When I ask how she is doing, she says “just fine.”
When I get her to reveal she is in pain, she says “but that is ok.”
When she prays for those who need her prayers, she prays as if the prayers have already been answered.
You see, the woman I speak of knows hardship, but she also knows of the goodness of God. She knows adversity but she also knows she has The Lord to help her fight through it. She has experienced difficult circumstances but she has also seen God over and over deliver her to better circumstances.
How can this be?
She knows to be concerned with God’s desires, plans and kingdom more than her temporary discomforts.
Her faithfulness can be summed up in Habakkuk 3:17 “Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God. I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God’s rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I’m king of the mountain!” [the Message].
Ok, I have yet to see her turn cartwheels but I have witnessed her singing joyful praise to God at times when weaker Christians would cower and complain.
John Bevere says that if a believer is seeking to please The Father, then they will have discernment to please God. When a believer fears God, they are motivated to live a Godly life; they want to see the structure in life that will help them in their life decisions, whether the decisions involve career, relationships, finances, social opportunities or any other aspect of life. They are motivated “to cooperate with God’s grace to cleanse themselves from impurity.”
They are able to keep their eye on the main thing…
In my adult Sunday school class, I taught a lesson on Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments. We have all heard that in today’s world the Ten Commandments should be renamed the “ten suggestions.” Too often today we hear believers and even some pastors say that the New Testament idea of grace covers all our sins and we don’t have to worry about those nagging Commandments anymore. I am not sure Bevere would agree. Those commandments are still relevant today, they are a gift from God and if we pay attention to them, we won’t suffer. They are God sharing His wisdom with us to help us live a better life.
Jesus did not come to rid us of the commandments, He came to fulfill them. The Apostle Paul states in Romans 3:31 “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” Jesus states in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
New Testament Christians run the risk of living a life without boundaries if they think that grace covers all their sins and they don’t have to fear God and his Commandments. Romans 13: 8-10 states “Owe no one anything except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. The commandments ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet’ are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Keeping your eye on the main thing, fulfilling the law is to love one another.
Sounds simple, but too often in today’s world it seems so impossible to reach this goal. We get impatient and unkind to our neighbors. We are jealous and boastful. We are arrogant and rude. We avoid a fellow human who is different from us. We spread rumors and close our ears to those who provide evidence to our well-established ideas. We pout and pity ourselves. We issue ultimatums.
We must keep our eyes on the main thing.
Today it takes no grace whatsoever to live in peace with our brothers and sisters if they think and feel the same way we do. It is those times when people think differently from us that our grace is tested. Times when the easy thing to do is hate and the real test is to love.
Those times when it is best to be concerned with God’s desires, plans and kingdom more than our temporary discomforts.
Those times of discernment, when we prove to others that we really know The Lord…