Mundane Monday: Our Weary Flesh

James 4:1, 4-6, 11

1 Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you?  4 Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy. 5 Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, “The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning“? 6 But he gives greater grace.  Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. 11 Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.

James 5:8

“You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s return is near.”

Ugh.  Monday again.  Before my feet hit the floor my mind is flooded with all that must be accomplished today.  Pulling the blanket over my head only prolongs the agony and finally I relent and rise.

Aware of my Monday morning “blahs”, God’s grace intervenes and I become aware that my thoughts are not God-honoring.  He will grant the grace to accomplish what needs to be done each day.  A miracle happens – a changed disposition to one of gratitude.  Another day to live and serve God!

If there were to be a magic bullet to the Christian life, it would be contained in the passage above.  Recognizing the thoughts and deeds of the flesh and its inward driving passion and crucifying the misleading motivations frees us to live for Jesus and impact the world around us.

Like Paul, we often can find ourselves doing or thinking things that we are not even aware of.  We strive toward vain pursuits or form opinions about our brothers and sisters without pausing to consider what we are doing.

What is the driving force behind our actions?  What causes us to behave one way or another toward an event, an organization or an individual?  The flesh.  The flesh wants the things of the world, yet this friendship with the world puts us at enmity with God.  Friendship connotates a deeper level of commitment than Scripture’s counsel of being in the world and not of it. It is a fascination and a desire for temporal things that distract us from what really matters.

There is so much energy invested in what the flesh wants, chasing after what we are convinced we need, yet perhaps we don’t really want to be a slave to the demands of our flesh, after all.

Everything done in the flesh counts for nothing.  We are wise to pause to contemplate what is of the flesh and what is of the spirit.  Why do we like some people and others we avoid?  Could it be someone tried to form an opinion for us?  Our flesh recoils at work we do not want to do or activities we do not want to participate in, yet maybe deep down we want to.

Again, like Paul, we do not really fully know what it is we want to do and the things we want to do we can hardly carry out.  But there is hope.  We are all flesh, but we have an inner spirit longing for the things of God, urging us on.  What a gift.  In the face of the battle of the flesh, grace wins. His grace, His Holy Spirit is greater.

Being acquainted with the world on an ever-increasing level leaves us empty.  But knowing and hungering after God’s word fills us with an inner joy this world could never give and enables us to see the counterfeit the flesh wants us to chase after.

If we ask God to show us our shortcomings, He is faithful.  The moment of revelation is humbling but also encouraging.  For it is in the seeing of our sins that we can truly begin to be set free.  As we nurture our spirit in the word of God, He enables us to really see the spiritual battle all around us – and defeat it.

Lord, You are faithful.  Thank You for revealing the deeds of the flesh so we no longer have to be enslaved to its demands.  Help us to seek after Your and Your righteousness above all else so we can recognize the emptiness of the flesh.

A SEASON OF THANKFULNESS: DAY 18 – OUR HUMBLE KING

Humility

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Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross

There is perhaps nothing more ironic than a King becoming a servant, saving the very ones who were His servants in the first place.

In Christ we find the perfect example of humility.  He alone could boast of all the good works He accomplished or of how great He is, yet He chose a crude birth and a lifestyle among commoners.

Materialism and comfort might have appealed to his flesh in that he was 100% man and 100% God, but He did not want those things.  They were distractions from the calling His Father had for Him.  Instead, He was single-minded in His humble approach, prizing the cost of a soul as superior by far to being praised by man.

Sober-minded and dependent upon God, Christ modeled the wisdom of humility.  He captivated the hearts of His enemies not by ruling over them, but by loving and serving them.

There will come a day when Christ returns in righteous judgment, but He first exhibited godly leadership that sacrificed and made Himself subject to the very ones He sought to save.

By laying down His own life, He made a way for the prideful, lost ones truly in a humble position to know their majestic King.

Lord, thank You for demonstrating what it means to not live for self, but to live for the glory of God, instead.  Thank you for choosing a humble life that we might know You!

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 11 – My Deliverer

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Photo Credits:
notetoselfdailyremindersforthebrokenhearted.wordpress.com

Psalm 129:2

“Since my youth they have often attacked me, but they have not defeated me.”

Psalm 130:5-7

“I rely on the LORD, I rely on Him with my whole being; I wait for his assuring word. 6 I yearn for the LORD, more than watchmen do for the morning, yes, more than watchman do for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the LORD, for the LORD exhibits loyal love, and is more than willing to deliver.”

Psalm 50:15

“Pray to me when you are in trouble! I will deliver you, and you will honor me!”

If we have lived long enough, we have all experienced someone who was jealous of us our just did not like us.  Since childhood, I have seen this reality played out in the lives of others and in my life.  I never understood it then, and I do not understand it fully now – but when we come to God, He is able to grant insight and wisdom.

The flesh wants to glorify itself and exalt self above everyone else, if left unchecked.  People vie for position as if it can bring them life, or try to make miserable the one who was placed in a position, as if they were to blame.  But God’s sovereignty and purpose is woven throughout.

I used to really get upset when I learned of people gossiping about me or someone else, but now I see it as a golden opportunity to glorify God and let it work character in, instead.  The persecution of jealousy begins to work in our character a jealousy for God’s glory and not our own.  No longer upset that someone is not a fan of us, we become upset if someone’s actions would hurt Christ’s bride, the church.  I would not want to be that person.  Sadly, we all have been at one time or another.

If we are all honest, we have all not liked some personalities. This being true of us all, we are still called to love.  We are not the standard – God is.  Popularity is fleeting.  When backbiting and slander happen even within the church, we must resist the devil and put on love.  We must care more about the church than our own offenses.

Praise be to God Who delivers us from attacks from the enemy!  Instead of being caught up in a mire of drama or becoming offended, we are freed up to have concern for the one who is offended by us.  Instead of fear of their perception, we cry out to God who defends and delivers us from it all.

Sometimes He delivers us through understanding and sometimes He defends us from attack.  Ultimately He led by the perfect example; being LORD of Lords, but choosing to be a servant.  Being mistreated and putting on love in the midst.

Lord, thank You for being our Deliverer!  Thank You for showing us a better way and opening our eyes to see the real spiritual warfare all around us.  Help your church, oh God!  May we care more about Your glory than our own.

Mundane Monday: A Watchman’s Joy

Ezekiel 4:4-6

“Also for your part lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. For the number of days you lie on your side you will bear their iniquity. 5 I have determined that the number of the years of their iniquity are to be the number of days for you–390 days. So bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 6 When you have completed these days, then lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah 40 days–I have assigned one day for each year.”

Colossians 3:13

“Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.”

Galatians 6:2

“Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Matthew 18:33

“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”

This image of Ezekiel, a watchman for Israel, lying on his left side for 390 days then on his right side for 40 additional days, eating exactly 8 ounces of food each day is tortuous.  Even moreso when we consider that he did not deserve such treatment.  It does not make sense to us, but the purposes of God are higher than our own.

We do not like to be inconvenienced in today’s culture.  Our flesh recoils at the idea of suffering for our own actions and the ensuing consequences, but to do so for someone else?  Not something eagerly desired.  Even a child will cry out “not fair” or “it was not my fault” when blamed for an action he did not commit.  This makes sense to us – no one should have to receive unfair judgment.  Still God’s righteous laws demand payment for our unrighteousness.

Ezekiel was a watchman appointed by God Almighty.  He was a covering for the Israelites.  The blood was on his head if he did not warn them, and by suffering symbolically, he, more than anyone, would have a zeal to warn His fellow people after catching a glimpse of what was to come.

This heart for God’s people and for the lost sheep is the very heart of Christ, who willingly chose to bear the iniquity of those who were unable to bear it themselves.  In fact, it was for the “joy” set before Him that He endured the cross.  Wow. Jesus had an unspeakable joy that his actions would deliver the entire world from the grip of sin and the sting of death.

At the height of suffering I have lamented for self, miserable that I have had to bear consequences for another’s actions, but Christ thought of us.  He chose rejection and suffering – I did not.  This revelation reveals the selflessness of Christ and our need to follow in His steps – serving others and considering them above ourselves.  Humbling and freeing at the same time.  We cannot accomplish this on our own, but we can ask God to open our eyes and to work in our stubborn hearts.

He is still calling servants today to be watchmen for His people.   It might be uncomfortable or inconvenient – forcing us to lay down our idol of comfort, but like Ezekiel, God needs humble servants willing to roll up their sleeves and bear iniquities on their knees for others still today.  No, we cannot wipe away the sins of others, but we can stand in the gap, pray and warn people of the devastation of sin.  When the sting of sin’s aftermath and its stigma is fresh in someone’s life, we can stand with them and guide them to God’s Word and the faithful forgiveness and love of Jesus.

Encouragement in the face of a fallen world might be the very catalyst to turn one from repeating the same sin or serve as an example for another to abstain from walking that path of sin at all.  The voice of truth might not be welcome today when absolute truth seems nonexistent, but more than ever the world needs to hear this voice of God’s people, uniting to be watchmen for the glory of God.  The temporary cost might be more than we want to pay, but the rewards are eternal.

Lord, forgive us for being lulled into complacency.  Help us to care for those around us as you do and to be faithful in the calling of watchmen for You.

Mundane Monday: The Purpose of the Law

Photo credits: pinterest

Photo credits: pinterest

1 Timothy 1:5-8

5 “But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6 Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not understand what they are saying or the things they insist on so confidently. 8 But we know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately.”

Psalm 119:30

“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.”

Here it is a Monday again.  The day-in, day-out drudgery of the work week awaits us as we open our eyes to a new week.  Well, that is one perspective.  Another viewpoint is one of gratitude.  Today is Labor Day and today I thank God for the gift of work and for a mission He has called each of us to.  We are blessed to have work and blessed to be able to work.  Work is one of the occupations God gave us to do in His sovereign wisdom that sometimes our flesh resists, much like the laws He has in place, which is the topic today for all of us rule breakers at heart.

Laws.  Deemed as spoilers by some, a means to judge others or of self-righteousness to some, and to still others a moment of grace – of seeing our need for salvation once we see within ourselves the inability to perfectly adhere to God’s law.

Everywhere there are signs of mankind’s desire for no limits.  What is it about rules that sparks a seed of rebellion in our hearts and deceives a people?  To some, breaking rules seems like freedom.  We are doing what we want to do.  Or are we?  The irony of submitting to our fleshly desires is that in doing what we want to do, we become a taskmaster for our own destruction.

The limits set in place by an all-wise, all-knowing God are intended for our benefit.  In our deception we strive for what we perceive is a thing of beauty – no accountability, no hindrance of following someone else’s idea, and yet that pursuit is what becomes our prison, after all.

It is so beautiful that the aim of God’s laws and instruction is love.  God is not a spoiler of fun.  Sin destroys us and He wants us to be in relationship with Him – not separated from Him.  He hates to see us suffer from poor choices made at the altar of the gods of self and pleasure.

We are all subject to God’s laws, universal and spiritual, whether or not we want to be.  No one escapes the law of gravity, and while some might escape the consequences of disobeying civil or spiritual laws for a season, seared consciences are the penalty borne and ultimately all deeds will be judged by the Perfect law maker and giver, Jesus Christ.

A rule breaker can be deemed as “cool” by the world and a rule keeper seen as “prudish”, but it is how one keeps the law that matters.  Just as rebellion is not acceptable in the sight of God, neither is legalism.  Rationalizing which rules are important and which ones are not also does not change the premise of walking in the liberty of following God’s laws regarding ethics, big or small laws.

Our flesh does not like to be held accountable or to have to conform to someone else’s plan, and yet His plan is best.  We want our way, and yet God beautifully has designed a structure of leadership and accountability that ultimately provides care for those who will submit to His leadership.

People can use laws for their own ends, manipulating the original intent in an attempt to justify their actions.  But inside a voice cries out for truth and righteousness if we listen.  Breaking rules does not bring the peace of God nor satisfy the heart cry of our soul.  God’s loving and perfect laws are safe boundaries He designed that are kept and fulfilled only by the grace of God.

Lord, thank you for revealing our need for your salvation.  Help us to love the boundaries You have so wisely set in our lives.  May we resist the flesh and live lives for Your glory.

Truthful Tuesday: Temptation’s Opportunity

Photo Credits: vineoflife.wordpress.com

Photo Credits:
vineoflife.wordpress.com

Luke 4:13

“So when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until a more opportune time.”

1 Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

James 1:13-14

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”
Luke 22:40
On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”
Matthew 6:13
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
Romans 6:14
“For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.”

“The devil made me do it”.  “I couldn’t help myself”.  “I wanted to do it”.  Ever said similar things?  Mankind’s tendency is to rationalize why we do the things we do.  Paul understands.  He battled with the flesh, too, and left us excellent advice on the subject in the book of Romans.

The key is in the word, “battle”.  Many times we do not recognize that we are indeed in a battle, whether we want to be or not.  Doing nothing is doing something.  Resisting temptation is not enough when the forces of evil are seeking to plummet our walk with God.  Having a good offense and storing God’s Word as well as praising God in the midst are excellent tools to have in our arsenal, but we also must exercise our will by the grace of God in the midst of our moments of temptation.

I find it ironic that “Truthful Tuesday” was on my heart today, when my youngest child was writing the verse from Psalm 34:13 for me 100 times – “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies”.  Convincing my son that lying is not the solution to his problem with sin is a challenge.  Yet, just like his forefathers, he attempts to cover up his iniquity with excuses or falsehood.  We could never cover up all our transgressions nor face the temptations that come our way if it were not for the grace of God and the His covering of our sins by His own blood.

So who is to blame?  Certainly the enemy’s hand is ready to make us stumble.  Our own flesh,too, fully corrupt in its desires, is prone to influence us toward it’s will.  As humbling as it is to admit, we ourselves are deceived if we think we have triumphed over temptation.  It is not a once and done deal.  Hence the need for our dependence on God in relationship with Him.

When I was reading again of Christ’s victory over satan’s temptations, the words, “he departed from him until a  more opportune time” stood out to me.  Christ approached his temptation with fasting and prayer and overcame.  Yet his time of dealing with the evil one was not over.  He would undergo temptation to the point of sweating blood and deny self in every way, providing salvation for the entire world.  He was fully God and fully man and it was not easy.

In our culture, our goal can often be to take the easy route, to pursue comfort.  Such an endeavor is fertile ground for temptation to woo its victims.  Catering to the flesh fosters growth of that same flesh and will make it much more difficult to quiet its demands when tempation seizes its next opportunity.  We must never take the stance that we are done with temptation.  God’s salvation opened the door to our heart to discern sin, but we must be watchful and in prayer, so that we might continually be overcomers in Christ.

Lord, give us a holy fear to stay ever close to you.  Help us to recognize when we are being tempted and to flee all temptation, running to Your perfect arms.

Mundane Monday: Beautiful Death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colossians 2:6-10

“Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness 8 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, 10  and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”

Colossians 3:3-6

3 “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  4 When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. 5  So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. “

When we hear the words philosophy and tradition, what is our first reaction?  *Yawn*.  Well, to be honest, I confess I love to discuss deep thoughts and perspectives and to analyze why we do what we do.  Isn’t it a blessing to know, though, that being in Christ is not contingent upon recitations of sayings or following a set of rules?  No, our relationship with Christ is vibrant and full of life.

This invitation to the greatest adventure known at first blush does not sound very appealing.  Come, die.   Die to self, die to your former ways.  Until you discover the beauty in this death.  The freedom to walk away from sin and to invite God Himself to indwell us and to enable us to live for His glory.  Unparalleled joy, beyond comparison.

When we first die to our flesh, our flesh cries out, complaining about having to do so.  The argument about the Christian life being boring begins to try to tempt our souls that it is unbearable to have to discipline our flesh.  But wisdom reveals that our flesh is not our friend.

All the time wasted listening to our flesh crying out about what it wants, when the inner man longs for what is really our joy – time with Christ.  What joy was found in disobedience?  What grief and sorrow have been born from choosing to walk after the things of this world?  Seems hardly worth it now.

But time with Jesus is sweeter than any other vocation on this earth and satisfies our souls long after the temporary satisfaction of pleasing the flesh does.  This God of the universe chose to live in us!  That, my friend, is far more exhilarating than anything else this world has to offer.

Lord, help us to be filled with your joy when the world makes us feel like fools.  Whatever sacrifice we have offered pales in comparison to Your sacrifice and the greatness and privilege of walking with You.  

Thoughtful Thursday: Whose Fault Is It?

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Proverbs 11:5-6

“The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness.  The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires.”

Proverbs 12:12, 21

“The wicked person desires a stronghold, but the righteous root endures.  21 The righteous do not encounter any harm, but the wicked are filled with calamity.”

Genesis 4:7

“Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Romans 6:12-13

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.”

James 1:15

“Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.”

Jeremiah 19:5

“They have built places here for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind!”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.”


Daily we bear the sins of one another as well as our own.  In vanity we scramble to attempt to cover our shortcomings, but underneath is the same intent and heart.  In all the stress of our messy lives, a sinless Lamb covered all of the sins of the world and yet our hearts somehow still can blame Him.

Every day sin captivates mankind and every day the consequences of those sins are born and the blame is cast.  Sin ravages our souls and is often permitted to do so by the very ones whose lives it wreaks havoc upon.

A sane mind would not seek to suffer purposely, yet that is exactly what we do when we give in to sin’s deception.  God’s laws still stand whether or not we pay heed to them.  Like gravity, our decisions will affect the course of our life and the weight of sin will be felt, much like the joy experienced from the fruit of obedience.

God hates sin.  He hates what it does to us.  Our flesh hates the rules and boundaries set, thinking we are being deprived. All the while God wants to spare us from the spreading cancer which threatens to steal our joy and imprison us.

Time and time again throughout history God’s people are lured away by sin’s promises deceitfully dressed up in an attractive array.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.  How is it we cannot recognize the same strategies of the enemy and refrain from indulging our flesh?  Especially when we have seen in history the effects of sin on this weary world?

Deception.  Lust of the flesh.  Distrust.  Rebellion.  Self-reliance.  If in the moment of temptation we cry out to God, He will provide the grace and strength we need to overcome.  But all too often we don’t.  He makes a way out and we rationalize that our way seems better.  Or maybe we doubt God’s goodness or His ways and choose to be our own God.

While the prevalence of sin in our culture can be discouraging, there is still hope.  We can stop blaming others or God and put no confidence in our flesh.  We can turn away from sin and ask God to help us recognize it for what it is.  We are left without an excuse, but God forgives us anyway.  What kind of grace would choose to bear our blame?  Selfless, Holy grace – from the Only One Who can grant it.

Lord, help us to recognize sin in our lives and to turn away from it, the enemy of our souls.  Thank You for Your gracious covering and for setting us free!

Thoughtful Thursday: Illusive Discipline

Photo Credits: quotivee.com

Photo Credits:
quotivee.com

Proverbs 5:11-12, 23

11 “And at the end of your life you will groan when your flesh and your body are wasted away.  12 And you will say, “How I hated discipline! My heart spurned reproof!” 23 He will die because there was no discipline; because of the greatness of his folly he will reel.”

1 Timothy 4:7

“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”

1 Corinthians 9:27

“But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Our flesh despises discipline.  Routine is agony and seemingly inhibits freedom.  I have struggled for most of my adult life to be consistent in exercise, healthy eating and devotions.  Just when I thought I mastered one of these areas, I saw how woefully wrong I was.

We never arrive.  So what is the point of still trying?  It is in the trying, the persisting, the pressing on that character is formed, often unknowingly to the soul that seeks to follow God closely.

Discipline gets bad publicity.  It is seen as wrong in today’s society when applied to the parent/child relationship.  It might even be viewed as abusive to apply punishment for a wrong done.  Denying self seems brutal to many, too, because flesh is the god this world bows to.

Christ knew we would struggle to be disciplined, but He did not lower the bar.  He raised the bar and demonstrated a disciplined life, yielded to God.  We all prefer lavish grace – we are only human, after all.  But God expects more and so should we.  Lowering the bar because we are imperfect is not grace – it is laziness.

We would never accept a lackluster job performance for something we paid for, yet we expect forgiveness, mercy and understanding when we live our lives -which were bought at a high price – for self.  The dichotomy of our expectations and contributions brings us to a crisis.  A crisis of seeing God’s requirement and our inability to carry it out.  In that moment of realization, though, we see our need of Him to help us exercise our will toward righteousness and kingdom purposes.

Being disciplined is so very hard.  The flesh wars against our soul and is a pushy personality.  It wants what it wants – when it wants it. Paul understood this and battled against his flesh, too.  This is where victory lies – staying in the battle. When failure after failure pile up as witnesses against us, we rise again to battle, because the war is already won.  To give up is not an option – we are not defeated if we will only continue to deny the flesh and ask God to help us choose the disciplined path.

Lord, thank You for your grace.  Your laws and precepts are perfect and medicine to our soul.  What we perceive as discipline is what we really need.  Thank You for Your patience, LORD.  Help us to walk in victory, faithfully following Your decrees all for Your glory.

Worshipful Wednesday: The Fruit of Patience in God Alone

Patience

Psalm 62:1-2, 5-9

1b  “For God alone I patiently wait; he is the one who delivers me. 2 He alone is my protector and deliverer. He is my refuge; I will not be upended. 5 Patiently wait for God alone, my soul! For he is the one who gives me confidence. 6 He alone is my protector and deliverer. He is my refuge; I will not be upended. 7 God delivers me and exalts me; God is my strong protector and my shelter. 8 Trust in him at all times, you people! Pour out your hearts before him! God is our shelter! (Selah) 9 Men are nothing but a mere breath; human beings are unreliable. When they are weighed in the scales, all of them together are lighter than air.”

Our flesh does not want to wait.  It does not want to be inconvenienced.  It wants what it wants, when it wants it.  It is a well known phrase that we should not pray for patience, but pray or not, we will all be tested to see if we possess this attribute. Patience is hard, but truly a trait of a virtuous person. It is the ability to endure hardship or suffering with humility.  It is the setting of our will to look to God alone.  It is not merely surviving.  It is not thinking that we deserve better, but recognizing that we all suffer in this life and that our dependence on God is what will strengthen us and enable us through whatever life brings.

The Psalmist knew that waiting on God alone was where His deliverance lay.  David knew where his help came from – only One.  How often we run to other sources for comfort or an escape, only to find we are worse off than we were before. Vices and substitutes can never fulfill us like God can.  They can temporarily provide relief, but deep down our soul cries out for more.

Patience is needed during the trials of life but the reward for patience is well worth it.  Eternal rewards are certain, but God also grants us encouragements on this earth.  To be able to have confidence despite our circumstances is supernatural. To have peace when everything around us ignites fear is nothing short of astounding.  That is the heritage of those who patiently run to God for the answer to every dilemma.

Our hope is not found in an entity or a person, which both fail.  The sovereign God Who knows all is the only real hope we have.  How amazing that the God Who we insulted and sinned against delivers us and exalts us when we come to Him.  We are not worthy of such a reward, and yet He lavishes His love and kindness upon us.

The fruit of patience is beautiful in its full bloom.  It is not patience for patience sake.  It is a deep trust in God and gratitude in the face of harsh reality.  It is rest in the wake of any storm.  Considering what we truly deserve, we learn contentment through suffering.  We can acknowledge that the ugly side of life has usefulness for patiently producing righteousness in all who do not harden their heart with bitterness, but instead look to God in faith – waiting on Him alone.

Lord, help us to go to You alone while we are in the waiting room of life.  You are our hope, our ever-present joy.  In a sea of uncertainty, You are our firm anchor.  Help us to see where we are impatient.  Grant us patience in all walks of life and a quiet trust in You.