Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29; Jeremiah 33:1–9; Philippians 2:12–18
I’m guilty. I’m guilty of not seeing God’s many blessings. God’s blessings have been more than I could count, granted, but I should count more of them. I was convicted by Jeremiah 33:9, “They will be in total awe at all the good and prosperity I provide for them.”
※ When was the last time you were awed by all the good and prosperity that God has provided? ※
If you’re like me, you could look at all our troubles and disagreements on race, (any) immigration, political party, president, COVID practices, and ask, “Good? Prosperity?” This is where we humans tend to get ourselves in trouble, especially when we evaluate God. Just saying “evaluate God” sounds unwise, doesn’t it? Yet, when we ask God, “why,” and don’t keep in mind the blessings, this is often exactly what we do.
※ Is your tendency to ask God, “Why”, before praising God?※
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Do everything without grumbling and arguing.” We’ve been pretty awful at that lately, as a nation. People of all political stripes and persuasion have developed a habit of ad hominem attacks (attacking individuals, not policy). The “gridlock” of Washington, D.C., will get far worse because of it. That, brothers and sisters, is where we come in.
※ Imagine responding to attacks on people with a grace-filled commentary on a policy. What would the response be? ※
This is not a blind hope that a “gentle answer will turn away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). There actually isn’t much expectation that Christians will change the tenor of conversation (although we’ve been some of the most guilty). Changing the general tenor isn’t our job, nor is it our responsibility. It is our tenor that is our responsibility.
The reason for keeping the blessings and prosperity in mind is that is a good way to cultivate our hearts to be warm and full of love, which allows us to respond in a Christ-honoring way. As they are God’s blessings and prosperity, they are not ours. Another way of saying it is that since it is God’s, we shouldn’t be holding onto what isn’t ours so tightly. Our responses to others need to be inspired and driven by the generosity and grace of God.
Before someone asks, “I’m to be a doormat?” No. Turning the other cheek refers to being insulted. Going the extra mile is acting above and beyond the requirements. As Paul phrased it, “Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life.”
※ If someone with whom you have strongly disagreed were asked, would you be described as gasoline on a fire or as a star in the world? ※
Lord, when you called Abraham to look at the stars, he saw a legacy of children. Help us, Lord, to not just to be a number amongst the stars, but to embody the light of the stars into a world darkened by sin. Amen.