Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What Do You Have That You Did Not Receive?

And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
1Corinthians 4:6,7

Today marks about the one month mark of when I started my new job. I was promoted within the company I have worked with for 8 years, to a position making significantly more money than I used to, with further potential to earn much more throughout the coming years. 

This is an opportunity and a situation that I never thought I would be in. I hold only an Associate's Degree in Education and usually to get into the more advanced positions, you have to have a higher level of education... or not be a White Christian Man. 

I have seen many things throughout the years, in the company that I work for, the way God has worked in me, through me, and for me (for his glory). What I have is undeserved. I have observed the hand of God every step of the way. At the lowest points in my Christian life, Jesus Christ has always displayed his goodness to me. 

One thing I tell other believers anymore, is that I used to intellectually believe John 10:27-29 and the last half of Hebrews 13:5, but now I know them in a very intimate way. 

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish... "


"I will never leave thee nor forsake thee."

After what I have been through and what I have done, and what goodness God has displayed to me, I am totally blown away by those verses... because I have experienced them. God never stops pursuing those who are his own; those of his elect. No one can ever convince me the doctrine of election is not true. It is no longer simply head knowledge or doctrine to me.

Fast forward to today, after my first full month on the new job, making more money. It is difficult to grasp not having to watch every cent spent, not having to just get by, day after day, week after week, year after year. 

One thing I am blessed to have maintained is the attitude of unworthiness God has graced me to keep. I stepped out of my beat up, dented mini-van after work and, not so much in words, but in spirit and feeling, I realized the fact that I am no better than any man. Everything I have is a gift from God. Verses like this flood in: 

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." -- James 1:17

I was semi-tempted in this area when I was driving home, which is why I believe the LORD brought these truths back to my attention. As I was turning on to my street (which is not in a very good neighborhood, though not ultra terrible), I saw a woman sitting outside on the porch (Yes! It was 58 degrees on my way home!). She was not in good health and was probably on several government health programs. Yet she was smoking a cigarette, and I thought to myself, "No wonder this woman is of so poor of condition. She makes very bad choices". Which, she probably does. But, Hans, "who maketh thee to differ from another"?

This is why, when I was first given a slight promotion to my former department (2 years ago), I taped a big piece of paper with these verses on it, on my desk:

"Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.

But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."

Psalm 75:5-7

When I received word that I had been promoted to my current job, I put up those same verses on my Skype for Work header.

This is why it is so horrendous to mock and jest about those foolish, wicked Negroes you come across, or whoever it might be. Do not allow yourself to feel that you are in some way greater than he. What causes us to differ between ourselves and them? God's grace and mercy; nothing more.

You might say, "But I make decisions to do the right thing!" Perhaps, but who is it that gives you the strength and the will to make the right decisions? Who has saved you from your own ways so many times, so that you would not become like that person you mock? There is nothing to boast about. Boast only in Christ and what he has done and continues to do.

My brethren, remember in every stage of life, in every detail of life, to always give God the glory through Jesus Christ, for all things. Because what is the difference between you and I, and that woman I drove past? The only difference is the grace of God; that God chose to bestow his favor upon us. It is no different than why God originally chose Israel. We are people of a stiffed neck. But by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, he is making us into what we are called to be. 

Swiss Kinist