"When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer." - Psalm 32:3-4
Our struggle with sin will not come to an end until either Christ returns or calls us home. In the meantime, day in and day out, we must wage war against our flesh. Yet, even despite our best efforts, we find ourselves still failing. And inevitably, we are filled with disappointment and guilt. And if we aren't careful, our response will be to hide our mistakes and cover them up. But what we find is that this doesn't help us at all; in fact, it does quite the opposite. David knew all too well what happened when he "kept silent" about his sin. Keeping his sin in the dark, covered up, only drained him all the more and rendered him highly susceptible to fumbling around in the sin he so desperately wanted to avoid. Real victory lies in us dragging out our sin into the light and getting honest about it with God.
Is there unconfessed sin in your life? Embrace His forgiveness today.
"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:33-34
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This common piece of advice is used in everything from car mechanics to family dynamics; from sports to politics. And if we are honest, it also describes our relationship with God. We don't seek help from God until we've tried everything else and are totally desperate. But the truth is: we're always desperate! Jesus' advice to his followers in these verses is to start from a point of dependence on God; seeking His plan (Kingdom) and His way (righteousness). Instead of working in your own power and worrying when you run out of it, try seeking His kingdom first. Put Him first in all things. Seek His direction for your walk and your witness. You will be amazed at what comes along with it.
What can you do today to remind yourself of your dependency on God?
"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all." Matthew 6:31-32
If you've ever watched even a single soap opera episode, chances are you have seen a case of amnesia. A traumatic event happens to an otherwise happy, successful person and he or she can no longer remember who they are and how they are connected with others. While (thankfully) this ailment seems infinitely more common on daytime television than real life, there is a parallel for us. In this passage, Jesus teaches us of the danger of spiritual amnesia: forgetting who we are in relationship to our heavenly Father. What distinguishes us from the world apart from Christ is nothing more than the grace of God that has transformed our lives and given us a new identity as His children. When we surrender to spiritual amnesia through worry, we also give up the opportunity to show a hurting world how knowing God our Father can change everything for them too.
What friend, family member or co-worker needs to see your confidence in your heavenly Father today?
"And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6:27-30
"Worry is practical atheism." I heard that phrase as a teenager and it has stuck with me ever since. These words from Jesus's 'Sermon on the Mount' are given to us to make the same point. When we worry about the future, we are exposing a lack of confidence in the only One in the universe who deserves perfect confidence: God Himself. If he has given clothing to plants and food to wild animals, how much more will He provide for His own children? When worry dominates us, it is because we have left God out of the equation of our lives and it can discredit our witness as followers of Jesus. The solution: we must repeatedly remind ourselves of His rightful place for His glory in our own lives and so that He can be made known through us.
What have you been putting your confidence in apart from God?
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.” - Philippians 4:4
Rejoicing in the victories of life is easy. Rejoicing in difficult times though seems like an oxymoron. Why would a person rejoice in the things that hinder life and even cause pain? This is not logical. But Paul here exhorts his readers that rejoicing in all things is a staple of a follower of Jesus. It is what they do. Jesus followers rejoice no matter the circumstance. It’s an unexplainable joy. The writer of Philippians, the Apostle Paul, was a great example of this truth. At time, his circumstances were not good; they were difficult. Here, Paul was in prison as he penned letter to the Philippians. When our circumstances define our joy or lack of joy, this should prove to us that we are not abiding in Him. Abide in God and allow Him to give you joy. He knows what He is doing in your life. He knows the future and we do not. Thank God that He can see tomorrow and because of that you can have joy. Tell Him you trust Him and be joyful today.
How do you battle the difficult times in your life?