From the time of our birth to the time of our death, there are constant exchanges between people. We exchange smiles and hugs, gifts and compliments, knowledge and resources, amongst a host of other pleasantries. In addition, we exchange things not so enjoyable, like lies and pain. Depending on the day, we may never know what we will receive from the people around us, however God contradicts this reality.
Num 23:19 tells us that “God is not a man, that he should lie… hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” When God gives or tells us something, we know that it will benefit us and that we can confidently build our world on it. God created man as a being of need, but His intent was that man would legally meet that need through Him as the divine supplier. So, throughout time He has built the case that no other supplier will produce to a comparable level of His perfection.
Paul taps into this truth in 1 Corinthians 15:57-58, where he acknowledges the root of his faith by writing “thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory…” In Paul we find a powerful witness of God because his experiences prove that God’s word cannot return void. God said he was a healer and then healed him of blindness through Ananias. God said he was a forgiver and then forgave him for invading homes and persecuting Christian believers. And in 1 Corinthians, God’s promise to rise from the dead is confirmed with this declaration of victory.
Paul could attest that if God gives us something, no one could take it from us. Despite the devil’s attempts to convince us that we don’t really have it or don’t even deserve it, Paul understood that he must simply have faith and believe God’s word to walk in His promise of victory. The devil could only be successful in his attempts to distract Paul if he stayed ignorant of God’s word and therefore ignorant of his access to abundant life. Today, we too can glean from this lesson…
Whatever it is that we need, God has an abundance of it and we can get it if we ask for it; regardless of whether we deserve it or not. Our focus should be on believing that God can and will supply it for us.
Consider this… If God has been as gracious to you up to this point in your life and you know that you didn’t deserve what He has already done, why would you still feel that you need to be deserving of His goodness? We need not waste time with this type of concern and just accept His grace, praise Him for it and move on to the next steps in your life.
So, to you, mother and father, be encouraged for your labor is not in vain. Because you introduced your children to Jesus — took them to Sunday school, church services, vacation bible school, Christian youth camps — they now have a foundation of truth to stand on. Know that you did your part, now trust God to do His part and get them to the finish line.
And to you, brother and sister striving to live righteously and be a good Christian and citizen, be encouraged for your labor is not in vain. God has not forgotten you. Keep fighting the good fight of faith, for your dew season is closer now than ever before. “[You] shall reap, if [you] faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
Paul reminds us of the assured promises of God and encourages us to “be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor 15: 58) He is telling us to hang on in there. No matter how things may look, our courage must be grounded in trust… that the Lord “will never leave…nor forsake [us]” (Heb 13:5)… that we “can do all things through Christ” (Phil 4:13)… and that “in all these things we are more than conquerors” (Rom 8:37).
Even when fear sneaks up on us or our hearts get a little heavy, we must choose to act and fulfill our divine purpose. Choose to stand up for what is right and repel the occasion of sin. Choose to persevere in the face of adversity. Choose to face suffering with dignity and faith. Choose to put our faith in Jehovah, who is our refuge and strength. Choose to love and thirst after righteousness. And choose to care and show compassion toward God’s people.
People of God, know that your labor is not in vain. You are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) and your portion is to be a success. To endure people talking about and lying on you. To swim against the current of public opinion. To be made new and complete in Christ. To be full of goodness and every spiritual blessing. To be faithful in your time, treasure, and talent. To discover new territory and inhabit the land of your promise. And to slay every enemy of the Kingdom of Heaven. Your portion is victory!