“I have set the LORD always before me: Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”Psalm 16:8 KJV. For us to ‘set the Lord always before us’ means two specific things. First of all, it means that we keep Jesus Christ in a place where our focus is always upon Him. He is to be the One we are looking to and following. He is the One Who leads us, comforts us and protects us along life’s pathway. And we don’t just take an occasional glance at Him on Sunday morning, but we always keep our attention upon Him. Like the traveler following the star, we must always keep Jesus Christ before us, or we will go astray. But also, this means that we ‘set Him before us’ in regards to our choices and priorities in life. It means His will is more important than our will. It means what He desires is before our own desires. This is where so many go wrong in this watered down religious generation. They imagine that once they ‘believe’ in Jesus that everything is done. But the reality is, true belief starts us on a new path with a totally new priority in life. It is a choice to place Jesus Christ before me! And the wonderful thing is, when He is before us, we will be secure! When He is before us, we can sing ‘I shall not be, I shall not be moved’.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love…” Galatians 5:22 KJV. In this verse Paul writes about THE fruit of the Spirit. It is not ‘fruits’ as most imagine. It is THE fruit of divine love, which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in our hearts. The reality is, that every virtue, every good gift, every desirable quality, finds it’s value in love. Paul describes in 1 Corin. 13, how even the most desirable spiritual gifts are nothing without love. He reminds us that all of our good works are nothing without love. Nothing we do has any merit or value apart from love. God’s divine love in us is the root, the very life of all that is good, because His love is the greatest and most important thing of all! If we have God’s love in our hearts, we have the one thing that matters above all. But if we have everything else and lack love, then we have nothing. This is the great need in the Body of Christ today, to have God’s love working in us and flowing through our lives! Our human love will never be sufficient. May we humble ourselves and confess, this is the love we need. This is the fruit God seeks in His children.
“…by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Galatians 5:13-14 KJV. Every part of God’s moral law, in regards to how we treat our fellow man, is fulfilled when we truly love as we are called to do. This is true because love only does what is right and best. Love does not settle for what is good or decent, but seeks for what is best. Love does not lower itself to what is fun or easy, but always seeks for the spiritual and eternal best for those we love. Love is not selfish, putting our own desires ahead of other’s needs and spiritual well being. And so, when we truly love others with the love of God, we never do anything to harm them. We don’t lie to them, steal from them or gossip about them. We treat them how we want to be treated. We don’t pull them away from the things of God for lesser things. When God’s love is in our hearts we have the attitude of servants, desiring to please Him as we serve others in love. We do not think ourselves better than others. We don’t set out to prove our superiority. Love is humble. This life of love is the life every child of God is called to. Without this divine love working in us our life and the things we do will all be in vain.
“For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.” John 6:38 KJV. Jesus is stating here that His life as a Man, was not lived to do whatever His humanity desired. He did not live to please Himself as men do. He left the glories of Heaven, to come here for the purpose of doing His Father’s will in all things. But let us ask ourselves, who’s will and purpose are we accomplishing? Are we living to please ourselves or to do the will of God in all things? While Jesus came from Heaven to do His Father’s will, it seems that most today cannot leave the church house before they are set on doing their own will. In fact, most professing believers today do not even come to God’s house, usually because they are more interested in doing their own will than the Father’s. But we should realize, this is one of the distinguishing marks of a real Christian. We live to do God’s will! This is proof of the life and Spirit of Christ in us. We don’t try to obey God occasionally, but we seek to do His will all the time in all things. May God help us, to leave whatever we have to, to leave the life of self will, so we can do our Father’s will. Only in His will can we find the joy and peace our souls need.
“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” Psalm 12:5 KJV. These words remind us of God’s merciful attitude towards the poor and needy, as well as His attitude against those who are their adversaries. However, most of the blessing from these words is lost because we don’t like to acknowledge that spiritually, these words describe us. We are supposed to be those who are poor in spirit! We are supposed to be those who recognize our condition as needy souls. And it’s only when we humble ourselves like this that God will become our Protector and Defender. Most in religion today have become like the church at Laodicea. In their minds, they see themselves spiritually as, ‘rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing’. (Rev. 3:17) They despise the thought of being either ‘poor or needy’. But this is everyone of us when we are awakened to our true spiritual condition. On our own, we are spiritual paupers and in constant need of God’s help. But thank God when we humble ourselves to admit our need, He will rise up in our defense and keep our souls safe from those who would harm and try to destroy us.
“LORD, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble: Thou wilt prepare their heart, Thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” Psalm 10:17 KJV. What blessings God has in store for the humble souls who love and seek Him. In this world, the thought of humility is usually despised. Many children are taught from young ages that they should be proud, independent and not afraid to let others know about it. Sadly, that same attitude follows many into religion. In their pride they believe that God owes them good things. But the Bible makes it very clear, God will only hear the cry of the humble. Pride always places a barrier between us and God. But what a joy it is to know His ear is always open to the humble soul. So often in this life, the humble are ignored because they are not loud and pushy. It seems like a disadvantage on a human level to remain humble. People tell us, if we are humble we won’t be noticed or heard. But how different things are with God! While He turns away the proud, His eye is always on His humble children! He hears our cries and He knows the desires of our heart for Him!
“Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Thine hand: Forget not the humble.” Psalm 10:12 KJV. As the psalmist David considered the apparent prosperity of wicked and prideful men, his prayer rises up for the humble souls who truly seek God. He asks God not to forget them, because it often seems, on a human level, that they do not prosper as men of this world do. He sees that the prideful abuse and take advantage of the humble. But as God’s children, we can be very confident, our merciful Father will never forget His humble children! We should realize that many of the things we see now, are only an illusion. Prideful men are not truly prospering in the ways that matter. Their ill-gotten wealth and influence among men in this world, is only heaping to themselves greater punishment in the world to come. All of their boasting is ultimately in vain, because God said that He will resist the proud. But thank God, He never forgets the humble! James 4:6 reminds us, “He giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble”. Let us be those humble souls who God always watches over. He will not forget His own.
“When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?” John 5:6 KJV. As Jesus looked at the paralytic man by the pool of Bethesda, He asked this question that, on one level, seems very strange. Why would He ask a sick man if he wanted to be well, or a weak man if he wanted strength? But Jesus asked this question because He knew what was in man. He knows that many people have become so accustomed to being sick and weak, that they do not truly want the responsibilities that come with having normal health and strength. He knows that we become entrenched in certain behaviors and become unwilling to change. So the question comes to each of us today, “Do we truly desire the spiritual wholeness that Jesus offers?” Do we want to be one of those who enjoy the spiritual power and victory that He offers, or do we want to remain one of those who are the victim and an object of pity? Do we want the joy and peace that wholeness brings, or will we wallow in the misery of that old condition? This is a very searching question that Jesus asks each of us. May our glad response be, “Yes Lord, by Your power and grace I desire to made whole!” Because only then, will His power move in our lives as we need.
“For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you.” 2 Corinthians 13:4 KJV. The weakness mentioned here about Jesus was the voluntary weakness He accepted when He became Man. He freely gave His life on the cross. No man took it from Him. But then, thank God, the mighty resurrection power of God raised Him from the grave! And He lives forevermore to make intercession for us. And even though we all share in the weakness of the human condition, yet we have this exalted privilege, to have that same resurrection power work in us! Oh let us never forget, that we are not living this spiritual life by our own power. We don’t have to face the battles and struggles of life in our own strength. As redeemed children of God, raised by His divine power, we can live every day by that same power of God! What a joy this is, to know that the power of the Living God, dwells in us. What a comfort, to know we can truly live this life, as God intends, because we are living by His Almighty power.
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness…” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 KJV. In the verse before Paul is describing some kind of affliction he was struggling with, a ‘thorn in the flesh’, that was obviously bothering him. And being human, he wanted to get rid of it. He asked God on 3 occasions to remove it. But that was when he received this amazing word from the Lord, ‘My grace is sufficient’. From then on Paul realized, that God’s grace would be magnified in his life in such a way, that he could not only endure the affliction, but he could bring glory to God as a result! Many times in our lives we face afflictions or difficulties that we ask God to take away, or to deliver us from. And that is only normal. But the test comes when we realize it is not always God’s will to remove the problem, but to transform us in the midst of the problem. We often struggle to understand, that the difficulties of life give us greater opportunities to experience the riches and sufficiency of God’s grace. May we humble ourselves as Paul did, and accept God’s will, and then discover that the power of Christ will rest on us.