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]
People with financial and other problems usually seek an easy way out of their dilemmas without sacrificing their own ‘self’ or giving themselves wholly to Jesus. They look for a paradise here on earth, or a way in this life to get rich, happy, and self-fulfilled without laying down their own will and sinful ways to Jesus, to remain in ‘control’ of everything that is encroaching upon them to make their lives a misery. Well, such a utopia does not exist. That is why all get-rich-quick schemes only lead to greater trouble and loss — even if it is veiled with the cloak of religion, as we see in the gospel of greed, which is preached in various forms in all churches. It is easy to pay our money to a church system to ‘buy’ wealth, health, and happiness. This way, we give nothing of ourselves and try to escape accountability for neglected stewardship. 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, 1 Tim. 6:9-12 warns, “Those who desire to be rich [famous, and in control of circumstances and 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 [completely trusting God to supply all their needs,] and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, o man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith… [that God is Real, Almighty, and His Word is totally True.]”
Scriptural and practical reality is that true blessing for 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, no matter the possibility of prosperity here on earth, 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 ends in the clutches of the devil. Satan, in the wilderness, even came to Jesus, (God Himself,) when He was at an all-time low in His feeble humanity, to tempt Him into selling His soul for physical comfort, honor, and wealth in this world! (Mt. 4.) How do we wrap our minds around such audacity! So, the devil does 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 our lives as a “living sacrifice” to Him above all, (Rom. 12:1-2.) 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. 12:11b.) 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.) This is the spiritual rebirth, which takes us spiritually “out of” the temporal lostness, bondage, and cursedness of this world, (Deut. 28,) and places us spiritually into Jesus’ eternal, Spiritual Kingdom of salvation, freedom, and blessing, (1 Pt. 2:9-10.)
Thus, being personally born again in Christ is the one and only way to come under God’s eternal blessing. Even superrich people without this blessed, spiritual place inside His Kingdom, are cursed, and bound to spend eternal life in the flames of hell. As long as people remain in the darkness and cursedness of our enemy the devil, they will always struggle with the same problems and eventually sink deeper into the dark pit of hopelessness.
Someone wisely said, “Jesus changes our circumstances by changing us.” We so desperately want to believe that God will change our fallen world into a good world. We want to believe He will turn our bad loved ones into good loved ones, etcetera. But God will destroy this fallen world at His return on the clouds, (2 Pt. 3:9-10.) And God will never override the unrepentant decisions of those Who reject Him and His Scriptural counsel. By our personal choice to live in Him and follow Him, Jesus changes the lost, bound, cursed souls and lives of men into salvation, freedom, blessing, and eternal life in heaven — and He does it His Scriptural Way.
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 to Adam in the garden in Eden was to “tend [manage] and keep [guard] it,” (Gen. 2:15.) God confirmed this in Gen. 1:27-28, “…In the Image of God He created them, [male and the 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’s just totally irresponsible and cruel – but mainly to multiply the talents and opportunities God entrusts to us,] and fill the earth [with our responsible fruitfulness on all levels of life so that we can] subdue it; [or manage everything within our 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 everything within their reach as “joint-heirs of life,” (Rom. 8:16-18; 1 Pt. 3:7.)
So, how do we manage our lives according to Jesus’ true, 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. Mt. 25 contains three connected parables that describe how God requires our active obedience to His creation principles and Moral-Law commandments to manifest His salvation, redemption, and blessing in Christ. It is true that we are solely saved, redeemed, and blessed by Jesus’ atonement in our place. But after that, we must actively follow Him in a lifestyle of Moral-Law obedience to His New Covenant commandments, (1 Jn. 2:3-6; Jn. 13:34.)
In Mt. 25:1-13, (the parable of the wise and unwise virgins,) Jesus repeatedly warns us to always “watch” [guard our lives] and be “ready” [prepared] for His unexpected (not secret) return, (Jn. 10:10; 1 Ths. 5:21.) Eternal life in heaven depends on our personal commitment to take responsibility for our spiritual lives, (Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5; Jude 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 [and in this life…]” (Mt. 15:14-30; 1 Cor. 5:10; Mt. 25:31-46.)
However, our spiritual lives and eternal destiny are also determined by the way we lead our emotional and physical lives on earth. Jesus warned that irresponsibility in any of these areas, either through active abuse or passive neglect, will result in eternal punishment, which makes the once-saved-always-saved dogma a dangerous lie. In Mt. 25:1-13, the unwise or irresponsible virgins will stay behind to face the flames of hell when Jesus returns and “closes the door” in their faces. In Mt. 25:24-30, The “unprofitable servant” who “hid his talent in the ground” will be “cast into [hell] where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth,” And In Mt. 25:14-30, the goats, who disobeyed the Moral Law of deed and truth, are separated from the [obedient] sheep, [Jam. Chapter 2,] to “go away into everlasting punishment…” This does not mean we can be perfect disciples as we live only by grace. It means we must follow Jesus wholeheartedly and sincerely, (1 Jn. 1:8-10.)
In Mt. 25:14-30, (the parable of the talents,) Jesus speaks of our responsibility to do the most with everything God had entrusted to us - whether we received a lot of talents or only a few according to personal ability. This goes way beyond our responsibility to deal wisely with the goods and money God entrusted to us. If we keep 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.
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. I am not talking about heaping up riches by committing sin. Such people are cursed, no matter how well they use their talents. I am referring to glorifying God in every area of our lives with what we have.
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 newspapers on the walls, I can never get that perfect picture of pride and care out of my mind. I am sure that 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.)
It 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 you love God in deed and truth, you will love your family in the same way and take care of them to the best of your ability. Then, God will send other people who are in need of His salvation, redemption, and blessing. The same goes for taking responsibility for the jobs God had entrusted to us. And also in things such as taking care of our animals and the rest of God’s creation. As we take care of our responsibilities, God will entrust more talents to us. Godly responsibility is the only key that will unlock a fruitful life in Christ, with the aim to glorify His Name in everything we do. It is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is a lifestyle of total dependency on and obedience to the Truth and Leading of the Holy Spirit in every area of our lives.