Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 15 September 2022:
Listen to this message from Dr. R. C. Sproul on the friendship and loyalty between David and Jonathan: https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/life-of-david/davids-great-friendship
1 Samuel 20:1, 2, 8 — In a love relationship with God, you are willing and eager to admit your faults and try to correct them.
1 Samuel 20:4 – Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”
A covenant love relationship with God makes you want to do whatever another person wants or needs.
1 Samuel 20:17 – And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
A covenant love relationship means loving another as yourself.
1 Samuel 20:22 — …for the Lord has sent you away.
Jonathan understood that all circumstances were orchestrated by God for His purposes; we are not merely victims of uncontrolled events.
1 Samuel 20:23, 31 — A love relationship with God extends to an unselfish love relationship with believers in which you are willing give up life’s dreams to help the other.
1 Samuel 20:34 – And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him.
A love relationship for God’s sake may disrupt family relationships.
[Note: Here is a link to a video overview of Hebrews: https://youtu.be/1fNWTZZwgbs%5D
Hebrews 1:1 — Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
The Bible gives us the great testimony of the prophets who were used mightily by God at critical times in history and who stand as great examples to us, but we, in our age, have been given so much more through Jesus, direct access to the Father and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. You don’t need to have someone else speak to you on the God’s behalf if you are willing to truly listen. In fact, you have been given the authority and power to be a disciple maker, and the Bible says you are called to be a priest on this earth (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). With great power comes great responsibility. What are you doing with Jesus in this age?
“Our generation is preoccupied with methods. When we find a program that works in one business, we immediately want to package and distribute it so that it will work for others. This attitude carries over into the spiritual life as well. We spend much energy looking for spiritual disciplines, books, seminars, or conferences that “work” in order to feel satisfied with our Christian life. God does not want us to trust in methods. He wants us to trust in Him.
Trusting in methods rather than in a Person seriously limits the way we experience God. When we expect Him to speak to us only in predictable ways, we forget that God is much more complex than our perception of Him. In times past, God spoke in dreams and visions. He used nature; miraculous signs; prophets; a still, small voice; fire; trumpets; fleece; the casting of lots; and angels. He spoke in the middle of the night, during worship services, at mealtimes, during funerals, while people were walking along the road, through sermons, in the middle of a storm, and through His Son.
The important thing was not how God communicated, but that He spoke. If God always spoke to us through dreams, we would remain in our beds awaiting a divine revelation! The means God uses to communicate with us is irrelevant; the fact that He is communicating is what is critical.
Don’t limit yourself to a method, expecting only to hear from your Father in predictable ways. Rather, open yourself up to other means by which God wants to commune with you. Allow the Holy Spirit to sensitize you to God’s message at all times, in every location, under any circumstance. Then you will experience God in entirely new dimensions as you are receptive to His voice.” (Henry T. Blackaby)
Hebrews 1:3 — He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.
The Bible says of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Colossians 1:15) Likewise, the Bible says, “We shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:49) In fact, we were “predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:29) Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” However, he also said to His disciples, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) The New Testament explains, “For you are all children of light, children of the day.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5) “You are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” (Ephesians 5:8) Our purpose is to radiate Christ, and the closer we are to Him, the more brightly we shine. “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” (Proverbs 4:18)
Many ask, “What does God want me to do with my life?” Well, the Bible tells you: Grow into the image of Christ, the radiance (or reflection) of his glory. But imaging Christ is a process of development – “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
The Spirit transforms us, but we must choose to partner with the Spirit, to “live by the Spirit… [and] also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) In describing Jesus’ imprinting of the Father, the first chapter of Hebrews mentions one primary attribute in two parts — “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” (Hebrews 1:9)
As we endeavor to grow in the image of Christ, we must both plant seeds of righteousness (Proverbs 11:18) and remove weeds of wickedness – “If you love flowers, you must hate weeds.” It is a two-fold process of growing the good while removing the bad. Many are familiar with Romans 12:2 which says, “be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” but we forget the whole verse – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” The first step is to break from the old ways of thinking, to prepare the ground of our hearts and minds to sow seeds of righteousness. You may have some plowing to do. We cannot partner with both the world and the Spirit. We all must make a conscience choice to both love righteousness and hate wickedness. In this, the Bible gets quite specific:
- Colossians 3:1-17 — If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. When we finally get to heaven, May God say to us, “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” (Hebrews 1:9) “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” (Luke 19:17)
“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness….” (Hebrews 1:9) Jesus loves righteousness and hates wickedness. Do you? Do your thoughts, words, and deeds reflect the glory of Christ to others? As an ambassador for Christ, do you live a life worthy of the calling? (Ephesians 4:1)
- 1 Peter 1:14-19 — As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
- Philippians 3:12-16 — Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Hebrews 1:9 – You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness….
Jesus hates wickedness. Do you?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 15 September 2022: Endeavor to radiate Jesus to others today.