Friday, February 25, 2011

No More Drama (Devotional for M2W)

'Make sure that no one repays wrong for wrong. But always strive to do what is right for each other and everyone else.'  1 Thessalonians 5:15
The book of 1 Thessalonians is the first letter that Paul wrote to the people of Thessalonica. In this particular chapter, (I encourage you to read it in it's entirety at your convenience.) Paul talks about what seperates us, people of the light, from non-believers, people of darkness. He, basically, gives us a rundown of how we should we should treat our leaders and how we should treat each other. One of the things he talks about is being patient with each other. He challenges us to be long suffering with each other and to do it in love.

The verse that I would like to pay special attention to, in this devotional, is the 15th verse. It's in this verse that Paul presents the greatest challenge for most of us, as believers. He tells us to not repay wrong for wrong and to do what is right for/to everyone. Have you ever noticed how it seems like the people that do the most wrong to you, are the same ones that need your help down the line. They talked about you, lied on you and to you, disclosed things about you that were said to them in confidence, stole from you, turned others against you, ect. And now....they need you. And guess what.... God requires that you not hold the wrong that was done to you against them and lend your hand to help them.

I can't tell you how many times I've been presented with this challenge. I can't tell you how many times I've asked God why he would allow them to call on me for help knowing the wrong they've done to me. And God's answer is always the same.....'This is how you will show them who I am.' Anybody can quote scripture and use scripture to tell someone else how wrong they are. But God wants us to be doers and not just hearers of the word. It is our actions that change hearts and lead people to Christ. The Bible says, 'Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven.'~Matthew 5:16

A lot of us say that we want to be drama free. We declare almost every week that we are done with the drama of our lives. And yet....every other week we find ourselves right back in a personal soap opera. I challenge you to think about how much of the drama in your life could be avoided if you just made up in your mind that you are done repaying wrong for wrong....that you are done hurting people as a reaction to them hurting you. Think about this: The drama in your life does damage to your witness. Ain't nobody interested in hearing about the God you serve when your life looks like never ending episode of All My Children for all to see. When we engage in the exchanging of wrong for wrong, hurt for hurt, evil for evil....that is exactly what our lives look like, a dramatic mess.

You can't control what people do to you or how people treat you. But you can control how you respond and how you treat them. In fact, God requires that you do control how you treat them. He requires that we don't repay them wrong for the wrong they've done to us. We are the light of the world. He requires that we let our light shine so that he may get the glory.

Be blessed =)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Choice to Die...Daily (Devotional for M2W)

One of the many phrases I, often, hear tossed around among Christians is the idea of 'dying to the flesh'. For years and years I've heard it tossed around, but it wasn't until recently...when God started dealing with me on a personal level about 'dying to my flesh' that I really began thinking about what it really means and how my neglect of it has impacted my ability to function in ministry the way God intends.
At the very beginning of our Christian walks, when we first accepted Christ as our Savior, most of us were baptised. That baptism was symbolic of the choice we made to deny ourselves or die in the flesh and be reborn in the spirit. One thing that we must realize, though, is that this 'fleshly death' is not a one time thing. Rather, it is our responsibility, as servants of God, to crucify our flesh on a daily basis. Why is this necessary day after day? Paul said it best... 'For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want.' ~Galatians 5:17. Let me just make it plain... Your flesh and the spirit of God are not on the same page, never was on the same page, and never will be. Since our flesh does not agree with the spirit, it is our flesh that must be sacrificed so that we may operate in the spirit. This is especially important when it comes to operating in ministry. We don't move in steps that are ordered by God when our flesh is governing our actions.
The Bible says in John 3:30 that 'He must increase, but I must decrease.' Less of me, more of him....we should be living our lives, daily, with that in mind. It's not easy. It means that you won't be able to go all the places you used to go, hang with all the people you used to hang with, participate in all the activities you used to participate in, or even listen to all the music you used to listen to. Needless to say, it's a complete lifestyle change. I'll be the first to admit that I mess it up more than I get it right. But I thank God that with every new day comes brand new mercies. 
If it is our goal to function in ministry according to the will of God, we need to, daily, go through the process of purging ourselves of pride, self-will, and all the other things that cause us think of ourselves first and God somewhere after that. Our wills must yield to his will. When we hold ourselves accountable to doing this everyday, humility develops and our faith is strengthened. We are, then, able to be used by God the way he has purposed. Make the choice to die to your flesh today and everyday.

Be blessed =)