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Monday, May 29, 2017

Blessed but Without Inheritance


Barba CFO
Being blessed is good (and we should thank God a lot for it) but it's really no big deal. I mean, it doesn't mean you are better than others as lots of folks would have it. God blesses both the righteous and the wicked. God even abundantly blessed Ishmael even if he wasn't God's will for Abraham.

And here's what's even astonishing---even if you are in the present move of God and you know exactly what God's will is and have a good relationship with Him, but if you fail to wait on Him and go ahead of Him, you'll end up with an Ishmael---with everything wrong---though everything may seem perfect.

Blessed but scratched out of inheritance

So blessed and yet without inheritance. Is that possible? Yes it is. In fact, you see it everywhere in ministries. Churches in a hurry to grow big, doing anything and everything that works and indeed growing big and looking so blessed. They really look so, so blessed. But because they're not using God's way, they are not listed among those who will get the inheritance in Christ.

God promised Abraham he would bless Ishmael a lot. In fact, God said 12 nations would come from him. Just listen to how God phrased it:
I will surely bless Ishmael; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. [Genesis 17.20]
No wonder many ministries today without inheritance are similarly blessed---fruitful, increasing in number, role model, and great. Genuinely blessed by God. But as I've said, being blessed doesn't mean anything---it doesn't mean you have God's special favor or you're better than others.  It just means God has been gracious to you like he is gracious to sinners and all. It can even mean God is being nice to you so you'd listen to him and repent. Worse, it can mean God has left you to do your own will.

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Here's how you lose the inheritance in Christ

Here were Abram and Sarai who knew God closely and heard straight from him his promise to them. God clearly said he would bless Abram and make him into a nation. In fact, later he would become father of all nations. But since the years and decades were passing by without anything happening to the promise given them (they started looking like they weren't blessed at all), they thought of doing something to make the promise work. They couldn't wait any longer, and waiting seemed to be becoming a total waste of time.

Today, waiting long is a definite no-no to many pastors. The virtue of patience is lost. No one wants to wait any longer. If you tell them you've been waiting for God to make good his promise, some pastors will laugh at you and think you're nuts. To them, you have to make things happen at once. If you've been waiting 5 or 10 years, they'd say you're wasting your time.

But Abram waited from age 75 (or even earlier) to age 100. And such patient belief was credited with true righteousness.

Well, sometimes God moves now and pronto. Right on the spot! But other times he seems to delay, though there's no such thing as God delaying or being late. Some works of God take long to complete and you have to wait a long time---like salvation from sin. From the time man sinned, it took centuries before man was saved.

The important thing to God is your patient faith, not your achievements or the goals you hit. Abram and Sarai thought what mattered most was achieving the goal of having a son. So later, they used their own efforts to achieve it---they tried Hagar. Were they successful? Indeed they were! Ishmael was born and God blessed him to become 12 nations. Were they blessed? Indeed they were! Ishmael even became great.

But did they get the inheritance that way? NO, they didn't. Here's how Galatians put it:
The slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son, [4.30]
So blessed and yet with zero inheritance. And that's how you'd end up if you do your ministry in your own efforts. If you try to outdo God and move without him or his timing---if you get impatient that you want results right now when God wants it much later---yeah, you may get so blessed but you won't get the inheritance.

You may appear as someone so, so blessed on earth. But before God when you meet him on that Day, you get no reward. Only God's effort in Christ gets recognition and reward on that Day. So, what would keep you from the inheritance? Human effort. You cannot combine God's plan with human effort.

Here's what God's effort is

God-effort is when you wait on God and move only as he tells you to. If you act and move according to his Word, time and way, you do it in God's strength and effort. When Abram and Sarai finally learned to wait on God's timing and do things God's way, Isaac, the promised son, was given them. It was through him that the inheritance was given to Abraham and his descendants forever.

Ishmael became a big problem to his brothers and other nations. That was what God said---Ishmael would fight everyone. And the Ishmaelic problem is seen in the world even today. All human efforts end up this way, even churches birthed or handled according to man's ways and using human efforts. Yes, you get good results, even become among the greatest and most rewarded on earth, but you don't get the inheritance. 

Worse, you produce nothing but problematic churches---what I call Ishmael churches who have conflicts within, fighting other churches and each other. Denominations that compete against each other in a dog-eat-dog world. Churches that split and titled and degreed pastors who know nothing about the Kingdom but operate in worldly principles and systems. They'd buy anything that works and grows their churches. They like Hagar solutions. 

What you should do

How do you get God's inheritance? It's so simple---wait. God promises that they who wait on him shall renew their strength and mount up with wings like eagles. They shall walk and not faint. Run but not grow weary. A lot of you can even memorize this verse, but so few understand it and apply it daily. 

How do you know that you are out of the inheritance? Some think that producing no visible or physical results in ministry means being ineffective. But it's easy to see if you are ineffective in God's eyes---if you do not manifest (or if you start losing) the fruit of the Spirit, especially patience and joy. A lot of minsters who may be successful in ministry lose their patience so easily. They cannot wait. They do not know how to wait. And they also start losing their joy, self-control, love, etc. You see them later being miserable and bitter.

Just listen to Peter, if you want true success in God's eyes. What makes us productive and effective in the Lord? Is it ministry results? Nope. Listen to this:
Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. [2 Peter 1.5-8]
Heart character is what makes us productive and effective. Big or small ministry, what matters is your faithfulness in keeping the ministry and your heart character while doing it. It's useless to have a mega ministry while becoming more rotten in character.

Remember, ministry size should be according to God's will so that no minister may boast of his imagined achievements. Hagar became arrogant when she bore Ishmael and started taunting Sarai. If you boast of your ministry like it was the result of your hard efforts, and if you  look down on others with smaller ministries, it just means you are doing everything in a Hagar system. It's all man's efforts and it won't end up in God's inheritance.

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