As much as we like to believe we can do life on our own, it’s not true. Just read Ecclesiastes 4:9,12
Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12 NLT
Clearly, we were made for community. Why do we need community?
1) Accountability: I’ve done so much better in life when people hold me accountable. I don’t have to like it, but I do know I need it.
2) Support: When you’re sick or experience the death of a loved one, there’s nothing like community to help you through that difficult time. Community also gives you the opportunity to do the same.
3) God is representative of community. We have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in God. So when we think of God, we should think of Community and Unity.
Now, do we need any more reason than that to pursue healthy communal relationships?
In order to be transparent it’s important that we admit struggles. I’ve shared that the past month a part of me wondered what’s the point? I know there is one, but some days I just wonder why do we do what we do? It was a good time to read Ecclesiastes because this question is answered in those scriptures.
I’m human so I struggle. Sometimes I see the hurt and pain and wonder where God is? Which is probably a good time to read Job when this happens, which thankfully was another good reminder this week. In the end, Job (42:3) says, “I spoke to You (God) about things I know nothing about–too great for me to understand.” So, while that’s not always the most comforting thing in the moment, it can be comforting because it’s a reminder. There are things too great for us to understand. God’s ways are too great for us to comprehend.
I’m reading a book, and as an aside he mentions someone who was about to give up on their faith. They went to Rwanda and saw the devastation of genocide and were about to give up on God. In the moment, they heard the Lord say, this is what happens when people walk away from Me. This is what happens when love and compassion leave a place.
That was what I needed. I needed to remember this truth: When God isn’t invited into a situation, the hurt and pain we see are the results. It’s not for lack of love and concern from God. It’s from God being uninvited to intervene. Today, search your heart, and ask God to reveal any areas that you haven’t given Him an invitation. I truly believe we will start to see some things change when we do this.
Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor. – Proverbs 21:21 NLT
I’ll share this, God has been working on me when it comes to righteousness. I’ll keep this post short because I will discuss the topic in greater detail in a podcast.
He’s challenging me to understand the difference between right and righteousness. When I say right, I’m referring to the desire to always be right. Not the inherent rightness of righteousness.
It’s no coincidence that the verse mentions the pursuit of righteousness and unfailing love together. Perfect love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5), so righteousness can’t simply be about being right, it has to be more than that, deeper than that. See, true, godly righteousness pairs with unfailing love.
Jesus is the perfect example, right? Jesus is righteousness. Jesus is also unfailing love and its perfect example. Jesus, of course, was always right, but His pursuit was one of righteousness and unfailing love.
If you’re working to pursue the two, righteousness and unfailing love, you’ll find life, righteousness, and honor. In Jesus is fullness of life, righteousness, and honor. When you work like Jesus worked and pursue what Jesus pursued, you’ll be able to receive what Jesus has to offer.
So, how has God been working with me in understanding the difference between right and righteousness? Well, that’s a podcast chat, and I’ll just say it’s a humbling lesson.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. – Colossians 3:5 NLT
Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. – Colossians 3:6 NLT
Why these sins in particular? I can’t say I know the answer to this. So I’ll simply share thoughts.
1) It could be that these were very specific struggles for the church in Colossae. Remember, Christianity isn’t something people have grown up with at this time, so there has been a lot of dabbling with other religions and beliefs.
2) Scripture says no sin so clearly affects the body like sexual sin. “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body (1 Corinthians 6:18 NLT).” So, the importance of God’s anger due to these sins can’t be stressed enough.
3) If greed can lead to idolatry, then it’s leading people away from God. Greed won’t lead people to serve but to be served. It won’t lead to generosity but to stinginess. And if it’s that easy to idolize materials, how much easier will it become to idolize one’s self?
All in all, I’d say any of the above is a start for why these sins can infer God’s anger. Let’s be clear, God hates all sin. Sin places a barrier between us and Him. God does not want a barrier between us, that’s why He sent Jesus. God knows the full effect of sin, and in His love, He wants to save us from its destructive patterns. The question is, do we want to be saved?
And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. – Colossians 3:4 NLT
How amazing is this?! When you dedicate your life to Christ, rather, when your life is Christ, you’ll share in His glory. I know that’s hard to process. I’m still processing it as I type.
One day, Jesus will be revealed to the whole world. We all will have had an opportunity to either say yes to Him or no. For those who’ve said yes, when Christ is revealed as Ruler, Savior, as Eternal Life, will be with Him as His followers.
Talk about making sure you’re on the right side of history.
We certainly don’t deserve this opportunity. Christ did all the work, God did all the loving, and we made a choice. Yet, because of God’s love, the choice was available, and those who said yes will share in Christ’s glory. We didn’t say yes to get glory, but saying yes results in Christ’s glory, and that’s what blesses us.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. – Philippians 2:3, 7-8 NLT
Humility doesn’t mean embarrassment. Humility really is about having a healthy outlook of yourself and others. It’s not being embarrassed or put to shame it’s abstaining from pridefulness, especially in a way that doesn’t acknowledge God’s hand in your life.
I admit that often, when I pray for God to humble me, I have the thought that something embarrassing will happen to me. That’s not true. Humility can come from any moment that I simply realize and reflect on the fact that I always need God. Now, do I need to be knocked off of my high horse sometimes? Of course. But God doesn’t allow those moments to happen so that I’ll be embarrassed or ashamed.
Shame is never God’s goal for us. Shame is a result of sin, either our own sin or someone else’s. Adam and Eve felt shame, not because God wanted them to, but because they had sinned.
The goal of life is to be like Jesus. Jesus lived a humble life. He showed that humility requires at least three things:
1) Selflessness 2) Servanthood 3) Obedience to God
So, in conclusion, I’ll offer the humility test. Are you better than other people? Are you too important to serve others? Do you obey God? If you answered yes to the first two, you’ve got some practicing to do. If you answered no to the final one, you’ve got some surrendering to do.
The good news is that today is a great day to start.
Hey! Do you ever feel abandoned or singled out? Feel like no one can understand what you’re facing? I’ve got just the book recommendation for you! Today, I’m discussing one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado. Tune in as I hit the books and dive into one of his more recent books, “You Are Never Alone.”
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
God loves sacrificially. In fact, I’d venture to say that since God has given us the example of love as a sacrifice, we must ask ourselves, is there love without sacrifice?
Do I really love you if I won’t give up some part of me for you? That doesn’t have to mean death, but it may mean my time. That’s a big one for me. It may mean giving up my pride for you. It may mean my resources. Love is a sacrifice and love sacrifices for the good of others.
I’ve said this in the past, where there is not love, there is no point. I’ve likely expressed this sentiment, where there is no sacrifice or willingness to, is there love?
In this verse lies the greatest example of love. God put all the cards on the table, He held nothing back. He didn’t just make a sacrifice for us, He made the biggest and best sacrifice—His Son. Why? To show us what love really looks like, in its purest, sacrificial, undeniable form.
I had this realization this morning. We don’t really want the power God wants to give us. Yes, the cliché is true. Thanks, Spiderman. With great power comes great responsibility.
I know I’ve been afraid of the power God may be willing to give me. I know it would put me in situations I don’t want to be in. I’d have to speak up more and leave my house more. And don’t want to. Thankfully, it doesn’t matter that I don’t want to, though.
There’s another type of power we don’t really want. The power I’m referring to is when we aren’t in the limelight. The power and ability to practice humility. Most of the time, when we pray for power, it’s to do something we believe is extraordinary. It’s to cast out demons or speak to the masses. Very rarely do we pray for the power to be humble.
The interesting thing about when God empowers us is that He humbles us first. If you can have the ability to be humble, you can be trusted with power and responsibility.
Jesus had all power, yet He humbly walked this earth. He could’ve struck people dead, called thousands of angels to deliver Him, or bluntly just sent people to Hell. Yet, part of His power and strength was in His humility. He had the power to stay humble, and that is an act of God.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8 NLT