32” Do not offend Jews or Greeks or any part of the church of God for that matter. 33 Consider my example: I strive to please all people in all my actions and words—but don’t think I am in this for myself—their rescued souls are the only profit.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 The Voice
I cringed a little when I read “do not offend anyone.” That sounds impossible! Some other versions read “do not give offense” or “do not cause others to stumble.” At first this really felt burdensome. This goes for both outside the church as well as inside the church.
Then as I read on to verse 33, I saw clarification. I realized I was looking at this through a people pleasing lens. It is impossible to please people all the time. If I look at it through the lens of God’s Word, I just have to stay true to that. Now that’s not always easy either! However, it is only possible to begin stepping in that direction if I let go of people pleasing. I have to use the ways of Jesus as the filter for my actions, not other people.
I have to look at people through the eyes of Jesus to see what they need. I have to look past behavior, choices, and circumstance. I have to simply look at a person’s heart. That is what Jesus did best. He looked at a person’s heart, diagnosed what they needed and met that need of their heart. Without fail, that was found pleasing to all who would receive Him. That is what it is always about: rescuing and transforming lives.
Father, help me to keep my kingdom glasses on as I look at people. Let me see everyone through Your eyes.
1”Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:1-3 NIV
When I read these words, I think of every minister, preacher, missionary, evangelist – every Christian — to be surrounded by people that walk and talk like Jesus because of their personal imprint on hearts around the globe as an incredible testimony! Wow. Think of all the people in the world, on our block, in our sphere. We have God’s mail we are supposed to deliver! This is why I always ask God to search my heart. I don’t trust my heart but I always trust His. His hand in my life can do things that I may not be able to see or touch or ever know about. It all counts for His kingdom. If others can simply see Him in me, He will do the rest.
Bless these words from You, Father, and make them a meditation of my heart. I praise Your Mighty Name! I praise Jesus, Your Son, the Name Above All Names! Make me into a living letter from Christ. Make me into Your image. His image. Continue to write Your words on my heart, Lord. Make me that vessel that Your living water can flow through freely.
16” Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good,22 reject every kind of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 NIV
Rejoice always: Our joy is full in God
Pray continuously: The more we pray, the more we are able to rejoice!
Give thanks in all circumstances: If we pray without ceasing, there will not be a shortage of thanksgiving
Do not quench the Spirit: Be mindful. Carnal lusts and affections and earthly things extinguish the voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Do not treat prophecies with contempt: We are to value the preaching, interpretation and application of God’s Word in our lives.
Test them all: We must not believe everything. We must be settled in God’s Word and hold fast to it.
Reject every kind of evil: Others will see the Truth in us if we maintain integrity and a pure heart.
Father God, search my heart. I repent for my hesitancy to step out in faith. Thank you for every perfect thing that You place in my path. Thank you for Your faithfulness. Thank you for Your grace and Your mercy. Thank you for Your patience with me as I learn to let go of more and more. Thank you for stretching me and preparing me, Father. Thank you for trusting me. Holy Spirit, be my guide. Be my love. Be my bright light in the darkness.
“Giving grows out of the heart—otherwise, you’ve reluctantly grumbled “yes” because you felt you had to or because you couldn’t say “no,” but this isn’t the way God wants it. For we know that “God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 The Voice
It all starts at the heart. Everything grows and springs forth out of our heart. Our words. Our motives. Our plans. Our intentions.
How can we learn to be content with what we have?
- View material goods as given by God to be used wisely
- Work hard to earn and save money
- Give to the Lord’s work and those in need
- Remember to be thankful and to enjoy what God gives
Lord, tend to my heart. Teach me how to be a good steward with every blessing that You give. Help me to use all things with a kingdom mindset.
”Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 1 Peter 2:1NIV
Malice: settled overgrown anger, retained until it inflames a man to design mischief; to do mischief or delight in any mischief that befalls another.
Deceit: flattery, falsehood and delusion which is a craftiness imposing upon another’s ignorance or weakness to his damage.
Hypocrisy: counterfeit piety; counterfeit friendship – those who give high complements that they do not believe, make promises which they never intend to perform or pretend friendship when mischief lies in their hearts.
Envy: grieving at the good and welfare of another, at their abilities, prosperity, fame, or successful labors.
Slander: detraction; speaking against another or defaming him.
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 1 Peter 2:2NIV
Salvation: the word of God, rightly used, does not leave a man as it finds him, but improves and makes him better.
3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2:3 NIV
Taste the Lord: grace is discovered by an experimental taste; there must be an immediate consumption of it. We cannot taste at a distance.
In order to taste grace we have to be united in Christ by faith. Through faith we taste God’s goodness in all our provision, our circumstances, our spiritual concerns, our fears and temptations. We do this by being in His Word and worshiping Him daily. When we “feed” on God’s Word we taste and experience His grace to the fullest.
Lord, help me to feed upon Your Word daily and put aside foolish things – malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. Help me to grow up in Your salvation.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 NIV
As I read this, it conjures up a picture of a super hero. But no! It’s a Proverbs 31 woman. This woman is a dynamo. She’s up early. She is a savvy business woman and manages the best of care for her family. I aspire to be like the Proverbs 31 woman.
This is an aspect of her that I have not thought much about. In strength and dignity, she can LAUGH at the days to come. Ha! Ha! Ha!
In order to laugh, there are a few things that she cannot be burdened with: worry, fear, doubt, confusion, anxiety, stress, uncertainty, gossip, comparison, insecurity. And I’m sure there are more.
This lighter burden and purified heart unleash this confident strength and dignity. It is confidence in a power much greater than herself. With that, she can laugh at days to come…
Lord, deposit laughter and joy deep into my heart!