Has it ever dawned on you that you are responsible spiritually to God for other people? For instance, if I allow any turning away from God in my private life, everyone around me suffers. We “sit together in the heavenly places . . .” (Ephesians 2:6). “If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it . . .” (1 Corinthians 12:26). If you allow physical selfishness, mental carelessness, moral insensitivity, or spiritual weakness, everyone in contact with you will suffer. But you ask, “Who is sufficient to be able to live up to such a lofty standard?” “Our sufficiency is from God . . .” and God alone (2 Corinthians 3:5).
“You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). How many of us are willing to spend every bit of our nervous, mental, moral, and spiritual energy for Jesus Christ? That is what God means when He uses the wordwitness. But it takes time, so be patient with yourself. Why has God left us on the earth? Is it simply to be saved and sanctified? No, it is to be at work in service to Him. Am I willing to be broken bread and poured-out wine for Him? Am I willing to be of no value to this age or this life except for one purpose and one alone— to be used to disciple men and women to the Lord Jesus Christ. My life of service to God is the way I say “thank you” to Him for His inexpressibly wonderful salvation. Remember, it is quite possible for God to set any of us aside if we refuse to be of service to Him— “. . . lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Fret not thyself (Psalms 37:1).
From: Streams In The Desert
Do not get into a perilous heat about things. If ever heat were justified, it was surely justified in the circumstances outlined in the Psalm. Evil-doers were moving about clothed in purple and fine linen, and faring sumptuously every day. “Workers of iniquity” were climbing into the supreme places of power, and were tyrannizing their less fortunate brethren. Sinful men and women were stalking through the land in the pride of life and basking in the light and comfort of great prosperity, and good men were becoming heated and fretful.
“Fret not thyself.” Do not get unduly heated! Keep cool! Even in a good cause, fretfulness is not a wise help-meet. Fretting only heats the bearings; it does not generate the steam. It is no help to a train for the axles to get hot; their heat is only a hindrance. When the axles get heated, it is because of unnecessary friction; dry surfaces are grinding together, which ought to be kept in smooth co-operation by a delicate cushion of oil.
And is it not a suggestive fact that this word “fret” is closely akin to the word “friction,” and is an indication of absence of the anointing oil of the grace of God? In fretfulness, a little bit of grit gets into the bearings–some slight disappointment, some ingratitude, some discourtesy–and the smooth working of the life is checked. Friction begets heat; and with the heat, most dangerous conditions are created.
Do not let thy bearings get hot. Let the oil of the Lord keep thee cool, lest by reason of an unholy heat thou be reckoned among the evil-doers.
–The Silver Lining
Dear restless heart, be still; don’t fret and worry so;
God has a thousand ways His love and help to show;
Just trust, and trust, and trust, until His will you know.
Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile,
His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.
Dear restless heart, be brave; don’t moan and sorrow so,
He hath a meaning kind in chilly winds that blow;
Just hope, and hope, and hope, until you braver grow.
Dear restless heart, repose upon His breast this hour,
His grace is strength and life, His love is bloom and flower;
Just rest, and rest, and rest, within His tender power.
Dear restless heart, be still! Don’t struggle to be free;
God’s life is in your life, from Him you may not flee;
Just pray, and pray, and pray, till you have faith to see.
–Edith Willis Linn
|When We Belong to Jesus
“‘For your Maker is your husband — the LORD Almighty is his name — the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit — a wife who married young, only to be rejected,’ says your God.” Isaiah 54:5-6 (NIV)
We had what felt like a storybook Christian romance. Mike was tall, dark and handsome. He had a successful business and he loved Jesus. But to top it all off, instead of asking me for a date, Mike asked if we could “court.”
Our lives were connected on so many levels. We lived on the same floor of the same apartment complex. We attended the same church. And we had several mutual friends. We loved when people told us we made a great couple, in life and in ministry.
Eventually we started praying about marriage and talked to our pastor. Not long after, Mike proposed.
But two weeks into our engagement he looked into my eyes and said: “I’ve made a horrible mistake. You are not the one God wants me to marry.”
I was devastated and wondered what I’d done to make God change His mind.
After counseling and walking through a painful process of forgiveness, I eventually recovered. Much to my surprise, Mike showed back up in my life and asked me to consider rebuilding our friendship.
I was shocked and hesitant. But I also wondered if God wanted to redeem our story. Eventually I gave Mike a second chance. We spent time with friends and took things slowly. But in time, the topic of marriage came up. He proposed again. And he dumped me again!
That time I got smart and kept the ring, holding it as collateral to get Mike to counseling with me. In our first session, the counselor explained that Mike had a fear of commitment. Having a name for it helped me feel better, but Mike felt embarrassed and ashamed.
One night I woke up with a deep sense of concern for him, so I drove to his apartment. Sitting in the parking lot, I felt compelled to get in his van and pray for him. Afterwards I opened my eyes and noticed his journal sitting on the console.
Though I shouldn’t have opened it, I turned to the entries he had written when he called off our engagement. I came face-to-face with why he didn’t want to marry. There were many things about me he wished were different.
After reading Mike’s journal, every time I stood in front of a mirror, doubt whispered: No man will ever want you. You’ll never be good enough.
Rejection. Betrayal. Abandonment. Our greatest fears can become reality. Maybe your father abandoned you, or your husband betrayed you. Maybe your best friend broke your trust, or your teenager has shut you out.
The deep pain from broken relationships can make us doubt our value. We begin to see ourselves as disposable. Easily replaced. Not good enough.
One morning, I woke up and felt the heavy weight of rejection. Opening my Bible, I read through the book of Isaiah and landed in chapter 54. There, God showed me He is my Maker, Husband and Redeemer – the One who bestows the honor and acceptance I long for.
As devastating as it was, I learned two life-changing lessons from the pain:
• I have to choose to separate myself, and my worth, from a man’s decision to want me or not.
• I have to hold others’ words and preferences up to God’s Word and choose which one I will rely on.
Although people’s preferences will change, God’s desire for us won’t. Others might not think we’re good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don’t desire us anymore, God most certainly does!
The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!
Lord, I want to know and rely on the love You have for me and live in Your love. Remind me each day that Your goodness makes me good enough! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.