Christian life is a matter of focusing our motives and actions not on short-sighted pleasure or success but on understanding God’s true nature.
What motivates you to live the way you do? For example, I find such great satisfaction in physically checking a task off my list that I sometimes write down things I’ve already done so I can check them off. I am motivated by the pleasure of seeing the checked-off list, even though I have not done anything extra by adding a finished item. Further, the payoff is quite temporary and doesn’t change a bad habit or even reflect how God has changed me.
But here we are invited to examine our true motives. How many times have we looked at the good fortune of someone we considered less than godly and wondered why good things happen to bad people? Faithfulness can mistakenly look like a list of dos and don’ts, when actually a life of faithfulness happens by allowing our lives, daily actions, and motivations to be shaped by God’s character.
Trust. Commit. Be still. Do not get upset. Let go of anger and leave rage behind. None of this makes sense in a world that offers temporary success, temporary riches, temporary delight. But the psalmist knows these are the characteristics of the very God we claim to believe and follow.
O God, help me be honest with myself and name the jealousy and envy in my life. Help me seek you so that I may live a life that reflects your refuge and rescue. Amen.
Joseph had experienced betrayal by his brothers and then had been sold into slavery. At the time, he no doubt felt abandoned by God. However, after God raises up Joseph in Egypt, Joseph is able to provide for his family in a time of drought. Although others have acted with evil intentions, God uses those actions for good. The psalmist offers a similar encouragement. We struggle in the real challenges that face us, but we believe in a God who can carry us through them. In First Corinthians, Paul explains that God carries us even through death to resurrection glory on the other side. Jesus teaches us to respond to evil with mercy. Because we believe in a God who will ultimately bring justice, we do not need to serve as judge and executioner.
Read Genesis 45:3-11, 15. How would considering your children’s children to seven generations change the way you make decisions?
Read Psalm 37:1-11, 39-40. What is your relationship to the land where you live now and the land where you lived as you grew up?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50. How do you live out the characteristics of God’s imperishable realm?
Read Luke 6:27-38. How do you respond to Jesus’ call to love your enemies? How does your community of faith follow this gospel requirement?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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