As I sat pondering these verses, I wondered just how many hours of my life I’ve frittered away worrying over things I had absolutely no control over? Jesus wanted His disciples to take on a eternal perspective of their temporal lives here on earth. In other words, He was telling them to look at their human bodies and worldly possessions through the lens or view of eternity. And besides, Jesus continued, worrying is a waste of time and can’t add a single hour to our lives. (Matthew 6:27)
Every time I start a new work for the Lord, I hope and pray that it will grow and prosper…but I don’t know if it truly will. That’s because it’s up to God if it will bear fruit, not me. What He’s asking from me is simply obedience and to do it with all my heart, as working for the Lord. (Colossians 3:23) In Ecclesiastes 9:10, it repeats this idea that whatever our hands find to do, we need to do it with all our might, for life is fleeting and we don’t get do-overs…so we should work diligently while we have the opportunity…always striving to please God.
My husband and I pray together every night, and I’ve noticed that we’ve seemed to have gotten into a rut. Our prayers are the same old thing…same concerns…same people…same old same old. So when I read the verse this morning I was convicted of my mindless, almost robotic prayers. God doesn’t want my monotonous prayers where I’m only reciting the same words over and over…He wants something fresh, new and different, where I am celebrating and exalting Him with joy and glorifying His name. He wants me engaged and mindful of what I’m praying…not repeating words verbatim.
Paul’s letter to the Church in Thessalonica encouraged them to love each other by following the example of Jesus. For the past year we have been part of a brand new Church plant…bringing people together from several Churches to form a new one. And today was our second service, with many new faces among us. So as I look at this verse, I’m reminded that for the past six months we’ve bonded together as a small group, but now the time has come that we must turn ourselves from our tight circle to welcome those coming in through the doors. For the agape love of Jesus can only be demonstrated by His Believers when we love others. And we can only be His hands and feet when our caring shows.
It was back in II Samuel 7 that David first considered all he had and how the Ark of the Covenant was still residing in a tent. But from the start, the Lord told him it would not be him to do the actual construction of the Temple. (II Samuel 7:12-13) What God did permit David to do was preparation, planning, and stockpiling of materials. Now David could of been offended by this…but he wasn’t. He understood that he was a warrior with blood on his hands and that Jerusalem wasn’t yet secure enough to begin construction. What it all boiled down to was appropriateness and proper timing. All during our Christian life there will be times when we’ll plow the hard ground…someplace else we may plant seed…and another time will find us watering the seedbed. All these things are vitally important for a harvest…but it is only God that brings it about, for only He can make it grow at the perfect time. (I Corinthians 3: 6-9) We all want to see immediate results in people’s lives, but we also need to be content in whatever the Lord gives us to do…for at the proper time He will make it happen.
One of the biggest differences between children and adults is the ability to control our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as grownups. We rarely see a 40 year-old having a temper-tantrum! Yet in this verse, Paul is exhorting us to be child-like regarding evil. Now he doesn’t mean that we should be ignorant, naive or easily exploited by evil, but rather, we should be innocent in our motives and thinking about it…not allowing rationalization or deception to creep into our mindset. This comes, Paul says, from growing up into spiritual maturity and taking all of our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)
A few verses down in Chapter 30 Job complains again to the Lord when he says, “You snatch me up and drive me before the wind; You toss me about in the storm.” (Job 30:22) Have you ever felt that way? Disheartened, fearful, or left feeling that your prayers are being shut out by a God who just stares at you in response to them? This is not coming from the Lord. For Psalm 34:17 tells us, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” Or Proverbs 2:3 goes on to say, “He is near us when we pray.” We can’t rely on raw feelings during stressful times, nor can we succumb to Satan’s taunts of, ” If God really loved you, He’d be helping you right now.” No, like Job, we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty, His control and perfect timing in all things. For no matter how abandoned or far away from God we may “feel”…God hasn’t gone anywhere…nor will He.
Our journey with the Lord is not a one and done event. Ours is not to be a stagnant life once we say “Yes!” to Jesus Christ. No, our Christian walk is suppose to be a always advancing, ever increasing effort to become more Christ-like. This progressive sanctification is simply growing in the knowledge of God, (Ephesians 3:17) and applying the truths of the Gospel into our everyday life. And as we continue to live in Him, He is faithful to continue to fill us…for our walk with God will never be fully realized until that day we walk through those Heavenly gates.
Fall in Illinois is beautiful foliage…for the trees are ablaze with red, yellow and orange leaves. Fall is also harvest time for the farmers…bringing in the crops of corn and soybeans out of the fields. As I look at the beauty around me, I can only thank God for His majesty and creative work. And as I stand in awe and reverence of His faithfulness and love for His people, it reminds me it’s this reverence…this fear of the Lord that is crucial in our Christian walk. For it tells us in Isaiah 33:6, “He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” Being in awe of God’s creation and thanking Him for it is not groveling at His feet…it’s simply admitting there is Someone a whole lot bigger than me in control!