… I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know… I am the Lord, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:4-6)
The context of this verse is the prophet Isaiah describing how Cyrus, the King of Persia who would rule 150 years later, was going to be used by God to direct the path of His chosen even though he was not a follower himself. It goes to show that God will use all things for the good of those who love him. Your Heavenly Father will use the faithless to be examples of a Godless life, and that sin and evil to convict us leading us back to the joy found in His goodness. God created all things and even those things that are found in the darkness of this world can point us back to the light of Jesus. Many things that we know are not of God are meant to straighten our walk, allow us opportunities to show God to that situation, and develop our spiritual maturity.
There are many times when believers put up emotional and spiritual barriers to keep the fragile joy they cling to intact. It’s that kind of believer that leaves the lost feeling rejected or unworthy. The things that are being blocked out are potentially tools from God to grow faith, compassion, and wisdom. The joy found in Christian isolation is not what God has in mind. That isolation stunts growth and reduces the reliability on God for that joy. Isolated joy is fragile and conditional, Heavenly joy is the light that should not be hidden when set upon a hill. Don’t build walls so high that we miss God or Godly opportunity in all things. Don’t let the ugliness of the world tarnish the opportunity be a reflection of the Holy Spirit.
Look and be amazed at all of the ways God shows you His glory and all of the unexpected ways He gives you and opportunity to grow. Don’t live in a box of expectation and try to place God in there with you. Remember that the Pharisee had an image of the Savior and how He would act, then killed Him when He didn’t fit their expectation.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[ they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
If Adam’s disobedience was the match that started the deadly fire that we call sin. The law was the dry forest that allowed the fire to run wild, consuming people in their fallen nature like trees in their flammable nature. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more (Romans 5:20) God then provided His only begotten Son as a rain storm of His Grace to extinguish the fire of sin. just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:21) The transgression of Adam, which created in all of us a fallen nature leading to death, was redeemed through the sacrifice of Jesus who knew no sin. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. (Romans 5:13-14) The law could not conquer sin because death was still the result. Even perfect adherence to God’s law resulted in the same death that existed before law established and magnified sin and the fallenness of man. God had to come to earth in the flesh to redeem us from the disobedience of Adam and disobedience of man in turning away from God’s law. Jesus had to fulfill the requirements of the law to set us free from the penalty of death. The law given through Moses was fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus says: “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.” (Matthew 5:17)
Adam-Moses: No Law, No Spirit (People turn away from God)
The world was held under the rule of death. All humanity fell into the depravity of sin with no way to know God as His name was lost through generations. It fell into such disarray that God flooded the world that showed no promise of redemption.
Moses-Christ: Law, No Spirit (People turn away from God and the law)
God gave Moses laws that would guide His people to be set apart and to keep God their focus. The laws were protection from their fallen nature and a way to keep God and His faithfulness at the center of their lives. They turned away even when God gave them direction and guidance.
Christ-Eternity: Spirit, No Law (God comes to find His people)
The death and resurrection of our Savior gave us access to the Holy Spirit which writes the law upon our hearts. The love we are commanded to give to God and to our neighbors fulfills the requirements of moral law. As we walk in the newness of life and obedience to God we are not subject to the death penalty of sin.
Never be wise in your own sight
Being wise in our own sight grows arrogance in our hearts. True wisdom accepts reproof and direction. (Proverbs 9:9) Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning Being wise in your own sight will not only slow your ability to grow closer to the infinitely wise God, it’s outward manifestation will draw people away from us preventing us from being able to speak God’s truth into their lives. People who profess a quality about themselves prevent the true admiration and connection found in humility. This goes for the admiration and connection of people in need to us as well as our admiration and connection to God. The haughty nature of self-professed wisdom breaks the flow of God’s spirit through a believer as a vessel. We reflect the light of God. If we allow ourselves to get tarnished in arrogance, the light doesn’t brighten the world the way it is intended to through His faithful.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly/ so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all
The absence of harmony and the presence of arrogance create an uneven terrain with which we identify with the people around us. Not only are we prevented from growing people but we are prevented from personal growth as well. The ‘lowly’ have a point of view that has great value. The lowly of spirit draw us closer to God in their desperation and need. The lowly of wealth rely on the provision of God in a much deeper manner than the more successful. The lowly in years exude a child-like faith that we are all called to and can learn from. The ability for all of God’s children to find harmony can grow in the power of their diversity. The mingling of views and the intertwining of spiritual gifts draw us closer to the infinite God in understanding and praise for the depth we can never truly comprehend. Live peaceably as much as that depends on you. Don’t let your anger or pride the determining factor in the harmony of your life. Leave that to the Lord and watch the amazing people He brings into your life so that together we can mature in spirit and see Him better.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
When we are invited into someone’s life we must understand what that means. We are trusted to receive their inner most feelings. We are also chosen by God to be there for the opportunity to share His word to someone as their emotion blocks out logic and truth. We need to be in that moment with them in sympathetic submission to their struggle or praise. Sympathy creates patience, closeness, and connection. Allow the spirit to overflow from you. Reflect God’s light into a dark moment or allow your light to combine with their praise and focus them toward the only One worthy of their delight. The Lord puts people in our lives to mold us and for us to mold them as well. Don’t walk past the opportunities God as groomed you for, through your personal struggles. Let the testimony God has blessed you with fill the heart of those you have the amazing opportunity to walk with. Focus on the love of God and your ability to show it regardless of circumstance. The love in the rejoicings of life and we love harder when the darkness begins to creep in. Let God’s strength support you and His word guide you. The God’s light on the roller coaster of life as He stabilizes His chosen for His purpose.
Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them/ Repay no one evil for evil/ never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God/ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good
It’s in the depraved state of selfishness that people have to make situations even or get vengeance. Some people are evil and some good people have moments where their human nature takes over and evil is the byproduct. Some believers will even act poorly causing frustration to others around them. Nobody is immune. It’s in moments of persecution and in the sight of evil that we can truly show God’s glory to the world. Repaying evil only pays into a cycle of darkness that will have no end unless God’s light is allowed in. Not allowing us to see and act on the good of our God will eventually make it difficult to find good. We cannot allow ourselves to be lost in anger and evil where God’s power is masked in our humanity. We must leave vengeance in the hands of God who will bring about change when the hearts involved are ready to receive the needed council. God’s timing is perfect just like His wisdom and vengeance. We need to give to God what belongs to Him and assume our duties as image bearers and reflections of His light. We are called to love. In love we bless, we love, we repay with good, we overcome!
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality
We are called to rely on God as our provider. He is the source of everything we need. Living a life as an image bearer of Christ leads us down a path that may differ from the one we think is best. We are to have faith that God’s plans are better and His provision more abundant than we could provide for ourselves. Relying on God assures that His provision is appropriate for the journey He made us to travel. God blesses His faithful to overflowing so that we might show the same blessings to the people around us. We are to contribute to the needs of fellow believers as we work together to glorify God and His kingdom. We are also called to show hospitality to all people and love them as we love ourselves. I believe that God’s blessing used in accordance to His will results in joy and peace which is provision only God can give.