One of the hardest things for me to do as a parent is to call my kids (and my dogs) to account. When they do something to not meet expectations, it hurts me to have to hold them accountable. Nonetheless it has to be done. I love them and I want the best for them. They aren’t too keen on facing the consequences, but they come to understand it is for their own good.
God calls us to account too. He says that those He loves He corrects, He guides and prods. And why? It is “so that they’ll live at their best.” He wants the best for you. The best. Not second best. Not an okay life. Not a good life. THE BEST. So you will be prodded. You will be corrected. You will be guided. All because He loves you and wants the best for you.
Let us thank God that He calls us to account. Let us praise Him for His correction. Let us thank Him that He wants only the best for us. Now “up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!”
“The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!” – Revelation 3:19 [MSG]
We often like to add our two cents. It could be sufficient to say a particular thing but we add a little more because it’s on the tip of our tongue. We direct people to a passage of the Bible and then continue onward with our position. Some of us take whatever position we are in and go beyond the position’s description. For some of us, we serve those who are disadvantaged—we get saddened by their situation or irritated by their constant needs. Paul tells us to “keep a smile on your face” and not to add to whatever it is you are doing.
When you are preaching, it should be the Word of God, not your own agenda. When you are helping someone, you help—you don’t take over the situation and become an enabler. When you teach, you be sure to focus on teaching the Bible and not drifting off. When you are providing guidance and encouraging people, you do not cross the line and become bossy, trying to get the people to take your counsel and force your position. When you are in charge of something, you are not to use it to your advantage and get people to do as you desire. If you are in a position to help those that are in distress, be sure to pay attention so you can answer the call and not miss the boat. If you work with those who are disadvantaged, you should not be depressed by their situation. At the same time, you should never let them cause you to get irritated.
This is a lot of do’s and do not’s. It sounds like a bunch of rules. But what Paul is saying can be simplified—whatever you are called to do, do it with a smile and always point to Christ. It is not about you—it is about Him. If you always aim to point others to Christ and it is all about Him and not about you, all of these “rules” will be followed. When we add our two cents, we make it about us. It can never be about us.
“If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.” – Romans 12:6-8 [MSG]
Have you ever begged for something? Perhaps when you were a child, you begged your parents for a trending toy. When you neared driving age, you begged to learn how to drive and then when you passed your test, you begged to borrow the family car. Have you ever begged God for something?
Some people beg God for selfish requests. We do not always see it as such, but when things are uncovered, it is very self-centered. We also beg for particular things like healing because we do not see God’s bigger plan. I know I’ve begged for my pain to go away, and yet my pain has taught me patience and humility. I am all the better because of my pain.
In today’s verse, we read that Jehoshaphat was terrified knowing that there was a large group approaching via the sea. He was afraid and he immediately turned his attention to God. He begged Him for guidance. Have you ever begged God for guidance? Have you ever wanted His guidance that bad? Have you ever approached Him with that humility?
“Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” – 2 Chronicles 20:3 [NLT]
People like to talk. I know I talk a lot, sometimes more than I should. Solomon advised that when we “enter the house of God” we are to do two things. We are to keep our ears open and we are to keep our mouth shut. If we are not entering the house of God with ears to listen, why are we even there? We are to approach the Lord for wisdom, for guidance, to seek His will for our lives.
At the same time, Solomon says that we need to keep our mouths shut. Why? Because we tend to approach God and tell Him what we want—what our plan is for our lives. But that’s not necessarily what God wants for our lives. If we are too busy telling God what we want Him to do, we are not focused on listening to Him tell us what we were made to do, what is our purpose—the plan for our life.
Today consider how you enter the house of God. Consider how you read and study your Bible. Do you have your ears open? Do you have your mouth shut? Are you listening for what God has to say or are you using your mouth to interject with your instructions?
“As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:1 [NLT]
When Abraham sent his servant to seek out a wife for his son Isaac, the servant, a loyal man who relied on God throughout the mission, was met by Rebekah. The servant of Abraham prayed for God’s guidance with selecting a wife for Isaac, and included some signs to point to the woman who should be taken back to be Isaac’s wife. The signs pointed to Rebekah.
Now while reading Genesis 24, we see Rebekah providing a great example of one who is devoted.
- Energetic – When she was providing the servant & his camels with water, Rebekah “ran back to the well” (v. 20). She was full of energy as she aimed to serve this man—passionate to help another.
- Eager to serve – When it was time to provide water, she was ready to serve. She even offered the servant a place to stay for the night (v. 25). When it was time to set out to return to Isaac, she was ready.
- Embracing the call – When asked if she would go, she embraced this calling upon her life (v. 58)
- Exceeded expectations – The servant of Abraham prayed for particular signs to point to the woman who would be the wife of Isaac. Rebekah went beyond meeting those signs requested by the servant. Not only did she let down her jar and water the camels, but she went to the point that they “had enough to drink” (v. 19) to be satisfied. She also offered the servant a place to stay for the evening, as well as a food and shelter for the camels (v. 25).
When we look at God’s calling for our lives, are we energetic? Are we eager? Are we embracing the calling? Today, consider what God has called you to do in life. Think about these four areas. Do you still have passion for God’s calling? When we are energetic, eager, and embracing what God has called us to do, He will use us to serve His Kingdom—and we will exceed expectations as His vessels. When we allow ourselves to be His vessel, when it is all about Him, when the passion is there, we, like Rebekah, will be passionately seeking to serve the Lord with joy, ready for whatever He puts before us.