These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet he has now reconciled you in his fleshly body through death, in order to present you before him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. Colossians 1:21-22
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your uprightness as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:6-7A
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
An old man lived in the village. He was one of the most unfortunate people in the world. The whole village was tired of him, he was always gloomy, constantly complained and was always in a bad mood. The longer he lived, the more vile he became and the more poisonous were his words. People avoided him because his misfortune became contagious. It was very difficult and quite unnatural to be happy when near him. He created the feeling of unhappiness in others.
But one day, when he reached eighty years of age, an incredible thing happened. Instantly everyone heard the rumor, “The Old Man is happy today, he isn’t complaining about anything, he smiles, and even his face is freshened up.” The whole village gathered together. The old man was asked, “What happened to you?”
“Nothing special,” he answered. “Eighty years I've been chasing happiness, and it was useless. Then I decided to live without happiness and just enjoy life. That's why I'm happy.
It would seem that having a set of expectations for our lives and trying hard to realize them would be a good thing. Unfortunately, more often than not, this approach to life becomes counterproductive. We “expect” so intensely and try so hard, but end up exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Before we come to the point where we realize the claim God has on our lives, most of us go about living life for our own benefit. Our expectations and efforts are focused on realizing the ambitions and goals we have set for ourselves. Some experience success, some experience failure, and many are somewhere in between. There are few, regardless of the level of their success, that don’t become exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. When we come to the place where we realize God’s claim on our lives and we adopt a set of ambitions and goals more in keeping with our understanding of God’s intentions for His people, it is the same. There are few, regardless of the level of success, that don’t become exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
Even though the story above is not particularly a spiritual one, there is something that happens to the old man that is quite instructive for us. Somehow life goes better when we are not going at it so intensely and trying so hard to make it happen. All too often our struggle with life has much to do with the intensity of our expectations (spiritual or otherwise) and our trying so hard to see them come about. Make no mistake, God has great and wonderful intentions for the lives of His people, but those intentions are only truly realized through the personal impact of the living, resurrected Jesus. We must be very careful not to nullify the true meaning of the resurrection of Christ by bypassing our actual relationship with Him in favor of trying to fulfill on our own the intentions we think God has for us. Christ’s impact in our lives involves the inner experience of knowing Him, resting in Him, waiting on Him, and being filled with His peaceful and powerful presence. When we allow the living, resurrected Jesus to impact us in these ways, we can be sure that everything about us will be his doing and that genuine righteousness for us will prevail in the end.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I believe a truly righteous outcome for my life is my destiny because of your resurrection and the difference you are making in my life as my living, resurrected Savior. I choose to let you be my substitute for life just as you were my substitute on the cross. I know that genuine righteousness will prevail in the end because more and more my life is your doing as I increasingly surrender to you and the wonderful impact of your loving presence in my life. Amen!
Posted on Fri, April 21, 2017
by Ken Hart