“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” There is not a purer joy in the world than doing this, and there is no more freeing, liberating experience. Yielding to someone else’s dreams will break many a chain the devil has made.
When the final tally is made, I hope that I won’t have failed to encourage anyone who needed to be encouraged. It’s a fine thing to have hope, but I believe it is an even finer thing to give hope. That, above all, is what I want to do. And I’m confident that you do too.
If we’ve been Christians very long, we may not remember what it was like to try to deal with the sufferings of this life with no hope of anything better. But one hour back in that situation would remind us how valuable our hope is.
When we remember the past, as we certainly will, our effort must be to remember it with such an attitude that we are helped in the here and now. God intends for our lives to go forward — and when we’re tempted to go backward, we need to remember Lot’s wife.
How diligently do you pursue the knowledge of God? How high a priority is it to know more of the truth about God today than you knew yesterday? Honestly now, what would you sacrifice to gain an hour’s worth of time to study the Scriptures? Anything of significant value?
It should be a joy to yield our plan to God’s purposes. So let’s hold on to our plans, if need be, but let’s hold them loosely. When we say, “Let’s do this,” and God says, “No, let’s do that,” then our love for Him will say, “Yes, I trust you enough to know that will be better.”
The Laodiceans were satisfied. They had what they wanted, and the very satisfaction of those needs had blinded them. “You do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked,” the Lord said to them. Would He be able to say anything different to us today?
Whatever it may be that provides an occasion for God’s people to rejoice and thank Him is a good thing — no matter what the sacrificial price of that benefit and no matter how painfully it may impinge upon us personally.
If we make mere pleasantness our priority in life, we won’t grow in godliness. That result can only come from the other alternative: the patient endurance of hardship. We can’t have the result without embracing the means that lead to that result.
We do not serve God in order to receive any particular blessing in this life; we serve Him because we want to go, when our journey is over, to the place that He has prepared for us — by any path through this world that may be necessary.