Have you ever been asked by God to choose the less traveled road that seemed to include sacrifice and loneliness? If you obeyed His voice you know that it required a faith deeper than you had at the moment of acceptance. And you had to come to terms that obeying came with no guarantees on the desired outcome compared to the labor that it seemed to involve. Did you know that God promises that the labor that He calls us to will not be in vain?
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord, your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
When God calls us to labor on His behalf it is assumed that we know it can only be done in the Lord. Otherwise how can we be ‘steadfast, immovable, always abounding’ in accomplishing what we have accepted to do?
The call to labor encompasses every arena of life and relationships. Some are called to labor for their marriage, family, children, health, home, career or ministry. Whatever the call, whatever the sacrifice involved we are admonished to be ‘steadfast, immovable and always abounding’ in our labor in the Lord.
Labor can involve suffering and hardship, yet it is not in vain. Our faith is tested in the Lord and when we endure we come forth pure as gold, through the refining fire of God’s love. We may not achieve our initial desired outcome but God always delivers a far richer outcome than we could have imagined. Knowing Him more, being transformed into the image of Christ and reaping the divine fruit of faithful labor in the Lord.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Your labor is not in vain!
One of the ways we can know when God is moving us from one season to another toward fulfilling our purpose is when we find ourselves facing a test. Not just any test, but ‘the’ test that if we successfully pass will usher us into the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Abraham was tested many times before arriving at the ultimate test of obeying God. First he had to pass the test of faith by believing all that God initially spoke to him of leaving his family and all that he had ever known to go “to the land that I (God) will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) God promised to make of him a great nation, to make his name great and to bless him. God even promised to bless his offspring by giving the promised land to them.
Ultimately God promised Abraham a son: “…your very own son shall be your heir.” (Genesis 15:4)
“And he believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
Abraham was 75 years old (Genesis 12:4) when God first called him to leave his family and travel to a land that he did not know with Sarah, his wife who was barren. And yet because he believed the Lord he was made righteous in God’s sight.
Finally, at the age of 100, some 25 years after God initially called Abraham to follow Him and after many exploits of faith that tested his obedience, Sarah conceived and bore Isaac. (Genesis 21) Then ‘the’ tests of all tests was brought before Abraham-the sacrifice of his son:
“After these things God tested Abraham…He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:1,2)
Abraham had learned that he could trust in God’s provision in every circumstance even to the point of answering his son’s question of “where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” (Genesis 22:6)
Abraham passed the ‘test of all tests’ by being willing to offer up his own son in absolute obedience to God who was entrusting the birth of a nation into his hands. And God lets us know in our hearts and in our lives when we pass just as He announced to Abraham when he passed:
“…now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (Genesis 22:12)
Abraham could now be trusted as God’s instrument of providing salvation to the nations through His only Son, Jesus Christ one day.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Are you facing a test in your faith walk? Ask God to show you His provision in order to pass the test and enter into the fulfillment of all His promises!