot take care of, as that is just totally irresponsible and cruel – but mainly to multiply the talents and opportunities God entrusted to us,] and [so] fill the earth [with your responsible fruitfulness on all levels of life so that you can] subdue it; [or manage everything within your reach.]” Even in the personal marriage covenant between a husband and his wife, (Gen. 2:23-25,) this remains God’s universal law, creation principle, or commandment to male and female humanity to responsibly manage [not sinfully rule or control] everything within their reach as “joint-heirs [or responsible managers] of life,” (Rom. 8:16-18; 1 Pt. 3:7.)
So, how do we manage our lives according to Jesus’ Scriptural directives? Matthew Chapter 25 is proof that none of the parables of Jesus or any other part of the Bible can be viewed in isolation. Matthew chapter 25 contains three connected parables that describe how God requires our active obedience to His creation principles and Moral-Law commandments to manifest His redemption, salvation, and blessing in Christ. It is true that we are solely redeemed, saved, and blessed by Jesus’ atonement in our place. But after that, we must passionately follow Him in a lifestyle of Moral-Law obedience to His New Covenant commandments, (Jn. 8:12! 1 Jn. 2:3-6! Jn. 13:34!)
1. In Matthew 25:1-13, (the parable of the wise and unwise virgins,) Jesus repeatedly warned us to always “watch,” (guard our lives and whatever He had entrusted to us,) and be “ready” [prepared] for His unexpected (not secret) return, (Jn. 10:10; 1 Ths. 5:21-22.) Eternal life in heaven primarily depends on Jesus’ full atonement in our place, and then on our personal commitment to take responsibility for our lives here on earth, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5; Jude verse 20,) knowing we must all “appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may [give an account of] the things done in the body of Christ [and in this life…]” (Mt. 15:14-30; 1 Cor. 5:10; Mt. 25:31-46.)
2. In Matthew 25:14-30, (the parable of the sheep and goats,) Jesus informs the goats, which neglected the Moral Law of agape love by not feeding the hungry, etcetera, in Holy-Spirit leading, they will be separated from the [obedient] sheep, to “go away into everlasting punishment…” [James Chapter 2.] This does not mean we can be perfect disciples and do everything right as we live only by grace. It means we must follow Jesus wholeheartedly and sincerely as far as humanly possible, and He will help us to glorify His Name by loving our fellow man in deed and truth, (1 Jn. 1:8-10.)
3. Matthew 25:14-30, (the parable of the talents,) is a much understated teaching of Jesus where He speaks of our responsibility to be “profitable” and do the most with everything He had entrusted to us - whether we received a lot of talents or only a few according to our personal ability. This goes way beyond our responsibility to deal wisely with the goods and money God had entrusted to us. If we remain committed to our responsibilities, it is one of God’s universal laws that we will acquire more abilities or talents to support our lives in an ever-widening sphere of “fruitfulness” to glorify His Name and to benefit humanity in general, and His body of believers in particular. Neglecting our stewardship in Christ also carries a heavy penalty, as Jesus will say to the “unprofitable” steward in The Day of reckoning, “You wicked and lazy servant, [you passively neglected the talent that I entrusted to you...] Therefore, take the talent from him and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given… but from him who does not have, [because of his bad stewardship,] even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Thus, I have never seen that even total unbelievers who take care of their responsibilities and live wisely, have fallen into hopeless poverty – unless some catastrophe such as disability strikes them. And now I am not talking about heaping up riches on earth by committing sin such as the oppression of the poor. Such misers are cursed, no matter how well they use their talents, (Prov. 28:27.)
· Of course, we must be vigilant against the schemes of conmen, and not “give what is holy to the dogs or throw our pearls before swine,” (Mt. 7:6.) Proverbs 2:9-15, “God guards the path of justice and preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice; equity and every good path… Discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from.. the man who speaks perverse things [to rob, ensnare, and abuse you…]” Psalm 112:5-8, “Discretion guides charity…” 2 Corinthians 9:5,7, “…[Giving] must be a matter of generosity and not of grudging obligation… So purpose in your own heart [what to give and when to do it in the leading of the Holy Spirit…]” The motive of agape love is not to earn anything from God, as Jesus paid it all in our place, (Isa. 53:3-5.) Our gifts are always to glorify Jesus in every area of our lives with what we have; be it a little or a lot.
One of the most beautiful homes I ever walked into, was a corrugated iron shack that was so neat and clean outside and inside, and so lovingly insulated with old newspapers on the walls, I can never get that perfect picture of personal pride and care out of my mind. I am sure that diligent person heard, "Well done, good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many. Enter into the joy of your Lord," (Mt. 25:21.)
Stewardship firstly pertains to our spiritual lives. Then, to our personal lives. And then, to our lives in general toward others here on earth. For instance, if we love God, we will love Him above all else and in the entire Truth of His Word. Then, we will love our families in deed and truth, and take care of them to the best of your ability according to the precepts of God’s Scriptural, Moral-Law. Then, God will send other people who are in need of His redemption, salvation, and blessing, and if we take care of them to the best of our ability, we will “heap up more treasures, [their precious, blood-bought souls,] in heaven.”
The same goes for taking responsibility for the jobs God had entrusted to us. Even if our job is to mop the floor, we must do that diligently and thankfully. This also equates to things such as taking care of our animals and the rest of God’s creation, (Gen. 1: 27-28; 2:15.) As we take care of our responsibilities, no matter how little or insignificant it may seem to us, God will entrust more talents and opportunities to us.
Godly responsibility is the only key that will unlock a fruitful life in Jesus Christ, with the aim to glorify His Name in everything we do. It is not a look-at-me or get-rich-quick scheme. It is a lifestyle of total dependency on the Holy Spirit, in obedience to the Truth of His contextual Word in every area of our lives.