….others let themselves be cruelly attacked, having no desire to go free, so that they might have a better life to come.(Heb 11:35)
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Pet 1:4)
God has graciously given us all things to freely and richly enjoy, He’s promised us blessings in every area of life, there’s no field his Word does not apply, no region it does not affect. It is His will that we believe, appropriate and enjoy these good promises He has given us. It is our rightful inheritance in faith, being blessed with Father Abraham.
Sickness need no longer plague us because the promise of healing is given in the Word.
Poverty need no longer plague us because the promise of abundance is given in the Word.
Death need no longer cut us short again because the promise of long life is given in the Word.
He’s promised that none shall lack their mate, He’s promised that we are divinely protected, He’s promised that the works of our hands are blessed, He’s promised that we are more than conquerors, all these and more are ours and our ability to recognize it and take a hold of it, will lift us above the realms of merely surviving.
However they comes a point in your walk with God, where you consciously and purposefully lay down the promise for a greater cause, I.E you choose not to be a partaker of a particular promise(s) for a higher cause. This is not a gospel babes in the faith can receive, but it’s definitely an experience that the matured will at some point face.
We’re not talking about laying asides sins or weights or things that are lawful but not beneficial, we’re talking about real promises, good things, the good things father God wants His children to have, things that legally and officially belongs to you as His children.
Laying the promise aside does not mean disbelieving them or out-rightly refusing them it means like Paul you are willing for the cause of Christ and His purpose on earth to do without them for the reason of advancing God’s purpose, it means like Abraham you are looking forward to a city which is not built by mans hands, that you are willing to trade the blessings in this world for a glory in the world to come, it means necessity is laid upon you that demands a giving up of what you can rightfully demand.
…that you are willing to trade the blessings in this world for a glory in the world to come
By default every christian must go after the promises and appropriate it to every area of life by faith that’s how we’ll manifest His Glory, that’s how we partake in His divine nature but we are willing that if it comes to it, we’ll lay down the promise for the greater Glory of God.
You can actually go wrong following your rights! Because while the law of rights stands strong, the law of love and wisdom stands even stronger. Parents have the right to spend all their money on themselves and just give just enough for their children to get by, as long as the parent provides shelter, food and basic education the law cant fault him/her, but many a parents go the extra length, working two jobs, ignoring their own needs and wants to give their kids the best. God had every right to keep Jesus by His side up there in heaven, but He let go His rights to constant fellowship to the only begotten son and gave Him up for us.
You can actually go wrong following your rights!
There is a greater cause than your right to your rights and this should cause you as need be to even give up your rights. It is the right of every blood washed saint to abound in prosperity, for scriptures declare that Jesus was poor that we might be rich, His promise that He would bless the works of our hands and that we would lend to nations and borrow from none is at work in our lives, but some believers fully aware of this promise choose for a greater purpose to let go the promise, they see the need and choose to get involved perhaps giving up more lucrative opportunities, going where their lives can be a blessing even at the cost of a fatter bottom line. Their obedience to such a call means that they may have to let go the promises of wealth and comfort for the greater cause of helping lives.
The Apostle Paul was without doubt a man who walked in some of the highest light of Christianity, his truth was so deep than Peter one commented that some of his sayings are hard to be understood. The man knew who he was in Christ, his rights, his privileges and the promises for him, yet he lived a queer and unique life even as an Apostle;
he said “to the To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some (1 Cor 9:22)”
He was a man who knew the riches he had in Christ yet he for the sake of preaching the gospel, laid down his legal rights that he may reach men for Christ. He was the one who declared the abounding grace that a man would have sufficiency in all things and be able to abound in every good work (2 cor 9:8), he knew the riches of Christ to supply all needs even for others (phil 4:9), he was no baby, yet he said of his life that he was often in despair, close to death, surrounded by perils, often hungry and thirsty, usually facing cold and nakedness (2 Cor 11:24-29). He did not face these things because he did not know how to trust God for provision or appropriate divine protection or supply, he knew too well all these things, yet he CHOSE to when necessary give them up for the greater cause of blessing men.
Now you understand why he said “So then death worketh in us, but life in you. (2 Cor 4:12)”. He as a father in the faith chose to give up his rights to further the cause of God in the lives of his children!
At one point he refused to collect offerings from the Corinthian church he ministered to, a right he affirms belongs to a minister! why? Because the church had so many wrong misconceptions, people had come and in the name of the Lord robbed them and so for the cause of showing what a proper apostle and minister is like and not to look like the false apostles he refused support from the church (for greater understanding on ministers and offerings, read the article “The norm and para-norm of ministers funds”). For a greater cause he gave up his genuine right, a promise from God, and became a soldier who was warring at his own expense, he became a tent maker to support himself. For the greater cause of unity and maturity among this local congregation he laid down his rights and the promises of reaping physical rewards after sowing spiritual seeds. He said of his actions;
“If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ (1 Cor 9:12)”
He also pointed he pointed out “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 1 Cor 9:5”
He recognized that God had promised “…none shall lack her mate…(Isa 34:16)” and he could like Peter hold to it and receive a mate but for God’s greater cause in his life particularly he laid down that promise. So also for a brother out there who knows he has a promise from God to be blessed with a mate and lead a beautiful married life, such a brother may for a greater purpose choose to stay single. The reverse is also the case for perhaps a sister out there, she knows the promise of God of being a fruitful minister serving the Lord as a single but for a greater purpose she chooses to get married, laying down the promise for a greater cause.
When you realize that God is the center and purpose of it all, that we are here for His pleasure, that it is only His will and priority that really matters, you’ll realize like that to die is gain and to live means fruitful service for God, that we’re not the big picture, God is. Its His Story, and we’re just playing a part, it stops being about convenience or inconvenience, it becomes about Christ and His purpose. Faith is given that we may bring to pass God’s desire. To focus on just yourself is to never really see, it is to be blinded by the leaf while looking at the tree.
Laying it All Down
Real missionaries are almost always very matured believers, they may not have started so but they soon become so. They know the promise of God that He will satisfy us with long life (psalm 91:16), yet they are willing to lay aside this promise and go to places of almost certain death, like Paul who would not be dissuaded from going to Jerusalem even though he knew persecutions awaited him there, like the Heroes of faith whom the bible says refused to accept deliverance in order to obtain something better. Many missionaries and even Christians in sensitive areas know the promise of long life, but lay it aside, they do not insist on it, for the cause of Christ. While also at the other end some insist on it, they refused to die, not because of life itself but for a greater cause they see that to stay and keep propagating the Word is more needful. Some by faith laid down the promises, some by faith picked up the promises, all by faith. The point is coming to that point where you not only can pick up the promises of God but also gladly lay down the promises for God.
The point is coming to that point where you not only can pick up the promises of God but also gladly lay down the promises for God.
A missionary who is going to work full time in some of the poorest regions of the poorest nations, will most likely have to lay aside the promises of wealth and super abundance which God promises, this does not mean he will become poor, beggarly and raggedly. The promise of provision will always be there, he will always have enough to live, to raise his family and to be a blessing to those around him. He just may not be buying a private jet anytime soon or using the latest iPhone, not because God can’t provide it but because he for a greater cause let go that promise of being so rich he would literally lend to nations.
John G. Lake at some point was a christian business man who back then was worth millions of dollars, he lived an upright life and God prospered him greatly. However when he knew God had called Him to Africa as a preacher, he in obedience to the leading of the Spirit sold all he had and soon had to come to the point of trusting in God for transport money to get down to Africa and also his everyday living. And God showed Himself faithful. The financial prosperity of John G. Lake was a manifestation of his walking in the fulfillment of the promises of God’s abundance, but for a greater cause for him as an individual he had to lay down the gifts of God and go where the God of the gifts would have him go without the gifts.
Not a fruit of Ignorance
If you are not actively walking in a promise of God you cannot actually lay it aside, Paul knew he could have pursued marital relations with a woman but he knowing full well his right refused to. So if as a christian you’re struggling with a promise, maybe finances, don’t think its because you’ve been laying it aside, you’re only still learning how to function in it. It’s knowing full well your rights but still at some point saying “for a greater cause I lay it down”, that’s the heart attitude God desires, not a manifestation of ignorant ignorance.
To be clear; *The things we might lay aside are things we can lay aside without hurting our faith, we don’t lay aside the promise of a home in heaven or the promise of His ever abiding presence or His joy flowing in us, most of the times it is about promises that have to do with earthly fulfillment, satisfaction and ease.
*They are promises we have no business laying aside, how is laying aside the promise of health going to serve a greater purpose, God doesn’t get glory in our sickness.
*Also we don’t choose based on feelings to lay aside any promise, we go after all of them, it is as the need comes up or as the Spirit individually leads us, done out of faith and personal consecration, not a general rule for all to follow.
God rewards men here on this earth and/or over there in the world to come, not all rewards can be expressed in tangible physical measures, some can only be received in the spirit. It is possible to turn a physical blessing to a spiritual force or blessing. Like when a young boy helps an elderly lady with her load and refuses to accept any form of monetary compensation, he has sown honour in the realm of the spirit and he will receive the reward in this life or that to come. The boy has knowingly or unknowingly chosen the spiritual force of blessing over the physical cash, which would have been his reward.
The greatest awards and loudest ovations are on the other side of eternity
The greatest awards and loudest ovations are on the other side of eternity, no matter how wonderfully a man may be blessed here on earth, it is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed (Rom 8:18). That’s where the real “Oscars” will be, with God crowning his faithful servants and all of creation watching and cheering. The glory of this earth are fading and transient, who remembers who was ‘footballer of the year’ 30 years ago? Who remembers how well pressed and shinny the suit you wore 10 years ago was? The cars and mobile phones that were to die for 10 years ago may be seen as an insult if given as a gift today. It’s all passing, God’s not going to ask us how many cars we acquired by faith, not how long we lived on earth but how well. Like I normally say “much more than the length we walk on the sands of time is the depth we make with every step”. Laying down the promises has a promise of a Glory that cannot be compared to anything else, given by God for whom we lay it down, whom we love and who’s love is our motivation for taking up the promise or laying it down.
photo credits: wsimag.com