PJ’s Daily Devotional for Monday, January 30, 2017.
Have you ever been let down by someone? You know what I mean, you hoped or expected they would do something and they did not. You may have even asked them to do it; they may have even said they would do it, but then something happens and it doesn’t get done. What then?
Have you ever let someone down yourself? Have you ever been on the other side of the equation where you were the one who was unable to complete the task or just you forgot or got distracted?
I have been on both sides of this equation; there is a trap we need to discuss this morning that Satan would love for you to fall into to ensure you remain an emotional hostage to a whole range of emotions.
It’s the trap of quitting!
Paul exhorts, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted” (Galatians 6:1, 2).
Let me highlight three simple principles from these short verses to help you not quit, but to endure in doing good:
- The first principle is built around a couple obvious definitions: “ANYONE” means every person conceivable and “ANY TRANSGRESSION” means any and all offenses which you can think or imagine. Essentially, there are no exceptions to your responsibility to “restore [the person] in a spirit of gentleness.” Here it is: you need to make a premeditated decision to forgive and grant grace to the people in your life; those you know and those you don’t know. For example, when someone cuts you off or backs into you, already you should have made up your mind to not react with spite, pettiness, cruelty, or vengeance. We must learn that our natural reaction to overreact in our flesh (against ourselves or another person) when someone does something against us or just says or does something we don’t agree with, is not of the Spirit and not pleasing to the Lord. You are called to be gentle in all things to all people!
- Gentleness is a part of the collective whole of the fruit of the Sprit (Galatians 5:22, 23) which means if you feel like you can’t do this, you are correct! That’s the second principle: you can’t do relationships healthy, but God can! The fact that you can’t in the flesh is not license to sin (you are free in Christ from sin!). So, stop giving yourself and others the excuse that you can’t forgive that person or you can’t associate with someone who would be so irresponsible or so _________ (you fill in the blank with whatever word you want to describe that person who did that thing to whomever). God doesn’t expect you to do anything other than submit to His Spirit and let Him love the person through you! As a Christian, you don’t represent yourself or your self-interest; you represent Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
- Stop using the excuse, well everyone is doing it or that is just the way of the world; if I want to survive or have a little piece of happiness, then I have to do this. Oh my, seriously?!? I truly believe some people are walking around with successful jobs, high school and college educations, but with the emotional intelligence of a teenager at best; developmentally stunted by something that happened to them in their life that they have not yet forgiven or been restored from. Paul says, “Keep watch on yourself, lest you be tempted” (2). When people have been hurt enough, they just give themselves over to the hurt. You may have heard this, but it’s worth saying again, “Hurt people hurt and forgiven people forgive!” Are you a victim to the actions and events of this world? We are called to be emotionally and spiritually intelligent enough to rise above the hot mess of our circumstances to be different; to not give ourselves over to the offenses and irresponsible behaviors of the people around us. It is time you stop making excuses and live the life of victory Christ has given you!
Was that gentle enough? I tried to find the balance of being both direct with the truth, but also gentle in my delivery. I wanted to model the message and not just give the teaching.
Paul concludes this letter, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9, 10).
I leave you with this thought, a fourth principle: you reap what you sow! It is the only linear equation of the New Covenant and it is a powerful motivator to determine how you are going to respond to the people and situations of your life.
Do you want God to extend grace to you, then extend grace to others; be gentle to them!
Do you want God to forgive you of your sin, then forgive others of their sin; restore them!
The unfortunate reality is that this linear equation doesn’t apply to other fallen people. In other words, your actions will not determine the actions of others. You reap what you sow with God, but not always with other people. God is right in all His judgements; people are not. So instead of expecting others to give you what you deserve, you plan ahead now to give them back not what they give you, but what you would hope God would do for you.
Don’t quit! Endure! Don’t grow weary in doing good because your reward is not on earth with a better life today; your reward is in Heaven with a better life eternally.