Are your prayers more of a formula of repetitious words from memory…often without paying attention to what you’re actually saying? Have they become just a fixed routine of the same prayers repeated over and over again? Congratulations, you have the gift of religious gab! But this isn’t how the Lord wants you to communicate with Him. It isn’t the quantity or intensity of your prayers that He desires. Rather, it’s the heart-felt, getting real before the Lord, quality He wants.
The Greek word here for “hate” doesn’t mean we must despise our family in order to follow Jesus. What it just means is that we love them less than we love God. It’s called being set apart. So to this, we are to separate ourselves “morally” from the world view and others that don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. In Isaiah 52:11, God tells us to, “Come out from them (the world) and be separate.” To be set apart for Christ means that we have our priorities correct…God is first, our family is second, the world is third. For when you make God the most significant person in you life, you are less likely to allow compromise to creep in. And when God is your everything, you are much better equipped to love those around you more effectively.
This verse is repeated several times in Judges…the Jews had no ruler, instead everyone did what they thought was right, just, and pleasing to them. But we know the definition of “doing as one sees fit” can mean a hundred things to a hundred people. So what we see here was a form of anarchy…a absence of governmental rule and authority in the country. And what we also see was growing confusion and disorder among God’s people.
Our battle isn’t against this carnal world, so our weapon of choice shouldn’t be of this world. No, for spiritual warfare we need a unique and powerful weapon…a weapon straight from the most powerful source – God. Jeremiah 23:29 states, “Is not My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” God’s Word…His truth, is capable of destroying any stronghold that Satan has over a person’s life. So when you don’t know what to pray…pray God’s Word, the Scriptures, into the situation. By declaring His Word…all the power of heaven and earth is brought to bear by His authority.
This was one of Paul’s loveliest and most personal letters directed to the leader of the Colossian Church. Here Paul was encouraging Philemon to continue sharing his faith. For when faith is shared, the Word of God is unleashed to successfully accomplish its plan and purpose in people’s lives. Never be afraid to share the reason for the hope you have. (I Peter 3:15) For you may never know the impact it may have on someone. And the wonderful benefit of sharing your faith with others is that every time you hear it yourself…your trust and confidence in God is built up a little bit more.
Maybe you’ve never heard the term – Shekinah Glory – but here in Hebrews it attempts to explain how Jesus was the perfect expression of the divine essence of His Father. God’s luminous presence was manifested in Jesus, and this splendor and light could not be dampened or hidden from sight…for God’s Shekinah Glory cannot be contained.
When we allow the wise counsel of the Holy Spirit to direct and guide our decisions…our decisions will be excellent ones. When we listen to that still small voice rather than blurting out the first thing that comes to mind…our words will be timely and principled. When our plans align with God’s plans for us…we can stand firm with integrity and strength, knowing we are right where God wants us…in the center of His Will.