An Everyday Lift For Everyday Life
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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.
When reading the Bible, if you don’t experience both conviction and celebration, you’re not reading it correctly. On one hand, we should not ignore the places where God’s words challenge and correct the way we are living if we are disobedient to His commands. On the other hand, we should not isolate the places where God issues His commands so all we have is a list of “dos and don’ts.” A proper reading and understanding of the Bible should equip us to joyfully do as God intends and encourage us with all that Jesus has done, is doing and will do for us. His doing makes our doing possible and makes it worth it.
We live in a world that is full of exaggerations that routinely don’t live up to the expectations they create. People often make claims that misrepresent reality by making something seem bigger and better than it really is. While there are many stretches of the truth in the words of those around us, the Word of God is a reliable source of truth. Consider what it says about Jesus. The Bible does not over-state, over-hype, over-sell or over-promise on who Jesus is and what Jesus does. As infinitely perfect and infinitely great as He is spoken of in it, Jesus lives up to it. This is our expectation: He is as awesome as He seems to be.
We often hear one thing when God is saying another thing. We hear, “You can’t do that or have that or be that.” God is saying, “That is not good for you.” We hear, “You must do this or have this or be this.” God is saying, “This is good for you.” What we interpret as a restrictive rule, God intends to be a gracious guardrail. While we may think His commands are something that will rob us of joy, He is actually saying them because He knows they will safeguard our joy. Therefore, let us trust Him as we listen to Him. Remember, even when we hear God saying something we don’t like, He is actually saying, “I love you.”
We should never approve or applaud someone else’s sin. But we should also be a lot more gracious with other believers who live differently than we do. It can be helpful to remember that every one of us who is following Jesus does so at varying paces and is at varying places in that journey with Him. Not everyone will… Understand things like we do. Interpret things like we do. Practice things like we do. Rather than criticize others because they aren’t carbon copies of us, let us cheer on others to continue growing in the likeness of Jesus. None of us are as mature as we will be; but we’re also not as messy as we used to be.
In this world, we will have tribulation. Trouble has either already made its way into your life, or it is on its way. But… Jesus has overcome the world. His power is greater than our enemies, His sovereignty rules over our battles, His promises reside in our hearts, His forgiveness ensures our futures, His presence empowers our lives, and His grace provides for our needs. Though He doesn’t always remove the threats from our lives, He does render them powerless to do anything that would prevent us from joyfully enduring and prevailing in the end. Take heart! He didn’t get you this far just to get you this far.
Pride includes thinking and acting and speaking as if self is the source of everything good about who you are, what you have and what you do. Humility includes the opposite. It recognizes that we would be nothing good, have nothing good and do nothing good apart from the grace of God. We can know whether we are prideful or humble by whether we take credit ourselves or give it to God, take charge ourselves or trust in God, and take care of ourselves or rely on God. Today, let us humbly and joyfully praise Him for all that is good about ourselves and our lives, remembering this: If it’s good, it’s from God.
We need help every single day to wisely and safely and joyfully and productively keep going in life. And we will have every single day’s worth of help that we need to keep going in life because we have Jesus! He is gracious, so He is ready to help us. He is loving, so He is willing to help us. He is mighty, so He is able to help us. Ready. Willing. Able. His grace means we don’t have to earn His help, His love means we don’t have to pry His help, and His might means we don’t have to doubt His help. Be confident and courageous today knowing that no matter what comes your way, the help of Jesus is on the way.
Who God is and what God does is powerful enough for the entire universe and personal enough for you. He knows everything that is happening in the universe. He knows you. He sustains everything that is enduring in the universe. He sustains you. He guides everything that is staying on course in the universe. He guides you. He helps everything that is fulfilling its purpose in the universe. He helps you. He blesses everything that is enjoyed rightly in the universe. He blesses you. No matter what today brings, remember this wonderfully good news: God isn’t just out there somewhere; He is right there with you.