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September 17, 2013

THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 17 September 2013

We recently planted our fall vegetables. Some of our friends who have planted likewise seem to always grow a beautiful and plentiful garden. We, however, have not always done so well. Why would God allow that difference? Everyone knows that only God can grow vegetables because He alone gives the increase. Without the vitality that the Giver of life made resident in the seed, nothing will grow. Without the rain and sunshine that the gracious Lord provides, every seed with shrivel. However, every gardener must also recognize the responsibility to prepare the soil to plant, and then water, weed, and care. God works likewise with our spirits.

God works in the hearts and minds of those who work with Him. Certainly, the old cliché, “God helps those who help themselves” is horrible theology with regard to one’s salvation (justification). Every sinner is saved (justified) by trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and such salvation is the work of God, which does not require any added effort from us. However, the cliché does accurately communicate a certain degree of truth with regard to the necessity of the believer abiding in Christ Jesus with faithful obedience.

God grants spiritual empowerment, maturity, and results as fruits of righteousness to those who work diligently on the garden of their own heart and mind. The work that God commissions to his people is not always easy. Laboring upon our hearts and minds—by God’s grace and for his glory—requires “work . . . labor . . . and steadfastness” (1 Thess 1:3). The three virtues, which are necessary for exemplary behavior, are also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love”). Scripture repeatedly emphasizes three virtues as essential to the Christian life. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, they are amalgamated in one verse as the things that “abide”: faith, hope, and love.

The mention of the three virtues of “faith . . . love . . . and hope” in the opening text (vv. 1-4) of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians significantly implies that those virtues need to be manifest for a body of believers to gather and serve to the glory of God. Whenever the people of God assemble (whether in a church building or a statehouse), it is to be in a spirit of faith, hope, and love. God’s people are expected to work both corporately and individually in a spirit of faith, hope, and love.

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil 2:12-13).

The message of God’s grace is a call to action and service to others. Study and learn the biblical virtues of faithful, hopeful, and loving work to impact our own hearts and minds. The evidence of our work will be evident in the harvesting.

If the ministry of Capitol Commission can serve you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Grace and peace to you,

Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Georgia State Minister, Capitol Commission
ron.bigalke@capitolcom.org
www.capitolcom.org

Capitol Commission is prepared to encourage and enable local churches to participate in reaching our capitol communities for Christ (1 Tim 2:1-4). We only need to hear from you, if you have not already contacted us. We also seek to enlist individuals, businesses, and churches to become strategic partners with us in this ministry (2 Cor 8:3-6). Our success as a ministry is based upon God blessing all facets of the ministry, which certainly includes partners in this ministry. We earnestly desire to engage those who desire to participate in the ministry by offering their time and talents (Matt 25:20). If you have not already done so, join us and experience the joy of bringing hope, light, transformation, and truth to those who constitute our capitol communities.