Overcoming Discontentment

I Corinthians 7:17-35

Ever since the beginning of creation, when the first creatures came from the hand of God, there has always been someone, somewhere, unhappy with his position in the universe. It all started with an angel named Lucifer, the brightest star of the heavenly firmament, who was not satisfied to be the apex of God’s creation. He wanted something more than his assigned position as the greatest of all created beings. His seething discontentment caused him to lead a rebellion against the Most High. Fully one-third of the angels joined with him in his abortive quest to overthrow the Throne of the Lord. For his rebellion, he and his followers were kicked out of heaven. Ever since that dark day, he has been known as Satan and the devil, and he has been the implacable foe of God and all his works.

It was discontentment that made him do it. And discontentment has been one of his best weapons ever since. His earliest triumph came in the Garden of Eden when he sowed seeds of discontentment in Eve’s unsuspecting heart. By misquoting the Lord, he made Eve think that God was somehow trying to cheat her, to keep her down, to keep her from becoming “like God.” So Eve took the fruit and ate it. She gave it to Adam and he ate it. Thus did sin enter the human bloodstream. The seeds of discontentment brought forth the bitter harvest of disobedience, which led to the loss of paradise and the entrance of evil into our world.

Unhappy Ever Since

And ever since then we have been an unhappy race. After Eden we have never been fully satisfied with anything on earth. And we’re still not satisfied thousands of years later. We always want something different.

  • If we’re young, we want to be older. If we’re old, we wish we were younger.
  • If it’s old, we want something new. If it’s new, we want something newer.
  • If it’s small, we want something bigger. If it’s big, we want something really big.
  • If we have a hundred dollars, we want two hundred. If we have two hundred, we want five hundred.
  • If we have an apartment, we want a condo. If we have a condo, we want a house. If we have a house, we want a bigger house. Or a new house. Or a nicer house. Or maybe we want to scale down and live in an apartment again.
  • If we have a job, we dream of a better job, a bigger job, a closer job, with a bigger office, a better boss, better benefits, more challenge, bigger opportunity, nicer people to work for, and more vacation time.
  • If we’re single, we dream of being married. If we’re married, … (you can finish that sentence yourself.).

We Were Born Discontented

None of this is unusual in any way. We were born discontented and some of us stay that way forever. And a certain amount of discontentment can be good for the soul. It’s not wrong to have dreams about what the future might hold. The hope of something better drives us forward and keeps us working, inventing, striving, creating and innovating. But there is a kind of discontentment that leads in a wrong direction. Here are five signs that discontentment is dragging us down spiritually:

1)Envy. The inability to rejoice at the success of others.

2)Uncontrolled Ambition. The desire to win at all costs, no matter what it takes or who gets trampled in the process.

3)Critical Spirit. The tendency to make negative, hurtful, cutting remarks about others.

4)Complaining Spirit. The disposition to make excuses and to blame others or bad circumstances for our problems. A refusal to take personal responsibility. Inability to be thankful for what we already have.

5)Outbursts of Anger. Angry words spoken because our expectations were not met.

The discontented person looks around and says, “I deserve something better than this.” Because he is never happy and never satisfied, he drags others into the swamp with him. No wonder Benjamin Franklin declared, “Contentment makes a poor man rich, discontent makes a rich man poor.” Discontentment is the cancer of the soul. It eats away our joy, corrodes our happiness, destroys our outlook on life, and produces a terminal jaundice of the soul so that everything looks negative to us. We cannot be happy because we will not be happy. We cannot be satisfied because we will not be satisfied. Such a person is truly a lost soul—miserable today and miserable tomorrow.

So how can we overcome this debilitating condition? I believe the answer (as always) lies with good theology. Sin always stems from wrong thinking about God, about ourselves, and about life in general. First Corinthians 7 contains some amazingly helpful insights about discontentment even though the word itself is never used. This chapter is unique in that it was written by the Apostle Paul in answer to some specific questions put to him by the believers in the church at Corinth. One problem we have is that this chapter contains Paul’s answers, but not the original questions. We have to infer the question by studying the context. We know in a general way that the Corinthians asked about marriage, divorce and singleness. The middle section of this chapter contains some excellent teaching on these topics that applies directly to the question of contentment versus discontentment. For the purposes of this message, let’s look together at four principles that will help us face and overcome the problem of discontentment.

I. You are where you are by God’s assignment. 17-24

The first principle is repeated three times in this paragraph:

“Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him” (v. 17).

“Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him” (v. 20).

“Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to” (v. 24).

This is a case where the meaning is very clear: Lead the life God assigns to you. God has given each of us a job to do. He has gifted each person in a certain way and has assigned us a particular place in life. This reflects a very high view of God’s sovereignty. We are both assigned and called to a certain place in life. The Greek words are very strong and definite. The old Puritans used to say, “God orders everything with perfect wisdom.” I wonder how many of us would say that. Almost unconsciously, we want to change “everything” to “some things” or “a few things” or even “most things.” But “everything?” Isn’t that going too far? What about all the pain and suffering and evil in the world? How can that be “ordered” by God? We can either talk about that for the next 70 years and still not settle it, or we can simply say that if God doesn’t “order” all things, then he’s not really God at all. He’s not the author of evil but even evil must serve his ultimate purpose. Sin cannot exist outside of God’s control or else God isn’t truly sovereign. I freely admit this is a mystery, but it is a mystery inherent in being creatures and not the Creator. The fact that we can’t fully understand these things simply proves once again that “he’s God and we’re not.”

Let me make this a bit more pointed. We do not choose God even though we may like to think that we do. Or if we do “choose” God, it’s because he chose us first. God always has the first move. And in another realm of life, we do not choose our race or sex or culture or skin color or our national origin. Those things come to us by virtue of our physical birth. They are part of who we are whether we like it or not.

The message is, stay the way God made you and stay in the place God put you. Be a Christian where you are right now. Evidently some of the Corinthians, having been converted out of idolatry, were jettisoning every part of their old life in favor of something radically different. The same thing often happens today. “I’m saved so I can quit my job.” No! “I’m a Christian, I don’t have to finish college.” No! “I’m a Christian. I can move to the mountain and pray.” No! “I’m a Christian. I don’t have to obey the law anymore.” No! Away with all such foolish talk. Nothing proves the reality of your conversion more than staying where you are and showing the change by the way you live. Don’t cut and run. Stay where you are and live for Christ.

Circumcision and Slavery

In order to help us understand this principle, Paul offers two examples. The first is circumcision (v. 18-19). He basically says that circumcision doesn’t matter one way or the other. If you are a Jew (and therefore circumcised), don’t try to be uncircumcised once you come to Christ. If you are a Gentile (and therefore uncircumcised), don’t think you need to be circumcised once you are saved. It doesn’t matter one way or the other. That fact would not have bothered the Gentiles (who didn’t care about circumcision anyway) but it would have hugely troubled the Jews who viewed circumcision as the visible mark of their covenant relationship with God. Paul just waves his hand, so to speak, and brushes away the whole controversy. Stay the way you are—circumcised or uncircumcised. It’s not worth worrying about one way or the other.

The second example is more difficult because it involves slavery (v. 21-23). We have some trouble with this one, in part because we don’t live in a society where slavery was a routine part of life. In the United States slavery was once legal, but that ended almost 140 years ago. No one today has grown up in a world where slavery was common. By contrast, slavery was a major part of life in the Roman Empire. Experts tell us that there were perhaps 100 million slaves in the Roman Empire in the first century. That meant that in many cities, there were far more slaves than free people. Simple math suggested that eventually many slaves would respond to the gospel and come into the church. What did the gospel have to say to their sad situation? Paul’s advice sounds strange to us, and might today be called politically incorrect. In essence, he tells the slaves, don’t worry about your slavery. Serve God where you are. In verse 21 he does say, if you can gain your freedom, do so. But that would not apply to most slaves. In those days a master occasionally freed his slaves, but that was unusual. And there was a way in which a slave could purchase his freedom, but it was expensive, took a long time, and was not practiced everywhere. The truth was very simple: If you were a slave, you were likely to stay a slave forever. That left only one question: Would you serve God in that disagreeable situation or would you focus so much on your slavery that you didn’t serve God? “For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave” (v. 22). Paul’s argument moves from the exterior to the interior. It’s better to be a slave on the outside and a freeman in your heart because you know Jesus than to be free on the outside and enslaved to sin on the inside. Knowing Jesus trumps all outward circumstances. “You were bought at a price,” he says in verse 23, referring to the blood of Jesus. If Jesus purchased you, then you are both free from sin and are now a servant of Christ.

The application couldn’t be clearer. Don’t let your slavery be an excuse not to serve the Lord. And we can extrapolate from there to any extremely difficult circumstance of life. Many times we will find ourselves in places we would rather not be. Sometimes we are in those places for weeks or months or years or even for a lifetime. And we can’t just push a button or say a prayer and make the difficulty go away. In those cases, we have to decide whether or not we will serve the Lord.

The Issue is God—Not Circumstances

Serve God where you are until God clearly calls you elsewhere. It’s not wrong to better yourself but more money or a new position doesn’t necessarily mean a better situation. Seek God first. That’s the key to knowing God’s will. If I’m going to live for God, I can do that at General Motors or at Motorola or at Burger King or at Merrill Lynch. I can do that while driving a Toyota or a Ford or while living in a Victorian mansion or in a pup tent. I can do it in Oak Park or Harvey or Schaumburg or Chicago. I can serve God single or married. It doesn’t matter. And if I’m not going to live for God, I can be disobedient at General Motors or at Motorola or at Burger King or at Merrill Lynch. I can do that while driving a Toyota or a Ford or while living in a Victorian mansion or in a pup tent. I can do it in Oak Park or Harvey or Schaumburg or Chicago. I can disobey God single or married. It doesn’t matter. The issue is God—not my circumstances.

We like to say, “Change my circumstances and then I’ll be happy.” Paul says, “Get close to God and he will take care of your circumstances.” So one man is a cook. Another is a cleaner. Another is a file clerk. Another is a painter. Another is a bank teller. Another washes the sheets. Another keeps the lawn. Another tends the animals. Another serves the meals. Another prepares the food. And so it goes. What does it matter what we are called to do? Nothing! All Christ’s servants are honored in his sight.

None of this is an argument against change per se. Like most people, I’ve moved from one job to another, from one church to another, from one state to another, and I’ve owned or leased a series of cars. Change is inevitable in life but it’s not a guaranteed solution to our problems. And that fact leads us directly to the second important principle in this passage.

II. Change is not wrong but it is not always an improvement. 25-28

The second principle comes from Paul’s teaching in verses 25-28. Because of the “present crisis” he advises everyone to stay as they are. Evidently that phrase refers to some particular pressure on the church in Corinth. Because it was a cosmopolitan, seaport town, Corinth was known for a particularly immoral brand of idolatry. Converts to Christ faced enormous moral, spiritual and cultural pressure to compromise their faith. Perhaps there was a wave of local persecution that threatened the existence of the church. Although we don’t know the particulars, Paul’s advice is clear. Don’t make any drastic changes. Stay as you are. When the seas are raging, it’s not the right time to be changing ships. Stay the course!

If you are married, stay married.

If you are single, stay single.

Then he adds a very practical word: “But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this” (v. 28). The sense of the passage is clear. Stay as you are, especially if you are single. Don’t feel it’s necessary to be married. But if you desire to be married, you are not sinning. If you want to be married, and if you can find someone who wants to marry you (always a crucial requirement), and if both of you are believers in Christ, go ahead and get married. This is not wrong. But don’t be so starry-eyed that you enter marriage with your eyes closed. As one man told me on the night I got married, “They say love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener.” He was right about that.

Don’t think that marriage will make you happy.

Don’t think that marriage will solve your problems.

Don’t think that marriage will bring you closer to God.

Don’t think that marriage will make you a better person.

Don’t think that marriage will fulfill your dreams.

It won’t because it can’t.

Marriage is good and noble and holy and honorable (Hebrews 13:4) but it’s not the be all and end all of life. If you are miserable being single, how can you be sure you’ll suddenly be happy being married? The happiest married people are generally those who were also happy while being single. Changing your marital status doesn’t guarantee a change in your happiness or your contentment or your satisfaction with life. Discontented singles aren’t usually the best candidates for a happy marriage.

III. Remember that you are a visitor on earth, not a permanent resident. 29-31

Notice the two key phrases that bracket verses 29-31:

1) The time is short—v. 29.

2) The world is passing away—v. 31.

The first phrase reminds us of the brevity of life. No one lives forever on planet earth. You may live 30 or 40 or 50 years. Who knows? You may live 80 or 90 years, but sooner or later you’re going to die. And no matter how long you live, you’re going to be dead a lot longer than you’re going to be alive. If you doubt that, just check out the nearest cemetery. Every grave is proof that the time is short. The second phrase comes from a Greek expression that means something like, “This world is but a shadow of reality.” Everything we see is ephemeral, shadowy, and insubstantial. It’s an Ecclesiastes-type idea: Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. The world itself is not made to last forever. If we didn’t learn that on September 11, 2001, when the mighty World Trade Center came crashing to the ground, what else will God have to do to make sure we get the point?

So the time is short and the world is passing away. What follows from this truth? Matthew Henry says that we should live with “holy indifference” to the things of this world. Verses 29-31 flesh this out in five different ways:

A. With regard to our intimate relationships: “From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none” (v. 29). Now there’s a verse you don’t hear quoted at many weddings. It simply means, enjoy your marriage but don’t make your marriage the most important thing in your life.

B. With regard to afflictions: “Those who mourn, as if they did not” (v. 30a).

C. With regard to pleasure: “Those who are happy, as if they were not” (v. 30b). He doesn’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t weep or that we shouldn’t rejoice and enjoy life, but he does mean that life is more than sorrow or joy. Perhaps we can say it this way. When a loved one dies, don’t mourn so much that you make people think you don’t believe in heaven. When you are having a good time, don’t laugh so much that you make people think you don’t believe in hell. In everything you do, don’t forget about eternal realities.

D. With regard to employment: “Those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep” (v. 30c).

E. With regard to all earthly concerns: “Those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them” (v. 31a). Use the world, enjoy the world, live in the world, work in the world, buy and sell in the world, but do not let the world rule your life. Be careful lest the things you possess end up possessing you.

The message is clear and unmistakable. You won’t be here forever. In all your living and going and doing and buying and selling, and during this Christmas season, your giving and receiving, your singing and celebrating, during all of it, remember that you will not live forever. “Nothing golden lasts.” Enjoy life, live it to the fullest, take advantage of every moment, but don’t indulge yourself so much that you lose your focus on what really matters. Lately John Piper has been exhorting the Christian community to adapt a “wartime mentality.” He is not referring to the impending war with Iraq but rather to the rising clash of spiritual kingdoms around the world. These are awesome days for world evangelism, days in which the battle lines are being drawn in the sand, so to speak. Sooner or later, we’ll all have to decide which side we are on. In times like these, Christians must be ready to engage in serious spiritual warfare.

At the Point of Death

Last Sunday night, about 11:30 p.m., I received a call from Bonnie Busack. She told me that her husband Pete was not expected to live much longer. When I got to the hospital, Bonnie and her family had gathered around Pete’s bed. He did indeed appear to be nearing the end of his earthly life. Pete served on the staff at Calvary some years ago and is well-known to longtime members of the church. He has struggled with cancer for several years and has been in a nursing home for the last year or so. And for years before that, he lived with various physical ailments. At one point Bonnie took Pete’s hand and exclaimed, “God has been so good to us!” That might seem like a strange statement when your husband is at the point of death, but to Bonnie it was a natural expression of her faith in Christ. Through the years of hardship, she and Pete experienced in so many ways the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. As I studied this passage, her words came to my mind. If you understand the brevity of life, you will be more apt to see God’s goodness even when a loved one is at the point of death.

So the message is, don’t be preoccupied with things that don’t matter. Figure out what matters in life—and then go and do it. As the old gospel song says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through.”

And don’t try to hang on to the things of the world. That includes the dearest relationships of life. Ponder these sobering words of our Lord: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). When we read those verses, it’s hard not to stumble at the word “hate” because to us, it implies some sort of hostility. The key rests in the phrase “even his own life.” It must be something like this: Don’t regard your life itself as something that must be preserved at all costs. Leave the future in God’s hands. You may be called to do something that seems “reckless” for the sake of the Kingdom. Others will not understand and may even think you foolhardy. And the same is true for the closest relationships of life. Others may not understand and may even think you “hate” your own family. It’s not true, of course, but it may seem that way because of your service for Christ.

In that light let’s reconsider verse 29: “Those who have wives should live as if they had none.” Widows know what this means. Live knowing that your marriage cannot last forever. Most likely, one of you will outlive the other. Live in the light of that day. Marriage is a temporary blessing at best. The same goes for childrearing. Many couples divorce when the children leave home because they built their lives around something that could not last. You came into the world single, you will go out single because your marriage ends the moment you die. Neither marriage nor children can give final meaning to your life.

Let Goods and Kindred Go

If you want this truth in one sentence, here it is: Hold lightly what you value greatly because you can’t keep it forever anyway. This week I re-read the story of Jim Elliot and the death in January 1956 of the five missionaries who sought to bring the gospel to the Auca Indians of Ecuador. They were killed by the Aucas (now called the Waoranis) because the Indians feared the white men and thought they had come to harm them. The missionaries knew the danger they were facing and took as many precautions as possible. But in the end they were killed, and from their death came a groundswell of young people volunteering for missionary service. In her book Through Gates of Splendor, Elizabeth Elliot tells of the frank discussions she and Jim had about the dangers of making the first face-to-face contact with the Aucas. At one point he said to her, “If it is the will of God, darling, I am ready to die for the salvation of the Aucas.” Both sides of that prophetic statement came true. In the years to come, God used the death of those missionaries to bring many of the Aucas to faith in Christ.

“Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also,

The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still,

His kingdom is forever.”

(from A Mighty Fortress Is Our God)

IV. The most important thing is to give undivided devotion to the Lord. 32-35

This principle comes from verses 32-35 where Paul points out that singles have freedoms that those who are married don’t have. Singles can serve the Lord without as many earthly distractions. But those who are married are divided in the sense that they must (and should) give attention to the needs of their spouses. It’s only right that a husband should care about his wife, and it is natural and normal that a wife should concern herself with the needs of her husband. This is right and good, but the energy devoted to those worthy causes is time and effort that might have been devoted to the service of the Lord. To say it that way makes it sound as if Paul believes singleness is more righteous than marriage. Or that marriage is less godly than being single. But that is not the case. You can serve the Lord effectively either way. But there is an undeniable truth in Paul’s point. Certainly every married person knows that marriage is both a blessing and a heavy burden. Not an onerous burden, but a burden of care and concern, of time and money and prayers and thought and tears and love and energy. To be truly married means giving of yourself unstintingly to the one you love. If you are single, that time and energy could be directly applied to the service of others in the name of Christ. This is Paul’s point. He wishes us to understand that the greatest calling in life is serving the Lord with an undivided heart. Singles have an easier time of that if they will apply their hearts in the right direction.

A Word to Singles

Therefore, let me direct a few words to the singles who may be reading these words. Use your time to serve the Lord. If you are young and unmarried, this is a message you especially need to hear. If you don’t use your days to serve the Lord, you are wasting this part of your life. Don’t spend your days pining away, dreaming about marriage and hoping against hope that the man or woman of your dreams will miraculously appear on a white horse to rescue you. Only God knows whether or not you will be married someday. Leave it in his hands. And don’t spend your waking hours scheming about being married. Use your time and energy to serve the Lord. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to want to be married, or to plan to be married, or to ask God for a marriage partner. Such thoughts are normal and good. But don’t let those noble thoughts become the all-consuming passion of your life. Serve the Lord and let your future rest in his capable hands.

And if you are married, give thanks to God for your husband or wife. Love the mate God has given you. Pray for them. Look for ways to build them up spiritually. Let your marriage be part of your service for the Lord.

And to return to Paul’s main point, singleness is a great blessing if you use it to serve the Lord. At this very moment, there are singles from Calvary who are serving the Lord in short-term ministries in England, Poland, Kenya, Columbia, Angola, Ukraine, and on one of the Mercy Ships. They are able to do that precisely because they aren’t married right now. Their freedom makes it possible for them to respond quickly to God’s call.

Do You Believe in God?

Let me summarize this message in a few brief sentences:

1) You are where you are by the sovereign choice of God.

2) You can serve the Lord where you are right now.

3) You can glorify the Lord where you are right now.

4) If you complain, you are attacking the Lord, not serving him.

So the question comes down to this: Do you believe in God, or don’t you? Do you believe God will give you what you need right now so you can serve him right where you are? There is a sense in which, when you complain and dwell in discontentment, at that point you no longer believe in God. That is, on one level you certainly do believe in God, but by your discontented complaining, you are denying the truth you claim to believe. If you can’t do everything you would like to do, you can joyfully accept your situation as being from the hand of the Lord. You can always pray, you can always praise, you can always sing in your heart to the Lord, you can always refresh yourself in the streams that flow forth from the heart of God.

Certain practical applications flow from all of this:

1) Bloom where you are planted.

2) Let God define your life, not earthly circumstances.

3) Don’t expect change to make you happy.

4) Never forget that you won’t be here forever.

Of those four points, the second one seems most fundamental to me. We fall into a complaining spirit precisely because we have chosen to let our circumstances (including our relationships) define who we are. If we define ourselves first and foremost as being single, and if we desperately want to be married, it is quite likely that our self-definition will lead to discontentment. But if we decide to let God define who we are, then we can be in “good” or “bad” circumstances (as we all are sooner or later) and still find the contentment we seek.

The most practical application is this: Do God’s will where you are and the rest will take care of itself. That doesn’t mean you won’t have hard decisions to make, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t slog through some very tough days, and it may mean that you face many months or years of adversity. But whether those hard times are short or long, our only recourse is to get up each day and do God’s will the best we can do it on that particular day. If we do that, then tomorrow will take care of itself. God will see to that.

The Only Thing That Matters

That brings us to a very important spiritual truth: The only thing that matters is knowing Jesus and through him, growing closer to God day by day. Nothing else matters. If we know God in Christ, then we are of all people most blessed and highly favored. We have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). And if we don’t know Christ, then the rest of life won’t satisfy our deepest longings anyway. Christ must be the center of life or else the circumference will never satisfy. Circumstances—even happy ones—can never replace the soul’s longing for the Lord.

Seen in that light, discontentment is a grievous sin because it is an attempt to overthrow God. It is an attack on the Sovereign who sits on the throne of the universe. When you complain against the Lord, you are repeating Satan’s mistake. It’s the first great rebellion played out in your own heart. And you will not be any more successful than Lucifer was.

A great deal of our problem in this area stems from the fact that we don’t really know who God is. Too many of us have an “Americanized” God who is sympathetic, democratic, and eager to make us happy. He adjusts his plans to fit our needs and lives to bring us to “self-actualization” and personal fulfillment. It may surprise some people to discover that the biblical picture is quite different. With regard to his sovereignty, the God of the Bible is an autocrat; a divine despot who does whatever pleases him. As the Creator, he has the final word regarding everything in the universe. We Americans love democracy. We like to talk about the voice of the people, the will of the people, and how the majority rules. The universe is not a democracy. It’s a theocracy. It’s a divine monarchy. God doesn’t give us the vote. He doesn’t poll the universe to see what his next move should be. The Lord can say, “Come” and we come. “Go” and we go. I need you there. And we must obey. We dare not fight back. We dare not murmur against the Master.

“Jesus Christ is My Lord”

If we are truly surrendered to the Lord, and if we have any true concept of what “lordship” really means, this is what we should say: “Jesus Christ is my Lord. I will do what he says. He has the absolute right to my life. He has the unchallenged right to direct my affairs. He places me where he wants me. And my response is unqualified, absolute, unquestioning submission.” That’s what Paul means when he declares in Romans 14:8 that whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. If we belong to Jesus…

Our bank book is his,

Our investments are his,

Our calendar is his,

Our home is his,

Our family is his,

Our marriage is his,

Our children are his,

Our future is his.

Once we understand this principle, our true position will become evident. Down on your faces before him! Bow down and worship the Lord. One of our beloved Christmas carols says, “O come, let us adore him.” And that is our calling and our proper response to the great truth of God’s absolute sovereignty over all the details of life. The Magi understood the truth better than we do. The “Three Kings” brought their gifts to Jesus and then worshiped him. It is not better to be a king than a shepherd because all stand on the same level ground before the Lord.

I close with this final thought: You were not made to be independent. You must serve someone. Make your choice. Jesus Christ bought you with his own blood. He gave everything to set you free from sin. Will you now serve him? Or will you continue to complain? Yield yourself to him completely. It is the only way to be free. As long as you demand your freedom to do whatever you want, you will always be in chains. If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. Amen.

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Ray Pritchard

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The Anchor Project
Explaining the Gospel in “Walmart English”

Anchor is a “gospel book” that explains the Good News in a simple and persuasive manner. Read the latest on “The Anchor Project” and how you can be support our work.

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China
Keep Believing China
Partnering with Chinese pastors and churches

We want to join together with pastors and Christian workers to equip the church in China, broadcasting translated sermons, providing ministry resources for Christians and pastors in China.

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Weekly sermon email
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Subscribe to the weekly sermon from Keep Believing Ministries. Sign up for our emails and use it to grow in your faith as well as to encourage others.

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audio
KBM Podcasts
Weekly audio sermons

Welcome to Keep Believing Ministries’ audio/podcast library. Listen to or download a digital audio version of one of these messages or receive them via our podcast and feed.

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Ebook: In His Steps

No one who met our Lord ever stayed the same. If Christmas tells us why Jesus came, then Easter tells us he fully accomplished his mission. In between those two events we have the whole life of Christ. That’s our focus as we walk “In His Steps”, a book of 47 devotionals for the season of Lent (the period of time leading up to Easter).

“Equipping and encouraging people to keep believing in Jesus”

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”