The selfish human nature is always striving for the liberty of self-determination. “I want to do what I want, when I want to”, is our mindset. But with that enticement comes deception and seduction as we wander farther and farther off the right path. And sooner or later, we find ourselves in the middle of perversion, and wonder just how we got ourselves into such a mess. In the search for freedom, we have instead become a piece of property…owned and controlled by depravity and lies.
The sign of the promise made by God to Noah was a rainbow…a everlasting covenant that we still see today when the sunshine breaks through the rain clouds. This arch of colors is used both in the Old and New Testament to describe the glory of God. Ezekiel 1:28 says that the glory of God was a radiance around Him like a rainbow. And John describes a rainbow encircling God’s Throne in Revelation 4:3. So the next time you spy a rainbow, take a moment to be in awe of God’s magnificent glory on display for you.
Where does your allegiance lie? Do you hold firmly to your “things”…your material possessions…your earthly goods at the detriment of your Christian walk? If you’ve been worshipping at the altar of retail shopping…has money and wealth now become your god? The contrast between selfish love and the love of Christ couldn’t be farther apart and more difficult to admit to in our own lives…but Jesus is also very plain in this scripture that we cannot serve both Him and money…For our loyalty can only be to one master.
God had sent the Prophet Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s seven sons as King. As six strapping young men paraded past Samuel…each time he thought to himself, “This has to be the one!” But God reminded Samuel in verse 7, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” It wasn’t until the youngest son, David, was called from the pasture, that God declared, “He is the one.” This should give all of us encouragement…especially those who have said to themselves, “I have nothing to offer God.” The Lord doesn’t consider outward appearances. He looks only at what He can do through us if we’re a willing worker.
Even though Paul was addressing this letter to the Church in Thessalonica…he probably could be speaking directly to any modern-day Church you know. Certain members of the Thessalonian Church, in anticipation of Christ’s return, had become careless and neglectful of their responsibility to work and support themselves. In other words…they were sitting around, waiting for the Rapture! Now, we may not see that degree of slothfulness in Church today…but what you can see is the attitude that “It’s me and Thee, God, and I’m not worrying about anybody else.” Paul warned that laziness and apathy would contribute to the downfall of any Church. Secondly, as the Church Body, we are to be Spiritual Cheerleaders for the fainthearted…the worry-warts…and those who can only see the cup half empty. We are to be encouragers of each other. Finally, as the Church, we are all to be ready with a helping hand for those who are weak spiritually, for when they grow, the Church grows.
God looks carefully at what we offer Him. But He looks even more closely at what we don’t offer Him. Are you withholding some area of your life for fear He’ll tell you to stop it? Are you denying Him a corner of your world because you enjoy it way too much? What we offer up to the Lord is much more important to us than to Him…for what He’s looking for is a total surrender…a relinquishing of ourselves…and a giving up of control. As I Samuel 15:22 states, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” God’s looking for our obedience not some ritual.
For many of us, we are riding on the shoulders of those who have come before us. Maybe it was a Grandmother, Great Aunt, or Great Uncle that were so influential in your early years. This someone, whose strong Christian walk stirred your own soul and formed early on your ideas of just who God was, became a shining example of His light and truth to you. And as they walked the walk and talked the talk…that assurance of who God was and His matchless power and authority became more real every day.