Today’s Bible Reading: Isaiah 54-57:14; Ephesians 6:1-24; Psalm 70:1-5; Proverbs 24:8
God offers everyone the very best of everything. But to obtain it one has to be “thirsty” (Isaiah 55:1). If we satisfy ourselves with the things that the world has to offer we won’t have a thirst for God. And that is sad because what God has to offer far exceeds anything we can find in this world (Isaiah 55:2). The world offers satisfactions that are temporary at best. God offers life (Isaiah 55:3).
The reason for this is we don’t think or act like God (Isaiah 55:8). We think we know what we’re doing, but we don’t. One of my favorite quotes is:
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and hitting our mark.” – Michelangelo
God has so much more planned for us than we could even imagine. The things He wants us to have are beyond great. Yet we settle for what the human mind determines is good.
One of the most comforting passages in all of Scripture is Isaiah 55 in which God reaches out to those who don’t fit into society and promises that they are not beyond His blessing (Isaiah 55:3-8). God welcomes anyone with open arms no matter where they are in life if they commit themselves to Him. But note that God is going to work on changing us once we do. As a former pastor of mine used to say “God loves us right where we are. But He loves us too much to leave us there.”
The reason people don’t commit themselves to God is they don’t want to give up their sin. They think their ways are better than God’s ways. But this is not true. No matter who you are – male/female, gay/straight, young/old, asian/latino/black/white… God wants to bless you. And He wants to give you so much more than you can imagine. But you have to be willing to give up yourself.
Paul continues discussing relationships today in Ephesians 6. Children should obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1). This command comes with a promise – things will go well if we do. This is true throughout our life. Even as adults we are still children (if one or more of our parents is alive). We should continue to honor them as long as they live.
In verse 4 we see more evidence that God commands fathers to teach their children about God. Men will be held accountable for the spiritual health of their children. They should not leave it up to the youth pastor or, worse, to the child himself. People need to be “trained” to live a life that is pleasing to God. It does not come naturally.
Employees should serve their employers with honesty and enthusiasm. If one is a Christian then in reality he is working for God who sees all that we are doing and will reward us (Ephesians 6:7-8). Employers should remember that they too are being watched (Ephesians 6:9).
We are all involved in many different relationships – familial, professional, etc – and in any relationship there will be disagreement. But we must remember that our enemy is not other people. Our enemy is Satan (Ephesians 6:12). One of Satan most successful tactics is to disrupt relationships.
God gives Christians many tools to fight Satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6:11-17) which are described in term of military armor. Notice that we need to put on “every piece” of this armor. If we neglect even one of these items we are susceptible to Satan who will attack us at our most vulnerable spot.
One thing we must do as Christians is stand our ground. This does not mean being rude or intolerant of other’s opinions. But it does mean not caving in when someone attacks our faith. It means not being willing to give up ground even when we can’t advance God’s kingdom. We do this by knowing the truth and by standing firmly rooted in peace.
The belt of truth, the armor of God’s righteousness (note: not our righteousness) and the shoes of peace are physically attached to our body. They should be part of who we are and how we live. Our character should reflect these virtues always. The only offensive weapon in our arsenal is the Word of God which has the power to cut through any lie, objection, or misconception that anyone may raise. Therefore, we must know what the Bible says.
Finally, all of these things will do us no good if we don’t pray (Ephesians 6:18). We should pray at all times for others, but certainly also for ourselves so that we use these weapons effectively.
Sadly in this world there are actually people who enjoy seeing others fail or who want to harm others (Psalm 70:2). If you are ever on the receiving end of this it can be tough. The only one who can help is God. Those who search for Him will be filled with joy (Psalm 70:4). The implication is that those who don’t will not experience true joy.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.