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It is an obvious fact that we cannot earn our salvation with works of righteousness. Our salvation is the great gift of God's grace. Even so, the Bible teaches that we must work hard in God's service. We are to exert our best effort in whatever pertains to God, for He certainly deserves the highest and best that we can give to Him. The Hebrew writer said that pleasing God requires that we "believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hb. 11:6 NKJV). God must not only be sought, but He must be sought diligently.
Those who diligently seek God will find Him. In his old age, David charged his son Solomon with these words: "And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever" (1 Chron. 28:9). If we seek God fervently and faithfully, we will find Him.
Pleasing God ought to be the highest thing we ever aspire to, and it ought to be something we willingly devote ourselves to every day. Paul wrote, "We make it our aim to please him" (2 Cor. 5:9). To have served in such a way that we receive God's favor, standing before Him "approved" and with "no need to be ashamed" (2 Tim. 2:15), will be a joyous privilege worth far more than anything we may have to sacrifice to receive it. Whatever duties may be involved in our relationship to God, these are joyfully accepted as a privilege rather than a burden. Our love for God makes all the difference between a heavy burden and a "light" one (Mt. 11:30).
But now is the time to work hard in God's service. Solomon observed, "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going" (Eccl. 9:10). As the old saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing right -- and anything worth doing right is worth doing right now. The day of judgment when we will account for our work hastens on. We ought to work hard to present ourselves approved to God. This week, let's devote some time and attention to that priority. Nothing in life comes close to being as important.
Monday: Ecclesiastes 9:10
Key Idea: In whatever good work we are engaged, we ought to be diligent.
Questions for Family Growth: What does it mean to do something with all our "might"? What does this verse say about the grave ("Sheol")? What are the rewards of working hard? What are the consequences of not doing so?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:21.
Tuesday: 1 Corinthians 4:2
Key Idea: As "stewards" in the Lord's work, we need to be "faithful."
Questions for Family Growth: What is a steward, and why is faithfulness so important in the work of a steward? What are some of the consequences, both now and later, when we show ourselves to be undependable in the Lord's work?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:22.
Wednesday: Hebrews 5:11-14
Key Idea: We ought to become "skilled" in the word of righteousness.
Questions for Family Growth: What is "skill" and how is it acquired? What would it mean to be skilled in the word of righteousness? According to v.14, what are the spiritually mature able to do as a result of "constant practice"?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:23.
Thursday: Colossians 3:22-24
Key Idea: Whatever we do "as for the Lord," we ought to do it heartily.
Questions for Family Growth: In this passage, what is the immediate application of Paul's words to servants? Is there a principle here that applies to all of us today? What is the difference between being "people-pleasers" and working to please God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:24.
Friday: 2 Timothy 2:15
Key Idea: We ought to do our work in the Lord so that we have no need to be ashamed.
Questions for Family Growth: Why is diligence required in order to be acceptable workers for the Lord? Is it really possible to live and work so as to be "approved" to God. What do we learn from Hb. 11:5,6 about pleasing God?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 15:25.