“Beyond all these things” (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness)”put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Colossians 3:14 NASB
Love. To love like God first loved us is a lifelong pursuit. Whenever I am feeling catty, harsh, impatient or critical, it really shifts things when I pause to think what God sees in me. And remember He loves me anyway. As I go through my day and sometimes feel like taking issue over getting the credit I think I deserve, or taking advantage of an opportunity to influence or control a situation, I have to pause and remember that God loves me so much that I do not need to try to manipulate or control to reach an outcome. It helps me to stay in that unselfish and uncontrolling place. He has a plan for me. He will guide me. God wants His saints to stand firm together. Not to ostracize or isolate each other. To be bound in unity. To stand together in His love.
Father God, help me stand firmly in unity and love.
“We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.” Romans 8:28 The Voice
If we are confident, we are able to rest in God. We will not worry about tomorrow. We will enjoy today and all that God has made. We will enjoy how He made us in His image. We will take our time. No need to rush. We will not look to others to make the way for us. We will be prepared to stand alone – firmly, confidently and grounded in God. He will be our provision and our anchor. We will keep our eyes on Him.
It is important that we are careful not to create idols out of things by becoming reliant on them for a reflection of success or performance. If we rest in God, we will hear His voice. A transforming and healing voice for broken hearts, sickness, disease, and addictions. He is the Mighty Chain Breaker. Freedom can be found in Him.
Father, help me to rest in You no matter what the circumstances. Help me to trust You fully, knowing that You want only the best for me.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” Hebrews 12: 11 NLT
I have been in storms. Just about every kind you can imagine: weather, emotional, relationship, work, family, and financial. None of them are “enjoyable.” I can say that after the storm is over, there is a big sigh of relief. The realization that the struggle has ended. Peace. Peace on the other side of the conflict or challenge.
The peaceful harvest in this verse refers to the fruit of righteousness that springs from faith on the other side of correction. As we practice our faith we will need correction on occasion. God loves us too much not to redirect us. However, we can count on the peace from the victory on the other side of it!
Father, please give me Your strength and wisdom to navigate through any struggle with Your grace and mercy.
“For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” Proverbs 2:10 NIV
In Hebrew, the word for wisdom here means experience and shrewdness. The word for knowledge means ability and discernment. When I examine that verse without God’s grace, it has a sharp edge of self-reliance. It could even go to a place of arrogance or over-intellectualizing. At its worst it could become predatory. However, when I look at it with God’s grace, it becomes a complete and total dependence on the Father. It is reliant on His wisdom and His knowledge, not mine. He is all knowing. Not me. Grace changed everything in this verse for me. God’s grace grants me mercy and compassion. Jesus died that I can experience God’s grace.
Father, thank you for Your grace. Wow, that takes a load off!
7 He holds success in store for the upright,he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.” Proverbs 2:7-9 NIV
So here is how it breaks down for me, In God:
Upright = success
Blameless = shielded
Just = course is guarded
Faithful = protected
After all these things we will understand every good path: what is right and fair and just.
Father, I pray that all these characteristics will operate fully in my life. I pray that I will walk upright and respect others who do as well. I pray that I will be blameless in all things, seeking to emulate Your character. I pray that my course, actions, behaviors and intent be just in all things. I pray that I will stand firm on your Word.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
God’s word describes love in a way that we can act on. It’s different than our culture looks at love. It’s strong and vibrant and selfless. It’s a mighty force to be reckoned with. Yet it is kind and gentle. I have found that it melts even the toughest and thickest walls around a heart. It is calm in a storm. It is peace in conflict. It is non-defensive in times of insecurity. It is confident and bold. I have really had to look at these principles in order to understand how to love in a healthy way. Loving without an expectation or outcome in mind. Not using it as a negotiation tool. It is generous without expecting anything in return. It is not used as a price of favor. For me, the perfect expression of love only exists in God. Everything else is a counterfeit. Counterfeit dilutes the truth. True love died on the cross for our sins, whether we accept it or not. This Love is ours for the taking, anytime anyplace.
Father, thank you for showing me such a selfless, divine, perfect love. Teach me how to love like You do.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV
Peace. Peaceful. That creates such a blissful picture in my mind. Then it occurs to me that such tranquility guards our heart. I had never put the two together before. It creates a safehouse around our heart and mind. In going through an ugly divorce 18 years ago, my goal was to guard my home and protect it. I wanted a peaceful home environment for my 3 year old and for myself. I longed and yearned for peace. That peace eventually came and it did protect my heart. Regardless of what has swirled around me over the years, my peaceful home has been a respite. A place of rest, renewal and restoration. God honored my heart’s desire for peace. Peace is the antidote to anxiety.
Thank you Lord for honoring my desire for peace and protecting my heart!