Only God can be a perfect source of confidence, and it’s sinful to try to make anyone else fill the role that He alone was meant to fill. He is infallibly trustworthy. We may “commit [our] souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”
Rejecting what we’ve come to know of God’s will is so foolish, none of us would ever do it if we weren’t deceived. But therein lies the power of sin. The devil is shrewd enough to make slavery seem, for the moment, like it’s better than what we have.
Crude words, and certainly irreverent ones, are almost always symptomatic of a heart that is turned away from God. So Jesus warned us, “By your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).
We should be willing to make serious sacrifices for our enemies. God did more than talk about loving His enemies; He sacrificed His Son’s life for them. What treasure would we sacrifice — yes, sacrifice — to promote the salvation of our enemies?
We may feel a warm, condescending glow of ever-so-subtle superiority when we think how little others have suffered. “When they’ve been around as long as we have, they’ll see things differently,” we sigh, congratulating ourselves for being older.
We must acquire the ability to engage in, and even enjoy, things that lead us to God without making idols of these things. All these activities, as pleasant as they are, are a means to a great End. We must constantly bring our minds back to that End.
We fear other people because there is too little fear in our relationship with God. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul,” Jesus commanded, “But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Most things are capable of more than one explanation. Rather than jump to the worst possible interpretation, we need to do for others what we always hope they’ll do for us: believe the best until the facts force a more negative conclusion.
Even when our sins are inadvertent, in most cases we still have some personal responsibility. It often happens that we’re more ignorant and weak than we ought to be, given the time and opportunity God has granted us to grow (Hebrews 5:12).
Often, we don’t see how poor we are, like the Laodiceans whom the Lord rebuked: “You say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ — and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).