Implications of the Word, Pt. 9
We Set Our Tomorrows Into Motion Today By What We Think, Do, and Say
Study Guide, September 17, 2017
Pastor Clay Olsen
One of the most helpful Biblical habits that we can have is to look at life’s thoughts, words, and deeds as ‘Seeds’. And then to be keenly aware of the fact that, as Dr. Charles Stanley put it, “You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.” Now, that’s good to know. In fact, it is amazing that what grows tomorrow grows directly out of the seeds we sow today.
Of course, even nature gives us great illustrations of this reality. The might and the strength and the size of trees today were set into motion by the sowing that went on in the days gone by. Of course, these massive trees clearly show that indeed you do ‘reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.’ Which also shows us how important it is to pay attention to what what we sow or are sowing today…because we are setting our tomorrows into motion today by what we think, do, and say.
All right…let’s explore this more…
Have you ever thought much about your thoughts, words, and deeds as being ‘Seeds’? Well, since they are, just think of how much we could directly influence and impact our tomorrows if we would be more circumspect, more careful about the potential consequences concerning the things we do think about…and the things we do say…and the things we actually then do. Every day we are planting more seeds that will surely grow. Every day we are sowing more seeds that will reap what we sow, and even more than we sow, and even later and longer than we sow.
How about this powerful statement from Prov 4:23- “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.” ERV Do you ever give much thought to what you think about? Do you ever think much about the way you think and how you think and why you think the way you think? Think about it. You see, the Proverbs actually start out with giving foundational directions to us about this very thing. Look at this: Prov 1:1-3- “These are the proverbs of Solomon, the son of David and king of Israel. They will help you learn to be wise, to accept correction, and to understand wise sayings. They will teach you to develop your mind in the right way.” ERV
It seems that we have missed an entire discipline in our educational systems, since the implication of this revelation is that the entire book of Proverbs was intended to be an educational course for the proper development of the human mind. Actually, the implication is that this course was intended to be a ‘continuing educational course’ for mankind that a person took in both formal educational settings and in informal personal development settings. Like, along with Math, Science, Geography, and such, the core course was to be ‘Proverbs’. Why? Because this course would be the instrumental course by which a student could learn to become wise, learn to accept correction, come to understand wise sayings, and would teach a person how to develop their mind in the right way.
Do you begin to see one of the central problems of mankind here? We live in a world of people that have skipped this essential course their entire lives, and as such, rather than having wisely developed minds, they have distorted and foolish developed minds. Their minds have not been developed in the right way, or the righteous way, but have been developed in the wrong way or the unrighteous way. And thus, their minds produce distorted and foolish thoughts, words, and deeds that, like seeds, they have sown day in and day out and are now reaping distorted and foolish lives.
Well, just how important are wise words versus foolish words anyway? And why is it important to be careful about the potential consequences of our words? How much does it really matter? And the answer is: Matt 12:36- “And I say to you that in the day when they are judged, men will have to give an account of every foolish word they have said.” BBE You mean the judgment of unbelievers will even include the words they have said? Exactly! And not only that, but the verse doesn’t say just unbelievers…it says ‘men’, as in all people, as even believers will have an account to give before the family judgment of the Judgment Seat of Christ, to determine believer’s rewards or loss of rewards in the Kingdom. Actually, remember what we said about the thoughts? Right, not only our words are on record, but notice what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church. 1 Cor 4:5- “So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” NLT
You mean that God will not only evaluate what we did, but also why we did what we did? That’s right. Now, this revelation by the Apostle is not to discourage believers about their good words and their good works. Many humble and conscientious Christians would hesitate to say that all of their good works were made up of entirely pure motives, or that they always wanted to do them. What would Moses have said about his response in doing the works of God, about how anxious he was to do the will of God and with entirely pure motives? Not really, right? Remember, his first response was, “Here am I Lord, send Aaron!” No, his motives were not all that pure at all. He thought God had the wrong guy. His motives were rather ‘mixed’ to say the least. But there’s more to this picture because, remember, God thought highly of Moses and spoke to him as a friend would to a friend, and He praised Moses for his good works. So there’s more to this ‘motives evaluation’ than that.
Here’s another example of what we might think is a motive that might disqualify us for service or reward, but instead, in God’s eyes, is both right and reasonable in His servants. It’s quite fascinating: Matt 21:28-31- “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ “And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. “The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” NASU
In both examples of Moses and this first son we learn that God is okay with what we could call ‘reluctant obedience’ in His people. In fact, He understands that because of our ‘sheep nature’ that we are prone to first wanting to go our own way rather than our Shepherd’s way. But what pleases our God is when we make the choice to go ahead and do those things that God’s wants anyway, and to choose those things that are God’s will over the things that we might want and over our will. Like Peter, we choose to do them ‘for God’s sake’, regardless of how we feel about it. We choose to make ourselves available for God’s service for God’s sake ahead of our own.
It’s when God’s children come to the place where they serve Him and obey His commands because it’s the right thing to do even if they don’t feel all that great about doing it that God factors in this new level of maturity into this concept of motives, and He then counts their works as both righteous and rewardable. He considers these kind of motives as honorable because they were meant to honor Him in spite of any initial reluctance in His children. Doing good works for God’s sake is great motive for doing good works.
Now, as for the motives that really do cancel out rewards from our works, well, God spells those out very clearly in Prov 6:16-19- “Six things the Lord hates; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers.” Holman Bible Notice how ‘self-pride’ tops the list. Now these are the motives you want to root out of your life or stay away from at all costs because they will bring on God’s discipline in your life as well as will cancel out your rewards in the life ahead.
Now, let’s say we have become a conscientious Christian and we are somewhat bothered or burdened about some past thinking habits or past words that were said or past deeds that were done, about which we would really like to not have to give an account for these things at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Is there any provision for that? Praise God there is and both Solomon and the Apostle John gave us the procedure for it.
Prov 28:13- “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
1 John 1:8-9- “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” NASU
Now, remember something very important here. No doubt you have heard young Christians and sometimes older Christians say that they don’t understand why if they have been forgiven of their sin why then then need to confess their sins for forgiveness. Well, that is an important distinction to understand. And here is a way to clarify it: Our ‘conversion’ removes the ‘penalty of our sins’ from us, whereas our ‘confession’ cleanses the ‘presence of our sins’ from us. Our conversion established our ‘relationship with God’, whereas our confession promotes our ‘fellowship with God’. Remember, before we became saved we were under that condemnation of the penalty of our sins. John 3:18- “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” NIV But once we were born again into union with Christ that condemnation was removed from us. Rom 8:1- “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” NASU So now that the eternal condemnation from the penalty of sin has been removed the only thing remaining is the presence of sin from our old sin nature that needs daily cleansing by confession in order for our fellowship with God to be close and our usefulness to God to be ready.
All right. So our conversion happened at a point in time, and we were forgiven of the penalty of our sins. Now, our confession of our sins to God, and to others if we sin against them, is to be a discipline or regular practice of ours for the forgiveness of the presence of our sins which interfere with our fellowship with God and our usefulness to God. But notice that this confession that Proverbs spoke of had a companion that determined if the confession was a ‘profession from the head only’ or if it was true ‘confession from the heart’. Notice again, “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”
Mark it down: ‘Biblical confessing’ requires ‘genuine forsaking’. And ‘genuine forsaking’ requires ‘actual replacing’. And here we are back to motives, because confessing sin to God without the intention of forsaking the sin is only an empty profession. If a believer has no intention of truly forsaking the sin he or she is confessing then God makes it clear that He has no intention of forgiving it either. So Biblical confession involves the intention of turning from the sin, which is repentance towards God about the sin. But notice, Biblical forsaking also involves something as well, and that is: Replacing. And we learn more about this from what Jesus said about what discipleship is. Mark 8:34- “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” NASU
Many man made religions think of denying self as giving up certain things over a period of time, and then they soon just revert back to whatever it was they gave up. Or, in Eastern religions, they tend to view the denial of self as almost an extinguishing of self…although, what they are simply left with is just some other version of the self anyway. But to Biblically deny one’s self is to ‘replace’ one’s self in the sense that self is no longer in charge…Jesus is; Jesus is now in charge. And what you are denying being in charge of are the very things that make up the human experience: thoughts, words, and deeds. So to deny yourself is to replace acting as the authority of whatever you choose to think, and whatever you choose to say, and whatever you choose to do, with submitting to the authority of Jesus and thus choosing to think on those things that Jesus instructs you to think about, and choosing to say the kinds of things Jesus instructs you to say, and choosing to do those things which Jesus instructs you to do, regardless of how you feel about them all, because you are following another Master. And in doing so you are then actively forsaking the sins you are confessing by replacing doing your personal will with obeying God’s sovereign will. And in doing so, God lavishes His forgiveness and His compassion and His fellowship upon you and moves Heaven and Earth in finding ways to use you in the plans He already had for you.
The thing is; either way you and I are setting our tomorrows into motion each day by the things we think and do and say. Every day we sow more seeds of thoughts, seeds of words, and seeds of deeds. And if these things are those that are pleasing to the Lord, then we will be both useful and fruitful to the Master, and our tomorrows will be rewardable in the Kingdom as well. But if the seeds of our thoughts and words and deeds are not pleasing to the Lord, then they become neither useful nor fruitful for the Master, and our tomorrows will suffer loss of privileges and inheritance rewards.
That’s just how important our thoughts, words, and deeds really are. They are seeds that we are sowing day by day. And the thing is: “You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.”
So choose good seeds to sow each day, and then sow them generously for the sake of our loving Lord and King.