An Everyday Lift For Everyday Life
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A heart that worships God strives by grace to put God at the heart of everything else. We increasingly, though imperfectly, want Him to become the center of what, when, where, why and how we do what we do. Our adoration of Him overflows into allegiance to Him. Our gladness in Him leads us to do what will glorify Him. Our love for Him compels us to live for Him. Worship changes how we think about our time, money, relationships, priorities and life purpose, and how we carry out the plans of God for us concerning these things. May God produce in us today both a delight to praise Him and a desire to please Him.
Freedom is always from something and to something else. If you are trusting in Jesus, He has set you free from a life of shame, regret, joylessness, emptiness, addictions, fear, pride, doubt, lusts, sin and eternal death at the end. And He has set you free to a life of honor, joy, contentment, victory, humility, security, faith, peace, hope, love and eternal life at the end. You are free from sin’s cruel rule to be happy in Jesus now and forever! To experience His freedom, simply abide in His words, depend upon His Spirit and feel His presence with you. Today, don’t live as if you are still in chains. You have been set free.
The world wants us to make small things big and big things small. It wants small fears to rule our hearts, petty disagreements to sabotage our relationships, and trivial matters to dominate our schedules. It wants the seriousness of sin to be downplayed, the importance of living for eternity to be minimized, and the amazing availability and role of God’s grace in our everyday lives to be underestimated. But, praise God, we don’t have to live like that! Jesus has redeemed us from a life of smallness and sinfulness so we can live for bigger and better things. Today, by grace, let us keep big things big and small things small.
There are two basic kinds of help. First, there is help for things I can do without you. Second, there is help for things I cannot do without you. I can lift a cumbersome box by myself, but your help would make it easier. I cannot lift a couch by myself, so your help would make it possible. As branches to the vine, we only receive the second kind of help from Jesus. He helps us do things that we could not do apart from Him (John 15:5): bear fruit, do good, live rightly, have faith, glorify God, persevere, experience His joy, everything. His help doesn’t just make these things easier. His help makes these things possible.
So often we don’t know what is right to do, haven’t got the desire to do what we know, and can’t do what we know and want to do that is right. We need a power from outside of us to come inside of us so we can live in such a way that God is honored and we are happy. That is exactly what God gives us: the powerful Holy Spirit living in each of us who trust in Jesus. He guides us on the way. He encourages us on the way. He helps us on the way. The Holy Spirit makes it possible for us to go to good places to do good things as we share good news about a good God. Ask Him to help you decide, desire and do what is right today.
What is going on? Why is this happening? When will it be over? Where is God in all of this? Life may not be working out the way we hoped it would or wanted it to, but God is doing a thousand things for us today even if we don’t have our spiritual eyes locked in on any of them. Our experience may seem pointless and be painful, but we can be confident that He is walking with us and working for us. We don’t have to make sense out of everything that is going on or that we are going through; but we do need to trust that God is tirelessly at work in ways that would make sense if we knew all that He knows.
Let’s be honest: It’s tempting to quit doing good in this world when the good we do is not noticed by others, appreciated by others, reciprocated by others or supported by others. Yet, we must remember that none of this is the reason why we do good in the first place. We do good because God has been good to us, is being good to us and will continue to be good to us forevermore. It is His image that we show to the world when we let our lights shine, so that He might be glorified. What a wonderful reminder for today: God is good, and we get to make Him look good, when we do good in His Name.
As we trust Jesus to come through for us, we will be filled with peace when we’re running low, renewed with spiritual energy when we’re running out, helped through difficulty when we’re running down, and kept steadfast when we feel like running away. This is our hope in Jesus: the best is yet to come. Let us believe it, expect it, anticipate it and await it to come true. Let us watch for the daily doses of His grace to appear when we need them. And let us regard the eternal pleasure of heaven with Him as something wonderful on the calendar that is certain to come at the appointed time. Because it is. Because it will.
Many people strive to look stylish, look good and look fit. And while the Bible emphasizes modesty and simplicity for believers, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t value our outward appearance as well. However, it is important that we value who we are more than what we look like. We should focus more attention on our hearts than our hair, our minds than our makeup, our character than our clothes, and our personhood than our physiques. By grace, let us pursue becoming who we were made to be, knowing… Godly character is in style within us. Morals look good on us. Christlikeness is a nice fit for us.
Every day there is a tug-of-war for your thoughts, feelings, motives, attitudes, words and actions, pulling you in the opposing directions of what sin entices you into and what God invites you into. Look to Jesus for help and look for His help to arrive as a way to leave the temptation, the power to say “no” to the temptation, a divine removal of the temptation, the arrival of someone to help you through the temptation, and / or a promise of something worth waiting for that is better than the temptation. Rejoice! You are never helpless against temptation for there is a throne of grace you can run to for help.
There is much I love about my heavenly Father. One thing is this: He doesn’t just let me do anything I want to do. He knows that there are many things I want to do which are not good for me or for other people. So, instead of letting me live selfishly, He removes some things from me in order to replace them with better things. His plans for my plans. His ways for my ways. His outcomes for my outcomes. The result isn’t that I experience less, but that I experience more. More peace. More joy. More hope. More purpose. Remember, when God says “No,” to something, He is saying “Yes” to something better.