Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 3 November 19:
Psalm 130:5, 6 – “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”
Faith is trusting God in the moment, and hope is trusting God with the future – faith projected forward. The Bible says that the big three for Christians is “faith, hope, and love” – “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) You must know God to trust Him, and you must trust Him to obey Him and to wait on Him; and you must love Him to obey Him joyfully and to “serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13) Faith trusts God enough to do what God commands at the moment of decision, though the consequences may seem perilous in the current situation. Hope trusts God with the outcomes and trusts Him enough to continue in obedience over time, though you don’t seem to be getting results and when things seem to be going from bad to worse. Love, trusts and obeys eagerly, joyfully, passionately, and expectantly, with the goal of honoring Him, pleasing Him, and uniting with Him, regardless the circumstances. In love, obeying God is not a burden; it is a longing and a joy – “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3)
It takes both faith and hope to truly love God and to love others fully and joyfully. Hopeful love waits, endures, and perseveres; it remains faithful over time – “Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3) In His perfect love, mercy and grace, God remains faithful to us though we are often unfaithful to Him. We demonstrate our love for God, in part, by remaining loving and faithful to others who are often unfaithful to us, by showing loving grace to others without feeling burdened by it and by never giving up on them – “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8) The goal of our loving obedience is Him, and the goal of our love for others is reconciling them to the Lord and being one with them in Him – “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) Perhaps you have been praying for years for someone who hasn’t responded to the Gospel. Don’t give up on them. Perhaps you are praying for someone and continuously forgiving someone who won’t repent of their destructive behavior. Don’t give up on them. Wait for the Lord more than a watchman waiting for the morning.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 3 November 19: Wait on the Lord today by trusting and obeying Him now, committing to trusting and obeying Him in the future, and by demonstrating unconditional love for others that is willing to suffer unfairness for the sake of reconciliation. Have the faith to deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. (Psalm 130:5, 6)