How often do you find yourself dissatisfied with your life? Do you get depressed or frustrated that you don’t have very much to show for where you are in life? It’s easy to fall into the trap the enemy sets for us. He deceives us with desires like wanting a bigger house, faster car, more money or any other object that gets our attention. It’s important to remember that if we spend a lot of time thinking about or pursuing these things then we are making them our idols. I think you would agree that’s dangerous ground to be on. Especially when God’s word says we are not to have idols. (Read the 10 commandments & Leviticus 19:1-4).
As I’ve gotten older and in a closer walk with my Lord I’ve come to realize I was going down the path of idolatry. I just had to have a corvette. I just needed a huge TV so I could watch sports. And of course my current house wasn’t fitting the bill. As I’ve studied scripture, attended bible studies and church, the Lord has helped me recognize the error of my thinking and desires.
Some would argue that just having Jesus is not enough. Really? When you have Jesus then all else shrinks in comparison. You lose that hunger for what the world considers to be important. Your focus of love and attention is now showered on Jesus, our Lord and savior. You will find yourself constantly seeking the Lord so as to have an intimate relationship with Him. This intimacy is crucial to our walk with the Lord as it shows itself in a loving, kind and compassionate way to those around us.
Anything and everything comes from God. All that you have right now comes from God. He is the owner of the cattle on 1,000 hills. In other words, what you have belongs to God because He made it and gave it to you. He can just as easily take it away if it becomes more important to you than He is.
In the end your contentment and peace in life should rest on the living God who provides everything we will ever need to be happy in this life. Turn away from your “have to’s” and “I wants” and go for those apples of gold that are in Jesus Christ our Lord. When you do that you will have the peace that passes all understanding. Guaranteed.
Most of us have known the Golden Rule since childhood: We are to treat others the way we want to be treated. And for young children, this standard seems to make sense. It is logical to share if you want others to share with you, and to avoid hitting because you wouldn’t like being on the receiving end.
But as life continues and relationships become more complicated, this simple ethical code doesn’t always seem to fit our circumstances. For instance, imagine being wronged by your business partner. How can you treat him respectfully when he has taken advantage of you? What if a kind, forgiving attitude opens the door for you to be hurt again?
God’s command nevertheless does apply in this situation. Obedience can be challenging, however, because when we are hurt or mistreated, our instinct is to retaliate. This might take the form of speaking badly behind a person’s back or showing subtle disrespect to his face. Human nature wants revenge for wrongdoing. In fact, we are unable to do anything different on our own.
Thankfully, as believers, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who enables us to forgive. So while our own strength is insufficient for a godly response, we have the option to obey through the Spirit.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23). Are these characteristics evident in your interactions with others—even with people who are difficult to love? Ask for the Lord’s supernatural strength so you can respond correctly.
Is there someone or some thing in your life that you cannot and will not forgive? Why is that? Why can’t you forgive? Are you holding on to a grudge against someone because it makes you feel good? All of that is erroneous thinking. It’s important to look at your situation through the eyes of Jesus and what God’s word says about it.
Colossians 3:13 says, “As Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Really, God? Begin the process of healing. How? Well, keep no list of wrongs. Pray for your enemies rather than plot against them. Hate the wrong without hating the wrongdoers. Turn your attention away from what they did to you to what Christ did for you. Outrageous as it may seem, Jesus died for them, too. If He thinks they are worth forgiving, they are.
Does that make forgiveness easy? No. Quick? Seldom. Painless? Forgiveness vacillates. It has fits and starts, good days and bad. Anger intermingled with love. Irregular mercy. We make progress only to make a wrong turn. Step forward and fall back. But it’s okay. As long as you’re trying to forgive, you are forgiving. It is when you no longer try that bitterness sets in. Keep trying. Keep forgiving.
Remember this. By forgiving your enemy you are releasing control of the situation into God’s hands and trusting Him for the outcome. Release of control is an important step in forgiveness for yourself and others. Without release there is no peace.