Tag Archives: the character and nature of God

Including God in Everyday Living

While sitting with Jesus yesterday, we began to talk about the importance of trust. He and I talk about this often, probably because I desperately need to be reminded of it every single day. And I do want to include God in everything; I’ll take the path He leads me down over over the crooked mess I can make of my life by leaning on myself every day of the week.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reveals a ton about the nature and character of God. As we see in our dissection of verse 5 in yesterday’s post (“Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”), leaning on our own reasoning alone really isn’t a wise thing to do. More importantly, we also see that God truly is interested in the details of our lives. Because He is asking that we depend on Him and include Him in every part of our hearts (the core of our being), He goes on to attach a promise in verse 6:

“…in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

 Just as we did with verse 5 yesterday, we will break down this line of scripture word by word:

“…in all (in everything) your (personalized, individual responsibility) ways (decisions, courses of life, methods, manners, processes, plans, habits) acknowledge Him (recognize, include, and seek God) AND He will (God promises to) make (create, shape, alter) your (He is talking to YOU) paths (decisions, circumstances to decisions, direction of life, priorities, focus) straight (to be pure, just, proper, and honest).”

Also interpreted as….

“In every area of my life, including my plans concerning my present and my future, my habits in the way I spend my time, and my decisions, I will include God. By doing so, He is going to alter my very life circumstances to be right, in order, and incredibly fruitful.”

Wow. When you really dive into this scripture, you can begin seeing why including God is so important. Not only does He want to be involved; we actually need Him to be involved. We can’t make our paths straight; only He can. For me, this verse has been an extraordinary epiphany by revealing when and how I think I should include Jesus in my life.

What I find most interesting about this piece of truth is that it completely (not partially, but fully) rejects our modern approach to Christianity. In our fast paced world, even those with heart-felt devotion to Christ can find it easy to merely include God on Sunday, but then live for themselves the rest of the week.  Monday is when we return to work, and mixing Jesus and work can be complicated. We start thinking that we can handle our jobs, and that we only need to include God in the more “spiritual” areas in our lives.

Yet God cannot be compartmentalized, beloved. When we apply scripture to our lives (through His grace), we can no longer divide our load between what God controls and what we control. Because He is God, He needs to be treated like God. He deserves everything that we can give Him. After we surrender our life circumstances to Him first, and then we can see how our decisions will best be handled.

Such a mindset is really the manifestation of the statement “Jesus is my Lord.” Jesus is more than the Savior that died on a cross; He is a leader and a guide for every aspect of our lives. By willingly choosing to include Him every single day, we come to truly recognize Jesus as Lord. As you seek Him, beloved, you will always find Him. Always.

May your heart be encouraged and challenged to include this Righteous King into your everyday world.
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How to Love God

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38

This commandment to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind isn’t anything new to us as believers. Many of us would desire greater opportunities to love Him more as our eternal God. But I truly believe that many Christians (including myself) are actually clueless about how we can love Him beyond reading His word, singing Him praises, and helping others that are in need.

How exactly are we supposed to live out the “greatest commandment” known to man?

Because of God’s faithfulness, we can trust that when He commands us to do something, He will always provide us the means with which to do it. This can include good instruction, a relevant example, and of course His abundant, overflowing grace. Since God is placing such an emphasis on loving Him, He will show each of us how to fulfill it.

“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” Deuteronomy 7:9

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

We all know that Jesus Christ died for our sins. His sacrificial atonement for our brokenness is truly a relevant example of “love in action.”

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

How can we reciprocate this same type of affection towards God on a daily basis? How do we love God using the exact same principles found in His word, and in the example of Jesus dying an unjust death for our very freedom?

If you’re married or have been in church for some time, you can probably recall hearing a sermon about 1 Corinthians 13, better known as the love chapter. It wasn’t until I was sitting on my plush living room couch and sipping hot tea in the stillness of an afternoon that the message of this chapter hit me like a freight train.

This is how we should love God.

God is love. We all know this upon reading His word. Here, God (in His kindness and wisdom) decides to faithfully spell out a definition of love (found in 1 Corinthians 13) in an easy-to-understand fashion that is not corrupted by false teaching or emotionalism.

Pay close attention to what He is saying here, beloved. This is how God loves us, because this is who He is:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This is the reflection of God’s very nature and character:

God is patient with [insert your name]. God is kind to [insert your name]. God is gentle towards [insert your name]. God is not self-seeking as He puts [insert your name] first. God is not easily angered even though we give Him several reasons to be, and God doesn’t keep a record of our wrongs even though He could. And so forth.

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

Since this is the the defining benchmark of how we are to truly love, then this must be the source of how we also love God. This is how we love God well: by loving Him the way He loves us.

God longs to be loved by us, just as we long to be loved by Him. This is about a relationship, not a “to do” lost of ritualistic behaviors that appear to be loving towards Him. He wants you and He wants me.

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:40

Let that sink in for a moment…..

Loving God isn’t based on feelings alone. We must love Him when times are hard, when we face uncertain challenges and can’t see what’s ahead.

Seeking His grace in applying the biblical definition of love and putting it into action in our relationship with God require intentionality.

This weekend we’ll revisit 1 Corinthians 13 in detail, exploring how we can tangibly love God with all of our hearts, mind, soul, and strength.

My prayer is that your heart and mind may be transformed (just as mine has this past week) in understanding how to truly (and deeply) love this everlasting God to whom we belong.
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