Thursday, December 29, 2022

Waking In Love - Love Is Not Envious

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up."
1 Corinthians 13:4 (NKJV)

Envy is defined as an awareness of an advantage of some kind that someone else has, and the desire to possess it.  This "advantage" could be some material thing, or it could be a position that another person has, or some favor that was shown towards someone else.  Often, envy and jealousy are seen as the same thing, although not everyone might agree with that.  The point is that when someone has, or is doing, something that you are not, and you wish you had what they had, that is envy.

In Galatians 5:21, we are told that envy is a work of the flesh, 1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us that love does not envy, and Romans 5:5 says that the love of God is in our hearts.  From these verses we can see that if we have envy over something that someone else has, it is something coming from the flesh, from our natural desires, and not from the love of God that is in us.  If we are envious about something, it shows us that we are being motivated by the wrong desires and looking to the natural rather than the spiritual side of life.

If we are envious, then we are focusing on the wrong thing, and instead of trusting in God and what He can do for us, we are comparing ourselves to others and giving in to the idea that somehow someone has some advantage over us.  God loves us and if we put our faith in Him then He will supply whatever we may need, just as much as He has done for anyone else, so there is no reason for us to envy or covet what someone else has.  We need to walk in love and be glad for the good things we see in the lives of others.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Who Identified You?

"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,"
Hebrews 11:24-25 (NKJV)

Everyone has a way that they are identified, and usually that identification is done using your name.  Normally your name is something you are given by your parents.  Sometimes, a person may use a different name or get a nickname from someone, but it is your actual, legal name, that you have to use to be correctly identified.  No matter what other people may call you, or how someone may refer to you, you have to use your actual name to identify yourself and to do business.

While our natural identity is important, our spiritual identity in Christ is more important.  Hebrews 11 gives us an example of this as it tells us that Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.  Naturally, in his situation of being raised by Pharaoh's daughter, many people probably referred to Moses in that way, but that is not how Moses identified himself.  Moses identified with the people of Israel, God's people, although it would have been easier in some ways to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

Our identification as a child of God is vital to living in the reality of what Jesus has done for us, and in fulfilling the will of God.  It does not matter how other people may have identified us, or what they have called us, we need to find out how God has identified us and focus on that.  For example, God has identified us as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21), and more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).  Don't let others define you or just accept what others have said about you, and believe that is the way it has to be.  No matter what others may say about you, identify with who you are in Christ.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Brighter Or Dimmer?

"The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple."
Psalm 119:130 (NKJV)

Some lights have an adjustment on them that allows you to make the light shine brighter, or you can turn the light down to make things dimmer.  Usually, people want more light rather than less, especially if they want to have a good view of what they are looking at, or even if they are reading something.  If the light is dim, then you need to increase the amount of light that is being generated.  By turning the light down, or even turning it off, you would have less light available, and that could be a problem.

In the Bible, light is often associated with understanding, as we see in Psalm 119:130.  God's Word gives us light; God's Word gives us understanding.  If we looked at this in the opposite way, so to speak, you could say that not having God's Word means you do not have light or understanding.  There are many things you can read, hear, or study, but if those things are not based on God's Word, you would actually be reducing the amount of true light and understanding that you have

Without the light and understanding of God's Word, and continually being in that light, and also increasing the light, we are really in the dark and in danger of our understanding being diminished.  There are a lot of things someone could learn about that would bring knowledge, and even some wisdom, but it is God's Word that gives us the light and understanding we need to recognize what is true and false, to live the life God has called us to live, and do the things that God has called us to do.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Living In The Present

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

Everyone understands the concepts of past, present, and future, at least in theory.  These things are not so difficult to understand, but if somehow someone would get confused about these things, they would have a bigger problem than just a mistake of grammar.  The past is what has already happened, the present is what is happening now, and the future deals with what will happen later.  While it may be nice to remember the past, or dream about the future, we live in the present; we do not live in the past or in the future.

Paul gave us some great, godly wisdom in Philippians 3 when he wrote about forgetting the past and reaching forward towards the goal of the call of God in Christ Jesus.  Paul could have thought about his past and the mistakes he made, or even about how he had achieved the position of a Pharisee.  But Paul knew that to move forward in the call of God for his life, he had to leave the past behind.  This is true for all of us as well, because God has a plan, a call, for each of us, and to fulfill that call we must leave the past behind.

And while Paul talked about forgetting the past and reaching forward to what God had for his future, Paul knew that just focusing on the future and not living in the present would not work either.  If all we would do is think about the great possibilities of the future, we would not get much done in the present.  Yes, remember the good things and victories of the past and dream about the bright future you have with God, but be sure to do what God is calling you to do and be a doer of the Word, today, because we live in the present, not the past or the future.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

It's Not So Strange After All

"Beloved, do not think it is strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy."
1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)

Have you ever watched a show on television or seen something in a movie and thought, "Wow, what a great life that person has"?  There may have been something about that person or their life that you really liked and wished you could be like that.  The problem is that television shows and movies are not reality!  In the real world, things are not always so storybook perfect.  Life can be difficult at times, and what we see portrayed on television and in movies is not always a true depiction of life.

When Peter wrote his first letter, there was a lot of persecution going on and Christians were even being killed for their beliefs.  Peter wrote to encourage those believers and reminded them that what was happening was not some strange thing, but trials are something that everyone will face in life.  While we may not be threatened by someone who wants to kill us for our beliefs, because we are living in this world we will face challenges, and as Christians, our enemy, the devil will do everything he can to stir up problems in our life.

Some Christians seem to think that you can get to a point in your spiritual development where you never have any problems and everything will always go smoothly.  Unfortunately, that is not reality.  The good news is that God gives us a way to successfully deal with the problems we face  So when trouble comes, and it will come, don't just talk about the problems, be ready to stand in faith on God's Word, saying what God's Word says about your situation.  Trouble and trials will come, but with God on our side we can always be victorious!