A day spent purposefully, a day spent in bringing glory to God by doing good to others—this is a day that will bring pleasure, even as it brings fatigue, this is a day that will bring joy, even as it brings weariness. This is a day you can close by sleeping the sleep of the just, a day you can close with God’s promise fixed in your heart.
There are different kinds of tired. There are different kinds of weary. There are different kinds of fatigue that may overwhelm the body and overcome the mind as the sun sets, as the skies grow dark, as day gives way to evening and evening gives way to night. There are different kinds of fatigue because there are different ways you may spend a day.
You may spend a day in idleness, in procrastinating your tasks, in ignoring your responsibilities. You may spend a day in indolent selfishness, in giving yourself over to laziness, slothfulness, shiftlessness. You may come to the end of a day having accomplished nothing meaningful because you have attempted nothing meaningful, having performed nothing significant because you set out to undertake nothing significant.
At the close of such a day your mind will be cloudy, your eyes drowsy, your body heavy. But your heart will be uneasy and your conscience will be troubled, for you will have squandered a day.
You Might also like
By Scott Hubbard — 7 months ago
We live in a world with its own set of one-anothers: one-another brokenness, one-another enmity, one-another manipulation, one-another selfishness. And local churches exist to show a different way of life—a different Lord of life. This Lord reconciles us not only to himself, but to each other, creating one-another love out of one-another pain.
I sometimes think I could be very holy if, after doing my morning devotions, I just stayed in my room all day long. I find that patience, for example, comes easier by myself. Peace, too. I feel a general kindness and goodwill when I’m alone. I imagine myself ready to bear others’ burdens.
But then I leave my room and begin interacting with some of those “others” face to face. And before long, I wonder where my holiness went. Patience now feels fragile; peace goes on the retreat. My theoretical kindness finds itself unprepared for real annoyances, and my shoulders seem too weak for real burdens. People, it turns out, have an irritating way of poking the spiritual fruit on my table, only to reveal just how many of those apples and pears are plastic.
I might prefer holiness to be a more private affair, a halo that hangs over my solitary head. But “holiness,” John Stott helpfully reminds me, “is not a mystical condition experienced in relation to God but in isolation from human beings. You cannot be good in a vacuum, but only in the real world of people” (Message of Ephesians, 184). True holiness may begin between God and the soul, but it finds full expression in community with other people—other wonderful, glorious, frustrating, and sometimes offensive people.
Which explains why, again and again, the New Testament describes the authentically holy life using two simple words: “one another.”
Around fifty times in the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles tell us to feel, say, or do something to “one another.” We are to care for one another and bear with one another, honor one another and sing to one another, do good to one another and forgive one another. And then there is the grand, overarching, most-repeated one-another, the command that “binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14): “Love one another.”
The one-anothers do not exhaust our obligations to other Christians (many communal imperatives do not include the phrase “one another”), but together they offer a brilliant picture of life together under the lordship of Christ—and not only under the lordship of Christ, but also in the pattern of Christ. For, rightly grasped, the one-anothers are nothing less than the life of Christ at work in the people of Christ to glory of Christ.
Consider, for example, how even in a community-oriented passage like Colossians 3:12–17 (which includes three one-anothers), Paul can’t stop talking about Jesus. Our new character—compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient (verse 12)—reflects “the image of its creator,” Christ (verse 10). We forgive “as the Lord has forgiven [us]” (verse 13). Our unity reflects “the peace of Christ” (verse 15); our words flow from “the word of Christ” (verse 16). In fact, whatever we do in community, we do “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (verse 17). For here, “Christ is all, and in all” (verse 11).
The one-anothers, then, are earthly dramas of heavenly realities; they are the love of Christ played out on ten thousand stages. So, with this pattern in mind, we might fruitfully consider the one-anothers in five categories: have his mind, offer his welcome, speak his words, show his love, and give his grace.
1. Have His Mind
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count [one another] more significant than yourselves.(Philippians 2:3)
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.(1 Peter 5:5)
We might easily launch into the one-anothers wondering about all we should do for our brothers and sisters in Christ—and indeed, the one-anothers call us to do much. But before we say or do anything for one another, God calls us to feel something toward one another. “Have this mind among yourselves,” he says, “which is yours in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). And this mind, or attitude, can be captured in one word: humility.
It is possible—frighteningly possible, I’ve discovered—to externally “obey” the one-anothers with a mind utterly at odds with Christ. It’s possible to greet one another with a smile that hides bitterness; and encourage one another with a grasping, flattering heart; and bear one another’s burdens with a messiah complex. In other words, it is possible to turn the one-anothers into subtle servants of Master Self.
Humility, however, clothes us with the others-oriented attitude of Christ. Humility puts a pair of eyeglasses on the soul, allowing us to see others without the blurring of selfishness. And humility, in its own miniature way, follows the same descent Christ took when he “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death” (Philippians 2:8). It goes low to lift others high—and doesn’t scheme for how it might lift self too.
In a Spirit-filled community, we all (no matter how tall) look up at each other, not down; we jostle to kneel and hold the towel; we choose the seat of the last and the least—because we remember how Jesus did the same for us.
By Dr. David S. Steele — 6 months ago
Written by Dr. David S. Steele |
Wednesday, June 21, 2023
To the extent that we fail to find our happiness in God, we fail to glorify him. “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things…” (Deuteronomy 28:47, ESV). Indeed, the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
God is eternally happy. Over the past few days, we have been learning about the reality of God’s happiness and the reasons for God’s happiness. We conclude this brief study by focusing on our response to this happy God.
The Response to Our Happy God
I’m convinced that one of the biggest reasons that many followers of Christ are unhappy is that they fail to realize and embrace the biblical reality of God’s eternal happiness. Notice, then, four key responses to our happy God.
We Model after God by Striving for Happiness
George Müller was a happy and contented Christian man. He impacted the city of London in unprecedented ways. He said:
Above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord…It is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself.1
There is no need, therefore, to choose between happiness and holiness. We need to forever ditch this notion that has been popularized in the church and Christian circles. “If you keep my commandments, says Jesus, “you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:10-11, ESV).
When you live a holy life, you will experience firsthand what it means to be a happy person when you find your happiness in Christ (Ps. 37:4). John Piper adds, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” If we are called by God to reflect his glory, then it follows that we should be the happiest people on the planet. When we fail to be happy Christians, we misrepresent the God who is infinitely happy!
We Have the Privilege of Joining in the Same Happiness That God Enjoys
Moses asks God an important question that helps us understand the inner-workings of God: Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Exodus 33:18–19, ESV).
Daniel Fuller adds, “God’s glory consists in his goodness, that is, that he alone is both able and disposed to bring people made in his image, into the ultimate happiness of sharing with in his delight in his glory.”2
By Stanley D. Gale — 1 year ago
Written by Stanley D. Gale |
Sunday, October 23, 2022
For our part, though, we should be eager to forgive even before signs of repentance are forthcoming. Our private inclination should be to let go and to give grace. When and if we are given the opportunity in person, we should be ready to extend the forgiveness we have already fostered in our hearts. Freely we have received, freely we are to forgive.
While an accurate understanding of forgiveness can be discerned by studying the vocabulary found in Scripture, in another sense it takes sixty-six chapters to plumb the depths of forgiveness. Even then, we cannot fully comprehend it because we will grow in our understanding and appreciation as we study God’s Word and seek His wisdom for its application. One of the questions that relates to forgiving another has to do with the place of repentance as a requisite for granting that forgiveness.
“If He Repents, Forgive Him.”
Is hearing an expression of repentance by the offending party necessary for the granting of forgiveness by the one wronged? Can a debt of sin be canceled apart from recognition of some degree of remorse on the part of the offender? Should it be?
A pastor friend was wronged by another pastor, totally blindsided and slandered. My friend intended to pursue conciliatory efforts with the offending pastor but said this: “I forgive him and I pray that he will one day repent.” Is my friend putting the cart before the horse by forgiving without first hearing an expression of repentance and, in so doing, cheapening grace?
We want to form our opinions from the Word of God. A key passage to consider is found in Luke’s gospel: “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:3–4). Is our Lord laying out a requirement that we discern repentance before granting forgiveness?
It is safe to say that repentance is always to be desired when it comes to ownership of sin. All sin is first and foremost against God. Repentance accords sin its weight before a holy God. It also admits not only the wrong but acknowledges a degree of personal responsibility for the wrong and laments over it.
But is Jesus saying that we need to hear the actual words, “I repent,” or does He mean that we must always endeavor to somehow discern or elicit contrition before granting pardon? Or could it be that our Lord is not speaking of repentance so much as He is of return? The brother who was adversarial and moving away is now conciliatory to some degree and moving toward even if he has not fully acknowledged his sin.