As followers of Christ, we are to become living sacrifices. One way we do that is in our relationships with other people. We are to love, prefer, and do good to others even when they hurt us. An impossible calling, if we try to do it in our own strength!
Also, read about the danger of being lulled into complacency by the comforts and favor of worldly people.
Job 17 & 18
We’re closing in on two-thirds of the year gone and two-thirds of the Bible read! Congratulations to those of you who are still going!
But even if you just joined us, the Word of God is always profitable!
On to our Bible reading …
Verse 1 begins, “I beseech you therefore, …”
Paul is saying “therefore”—because of everything I’ve just told you in chapters 1-11, let these truths change the way you think and act. Then he goes on to tell us of some of the specific ways, our salvation should be lived out.
He begins by asking us to offer our bodies as “living sacrifices.” We’re called to sacrificial living.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (v. 1).
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality (vss. 10-13).
We’re to honor others and prefer them above ourselves, not with an “if I’ve got to” attitude, but “fervent in spirit”—enthusiastically, joyfully. This is something we should rejoice in doing out of gratitude for all Christ has done for us!
We should gladly serve the Lord, remain hopeful, believe the best of others, be patient when tempted to be impatient, be faithful in prayer, be a giver and show hospitality to others.
Verses 14 and following up the ante even more! We are to “bless those who persecute us” (v. 14), rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (v. 15), associate with people of humble means (v. 15) instead of always trying to move up on the social ladder (v. 16), not think too highly of ourselves or get the idea we have arrived (v. 16), and refuse to repay evil with evil but return good to the very one who has hurt us (vss. 17-21).
It’s a high calling—an impossible calling in our own strength.
But God never intended us to live the Christian life on our own. We were designed to live lives of dependency, dependent on Him and His Holy Spirit. We’re to connect to God in prayer, gain strength through Christ and His Word, the bread of life (Jn. 6.35), seek His wisdom when we lack (Jas. 1.2-8), and find refreshment and peace in His presence. When we do, we’ll understand what Jesus meant when He said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matt. 19.20).
Today’s Other Readings:
Job 17 & 18:
Stronger and Stronger
In chapter 17 Job seems sure he’s going to die soon. He grieves the fact that his friends have turned against him, adding insult to injury. But through it all, Job did not turn away from God!
We are left to wonder why God was silent, as He sometimes is in our lives, but, like Job, we must filter everything through the lens of Romans 8.28-29. While Job didn’t have the advantage of reading the book of Romans, he understood the truthfulness of those verses.
In verse 9 he makes this statement, “Yet the righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.” Sounds a little like Paul’s words:
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8.28-29).
“… those who love God …” (“the righteous”) will grow “… stronger and stronger …” (become more like Christ)!
The God of Our Lows and Our Highs
1 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is the great God,
And the great King above all gods.
4 In His hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the hills are His also.
5 The sea is His, for He made it;
And His hands formed the dry land.
We should sing and shout to the Lord, the Rock of our salvation! He is God and there is no other! As the psalmist said here, He alone is God. He is God over all other so-called gods. He is God of the “hills” and God of the “deep places.” He is God of our “valleys,” as well as, our “highs”! Praise His name forever!
The Inducements of Luxury
1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
2 And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
3 Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food.
We can be so easily lured by the inducements of luxury and ease or the company of “important” people! The devil doesn’t always need to get us off into some gross sin. All he has to do is get us comfortable or help us to enjoy the favor of wealthy, intelligent or influential people and then help us see how we might lose it, if we take a stand for the truth! It happens on university campuses, in the workplace, in the family, in our friendships, in the social world, and everywhere.
But Jesus said:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Lk. 9.23-24).
Lord, don’t let us be lulled into complacency by the comforts of this world and the favor of worldly people. Help us to have an eternal perspective, to hear your heartbeat, to live with an awareness of Your presence, and to desire to please You.
In the next few days, we’ll look at how speeding tickets relate to spiritual maturity and we’ll talk about encouraging, exhorting, and rebuking a brother or sister in Christ in a godly way. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
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