Romans 5:1. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 15:15-16. “But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23. “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When you fasted and mourned…was it actually for Me that you fasted? When you eat and drink, do you not eat for yourselves? Zechariah 7:5-6 NASB
As exiles in Babylon, the Jews faced overwhelming problems. In this seemingly hopeless situation, some sought God. Some even devoted themselves to fasting. They appeared to be sincere, but God knew their hearts and their real motivation. He knew they really just sought to please themselves and get praise from others.
God wanted them to know that they were not fooling Him. He knew they really did not care about Him or His Kingdom. They really did not desire purity or want to obey Him. They just were going through the motions and appearing to be religious. God would not honor their superficial, hypocritical actions. He wanted sincerity, hearts that were broken and lives that genuinely cared about Him.
He wanted people sold out for doing what was right, and putting their faith into action. People who demonstrated their faith, who “dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion,” who “do not oppress” or devise evil in their hearts against others (vs. 9-10).
The Bible makes it clear that God looks beyond our actions. In fact, He looks deep into our hearts to see our real motivation and true priorities. He isn’t moved by people who engage in religious activities just to impress others or appear spiritual. He wants people who genuinely love Him from a pure heart.
In your life, make a commitment to seek God. Fellowship with Him. Know His Word and put it into practice. Don’t be content with superficial Christianity or religious activities. Be sold out for God and His Kingdom.
Let God Be God
From: Ray Stedman.org
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.Ecclesiastes 3:14
How different this picture of life under the sovereign lordship of a living God is from what most people think God is like! A popular book for Christians on the topic of sex explains the truth that God has designed sex for pleasure. But it is not merely sex that is designed for pleasure; all things are designed for human pleasure. If you think a certain thing in and of itself is going to produce lasting pleasure, however, you will miss it. The secret is that it is the knowledge of God in that relationship that produces enjoyment. We are not in the grasp of the
Great Cosmic Joy Killer, as many people seem to view God. God delights in human enjoyment.
The Searcher says that all enjoyment must be discovered by realizing that God is in charge, and He will not bend His plan for anyone. God has sovereignly, independently, set up the plan of life in a way with which we cannot interfere. He has done so in order that people should revere Him.
All through the Bible we read,
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Until a person recognizes and trusts the superior wisdom of God, he or she has not begun to fear God. This fear is not abject terror of God; it is respect and honor for Him. If you attempt to live your life without the recognition of God, ultimately you will find yourself, as the Searcher found himself; empty, dissatisfied, and restless, feeling that life is miserable and meaningless. The secret of life is the presence of God Himself.
Most of the struggle of life comes from our wanting to play God ourselves, wanting to be in charge of what happens to us. That is true even of Christians. When God refuses to go along, we sulk and pout and get angry with Him. We throw away our faith and say,
What’s the use? I tried it, but it doesn’t work. What a foolish statement! God will not surrender His prerogatives.
Nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it—God has made it so in order that men should revere him.