// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail."
—Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
IN THE LAST two issues of The Word of Faith, I have been discussing the days that we live in and what we must focus on. I began with the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:42 and 44 (NKJV): "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. . . . Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
The Lord pointed out to me that we need to concentrate more on being ready than on trying to interpret when He will return. How do we do that?
1. We must live a holy life by presenting our entire bodies to Him. Romans 12:1 (NLT) says, "And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable."
2. We must walk in the spirit each day. Galatians 5:16 (NLT) says, "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves."
3. We must practice the fruit of the Spirit. Let love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance rule your life. If you have difficulty in any of these areas, find scriptures to meditate on that will help you overcome the situation. For instance, if you have trouble forgiving someone, read Matthew 5:44 each day. If you have trouble staying in peace, read John 16:33 continually.
4. We must keep the oil of the Holy Spirit burning brightly in our lives. Matthew 25:1–13 tells the story of the five wise and five foolish virgins, or bridesmaids. I encourage you to read it for yourself. In summary, the five wise virgins took extra oil for their lamps, and the five foolish virgins did not. The bridegroom came later than expected, and the foolish virgins' lamps had gone out. They tried to coerce the wise virgins into giving them some oil. The wise virgins replied, "We don't have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves" (Matt. 25:9 NLT). Later, when the five foolish virgins returned, the bridegroom would not let them in. Jesus ended this parable by saying, "So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return" (v. 13 NLT).
It is important that we have a growing relationship with our Heavenly Father. To do that, we must stay filled with His Word, pray consistently, and attend church faithfully each week. Doing this will keep the oil of the Holy Spirit burning continuously in our lives.
5. We must use our talents for the Lord. Matthew 25:14–30 tells the story of the man who gave his servants money to invest. That money is called "talents" in the King James Bible. Today we use that word to mean "abilities."
The man gave one servant five talents, another two talents, and the third a single talent. The last part of verse 15 is very enlightening. It says, "dividing it in proportion to their abilities" (NLT). God gives each of us talents, but we don't receive the same talents, or an equal number of talents. Again, I encourage you to read the entire story. The Scriptures say the servant who was given five talents increased his to 10, and the one given two talents increased his to four. However, the one given a single talent buried his.
When the master returned to receive a report, he commended the first two servants: "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!" (v. 23 NLT).
However, the master had very harsh words for the servant who hid his talent: "Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (vv. 28–30 NLT).
I admonish you who have placed your talents on a shelf—get them out and use them for God. Don't envy the talents God has given others. He created you for a specific purpose and gave you specific talents. Be content with them and use them for His glory.