3 Therefore do whatever they tell you, and observe it. But don’t do what they do, because they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They tie up heavy loads that are hard to carry[a] and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves aren’t willing to lift a finger to move them. Matthew 23:3-4 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
We have all been around them. People who can point to what needs to be done but are unwilling to do anything themselves. They can deliver an order but are unwilling to do the work themselves.
When we do nothing but put burdens upon others without being willing to assist with the lifting ourselves, people quickly cease to want to do anything for us. This because we are self-serving. We do not have a heart of service to others.
However, those with a servant’s heart, who are willing to lift as much as we are, for those we have the utmost respect. They do not ask for it, but it is freely given.
5 Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the Lord;
be assured,[a] he will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5 CSB)
Pride is one of those things that can be helpful or harmful. It is helpful when we are proud of our kids, or proud of things that those we love accomplish. It can be harmful when we consider our works and become overly proud.
Pride is most useful to us when we focus it outward and not inward.
When we begin to become proud in our hearts about our own accomplishments, rest assured it does not go unnoticed by God or man. This becomes pride misplaced with the wrong focus.
There cannot be a humble nature where self-pride exist.
2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV)
When we come to faith there is an initial desire to learn. As we do so, that appetite should grow and mature much like a baby who begins with milk and then grows into wanting solid food.
Much like in our careers, we must continually learn and grow in our knowledge and skills. With a Spiritual life too we need to dig into the Word to grow and mature. Through this gaining of Scriptural wisdom we are able to do away with all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. Essentially we learn to replace the darkness with the light.
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2 NIV)
When we realize we are fully forgiven by our belief and acceptance of Christ we become new. This does not mean that the old man does not try to win out over our new nature. It just means that our past, present and future failings are covered. Thus, Christ sacrifice means that our sins do not count against us.
This does not mean we have free reign to go and do as we please. No. Our nature should be changed and it should be said that our spirit is one that “has on deceit.” Meaning that we do not plan to do wrong things.
It means we have work to do. The work of the Spirit and we need to be loving on others.
13 “To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his. (Job 12:13 NIV)
When wisdom, power, counsel and understand are all in God’s hands why would we think that we needed anything more?
When we rely upon Him for everything all these things are ours. He sends His Spirit to be our guide. Living in us and providing all we need of these four key ingredients for life.
Yes, we can strive for man made wisdom (knowledge unapplied); man made power (taken not given); man made counsel (potentially unreliable); man made understanding (fallible at best).
When we rely upon man made things we lose out on the best God can give us.
10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 NIV)
When we strive to gain others approval we can quickly fall short. Not necessarily due to anything we did or did not do, but due to the fallibility of the human nature.
But when we strive first to gain God’s approval, human approval tends to fall into line. If we but seek first the Kingdom of God…
Better yet to be a servant, working to gain favor with God and man…
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)
Yesterday we looked at being called by name. Today we look at being called to a purpose.
Many times it is hard to see how all we are going through might be related. Things seem to happen arbitrarily and we can feel as though we are tossed about by the wind.
Nothing is further from the truth. All things work to God’s purpose in our lives. We may not be able to see that right now, but we will one day. We will know that we we had a divine purpose and we will be able to see how we did by that purpose.