[F]ollowing Jesus’ direction to “seek first the kingdom of God” is challenging. Our flesh cries out that THIS world is the most important. We want security, we want significance, we want to be loved no matter how we behave.
It’s surprising to some people to find that all these are things God gives us and yet we reject Him and rebel against Him because to enjoy these things that He gives us we must also humble ourselves (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6). We don’t like that we must humble ourselves before God.
Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. And as soon as Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. And they sent and called him, and Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came and said to Rehoboam, “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke on us, and we will serve you.” He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.
But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I want to blog, to write something encouraging; my heart wants to express things but I get tired from the mental work and the things that pull at me and chip at me. None of it is overwhelming, individually, but collectively it can be wit-dulling and energy-sapping.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,
and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26 – 27 ESV
Our church is studying what it means to be members of the church. Recent lessons are on unity within the church and building one another up. As I read the passage above I was struck by Paul’s command five verses later:
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Ephesians 4:31 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16 NASB
I can quickly forget how much I depend on God’s mercy, his goodness and lovingkindness. James gives direction on how to handle when someone is hurting or sick: come together, confess your faults and pray for one another (James 5:13-20).
Being in the company of other believing men, hearing them admit their weaknesses and confess their sins; all of us focusing on God’s goodness and His mercy helps remind me of my dependence on God’s goodness. I shouldn’t take the grace of God for granted.