Monthly Archives: September 2014

When You Lose the Right Motivation Part 1

Living in the Light of Eternity - KP Yohannan Books

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The man stopped hoeing and straightened up, wiping sweat and grime from his forehead. He thought he had heard unusual sounds coming from the house. Strains of music drifted across the field and, he thought, shouts and laughter as well. What was going on?

Well, it was way past quitting time anyway. He swung the hoe over his shoulder and trudged over the freshly turned-up field toward the house.

As he drew nearer, the music grew louder. He could tell the wine must be flowing freely; the dancing and merriment were in full swing.

Father must have a real reason for celebration, he thought.

Just then a servant came scurrying out.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Your brother has come home!” the servant replied. “Your father has killed the fatted calf, and we are all rejoicing because your brother is safe and sound. Please, your father wants you to join the celebration—come!”

The man’s face darkened. So this was what they were celebrating—his brother’s return? His irresponsible, wild, loose-living, inheritance-wasting brother? How dare he return after all the years of grief and uncertainty he had caused! A storehouse of angry memories flooded him.

“I will have no part of this celebration!” he spat at the servant. “You can tell my father I will not go in!”

And he turned on his heel.

We are all familiar with the story in Luke 15 of the man and his two sons. We know the younger brother as the Prodigal Son, but the story is really about the love of his father.

Jesus had been criticized by the Pharisees and scribes because He chose to eat with the publicans and sinners. “Look at this man,” they whispered to each other. “He says He’s God, but look who He eats with!”

Jesus’ dinner companions were indeed reputed to be the worst members of society. But the Pharisees misunderstood God’s holiness to mean He would have nothing to do with sinners. So Jesus told them the story of the man and his sons to show them the heart of the Father. He was saying to them, “God has everything to do with sinners, because He loves them.”

It is plain to see that the younger son represents the sinner, the outcast. But let’s take a closer look at the older son.

The older son is a picture of the believer, someone who knows the Lord and is within the fold of believers. What was he doing when the younger son finally returned? Working out in the fields. He was committed to his father and to his work. In appearance, anyhow, he loved his father more than his brother did. He never left home or gambled his money away.

The older brother is a classic illustration of the individual who seems to be doing a lot of good and whose life is full of activity but who may be motivated horizontally, not vertically. The motivation keeping the older brother going was not genuine love for his father. When his brother returned and adverse circumstances bore down on him, the truth came out.

The older brother was “perfect.” He sacrificed and worked long hours. He gave money faithfully for missions every month. He cut back on his lifestyle and lived more simply. He prayed an hour every day. He was active in his church. He always went the extra mile.

Am I talking about you and me? I am. But as we are in the midst of good activity, sometimes things begin to go wrong. Wow! we say to ourselves. I didn’t realize I would ever face rejection for doing the right thing. I thought everyone would appreciate my hard work. I thought I’d get a few rewards, a little recognition . . .

When external pressures bear upon us and jolt the jar, whatever is inside comes out. This jolting is orchestrated by the Lord, who wants us to see what is really in our hearts.

Why did the older son act the way he did? He felt taken for granted, and was angry with his father for receiving his younger brother back, who had done wrong while he had done right.

If we look carefully at Luke 15, we can see signs that something was missing in the older brother. He had lost the genuine motivation of his heart—his love for his father.

Excerpt from Chapter 6 of Living in the Light of Eternity (ISBN 9781595891402) © 2014 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.

Back to the Cross

Living in the Light of Eternity - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

A.W. Tozer wrote in his book The Root of the Righteous:

We can prove our faith by our committal to it, and in no other way. Any faith that does not command the one who holds it is not a real belief; it is a pseudo belief only. And it might shock some of us profoundly if we were brought suddenly face to face with our beliefs and forced to test them in the fires of practical living. Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives so as to admit the truth of Christianity without being embarrassed by its implications. So wide is the gulf that separates theory from practice in the church that an inquiring stranger who chances upon both would scarcely dream that there was any relation between them. An intelligent observer of our human scene who heard the Sunday morning sermon, and later watched the Sunday afternoon conduct of those who had heard it, would conclude that he had been examining two distinct and contrary religions.

Christians habitually weep and pray over beautiful truth, only to draw back from that same truth when it comes to the difficult job of putting it in practice.

When we hear the New Testament with willing, open hearts, the Gospel will penetrate our very lives and break them open, energizing our eyes, our ears, our hands, our legs—every part of us. And when we allow the Gospel to energize us, we become vessels in the Lord’s hands, pouring out our prayers, finances, reputation, lifestyle—and ultimately our very lives.

Do we have to be “somebody” to hear the call of God and make a difference? In my own life I have seen time and again how God uses “nobodies.” Sometimes I feel insecure. At other times I feel overwhelmed with all that I know needs to be done. Again and again I struggle and fail.

Where do I go when this happens? To the cross! How many times? Many times a day, if needed. The cross is the place where I can go and say, “Lord, I am Yours, along with all my weaknesses. But Your grace alone is what I need to serve You.”

Perhaps you feel you are useless to the Lord, that you are not good enough, or that you have already wasted your life. But you are still in His hand. Don’t you know that every day with Jesus is a new beginning? The Lord never condemns you or says, “Sorry, you didn’t make it.” His mercies, He tells us, are new every morning (see Lamentations 3:22–23). Whether you have lost 7 days or 70 years, the Lord says to you, “Return to me with all your heart. . . . I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” (Joel 2:12, 25).

The Lord does not ask you to be a success or a superstar. In fact, if you truly desire to be a world-changer give your weaknesses to God so He can use you. All He requires is a weak, brokenhearted child who will surrender at the foot of the cross.

Excerpt from Chapter 3 of Living in the Light of Eternity (ISBN 9781595891402) © 2014 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.

All-Out Surrender

Living in the Light of Eternity - KP Yohannan Books

Click the image to download your free copy.

Once your life is given over completely to the Lord, you will no longer be intimidated by circumstances or swayed by what others think. Paul said, “All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God” (1 Corinthians 3:21–23).

Paul also said, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

When we understand who Christ is and surrender our lives to Him, we recognize that He is not a tyrant who sits on a high and mighty throne, shaking His finger at us and saying, “No!” Paul tells us that in Jesus all the promises of God are “Yes!”

When the Lord calls you to consecrate your life to Him, He is looking for a living, breathing, moving sacrifice. He wants a total surrender of your will, your intellect, your mind, your five senses, your emotions, your actions.

This, then, is the ultimate secret: We hear and respond to the call of God when we surrender ourselves to Him. Each of us has been given one life and the choice as to how we will live it. The apostle Paul pleads with us:

I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1–2

What will you do with your self? Many men and women are still in darkness, trying to figure out the meaning and purpose of life. But no matter what you try to do with your self—whether you deny it, obliterate it, annihilate it, accept it or express it—believe me, it is still alive and kicking.

Jesus tells us what to do with the self: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). But questions remain: How do we follow Him? How do we hear God and implement the power of the Gospel in our lives?

This can happen only through an all-out surrender of ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. It means acknowledging the Lordship of Christ in our lives, not just in theory but in practice. Jesus asks us to love Him supremely, more than anything or anyone else, and to let Him live in us and through us. Paul expressed it beautifully: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
When I let Jesus live in and through me, my self is no longer the one that directs and dictates to me. Now it is Christ, His will and desires, living and acting through me. This is why the habit of compartmentalizing our lives must end. All of me, all that I am, belongs to Christ.

It is a daily practice to learn this principle and live it out in our lives. The choices we make are ultimately not collective ones that we make as a church, a family or even a couple. They are choices we make as individuals.

I pray that you will take a closer look at who you are. From now on you can live your life for a different purpose than for this world alone. I pray that you will hear the call of God and begin to consider eternity as your perspective.

But I must also warn you: If this is your decision, know that you have chosen to walk a narrow road. When Jesus called His disciples to follow Him, He set some conditions before them. The choice you make to follow Christ involves a cost. There will be inconveniences, difficulties, pain and counterattack by Satan.

But praise the Lord, whether you are standing or have fallen, you can rejoice because you have surrendered your self to Him. When everything has been said and done, and the earth as we know it is only a memory, Jesus will say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And His approval is all that matters.

Excerpt from Chapter 4 of Living in the Light of Eternity (ISBN 9781595891402) © 2014 by K.P. Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.