Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 20 April 2023:
Job 40:2, 4 — Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?… Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.
A personal encounter with God leaves you overwhelmed and completely humbled by His holiness. It is impossible to be close to God and have a pride problem.
If man cannot even understand the complexity of nature, how can man think he can comprehend the fullness of Nature’s Creator. How arrogant and foolish is the man who forms an opinion about God based upon his personal knowledge and experience?
Romans 7:6 — But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
The more you live by the Spirit, the less your earthly desires need to be controlled by the Law. The Law is not required where the Spirit reigns. There are three levels of motivation — the lowest is fear (pride is the other side of that coin); the second lowest form of motivation is duty (doing something because you know you are supposed to). The Law threatens the fearful with punishment and gives rules to the dutiful to control behavior, but in the end, the Law will never be enough to constrain the heart. The highest form of motivation is love, doing something because you really want to, despite the personal cost. When the heart is controlled by love, no law is required. The Law is not abolished, it still exists, but it is no longer a concern because it comes naturally. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) Jesus called us to fulfill the law out of love rather than fear or duty. When you are lacking in love, you must still fulfill the law of love, though your motivation of fear or duty are impure. However, you must use the mirror of the law to see that in yourself, to search your heart, and to pursue love. And remember, we are not just seeking to be good people, we are seeking to be one with Jesus in love. God searches the heart, seeing beyond words and deeds to motivations.
Romans 7:7 — For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
The Law is a guide, a curb, and a mirror. It shows you the way to go, keeps you on the road, and as a mirror, the Law reveals your sinful desires.
Romans 7:14, 15 — For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. There is no self-control in the flesh. “Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 20 April 2023: Today, practice trusting in God’s strength rather than yours. Be willing to do what God says, even if it seems impossible, simply because God commanded it — this is faith and hope. Today, search your heart for the motivations behind your actions. Seek to do what God has commanded you simply out of love, not out of fear, a hope for reward, or out of a self-righteous sense of honor and duty.