The other day my youngest daughter and I had dashed out of the house without eating any breakfast. Our place of destination that morning happened to have a vending machine full of junk food that could provide a very short lived satisfaction to hunger pains (with no nutritional value I must add). My daughter asked if I had change so she could get a snack until we can get some “real food”. With those big blue eyes softening my heart I of course caved and told her to go ahead and get some change from my wallet for a snack. Her first try to obtain a snack of her choice the tasty treat became entangled in the spiral mechanics of the machine and would not drop below to her reach. Upon her second try for another choice the snack once again became stuck between the spiral grasp and the glass door of the machine. After the second try the only thing being fed was the machine with mom’s change instead of her belly so she decided to call it quits and just count her/our losses.
This encounter reminded me so much of the world we live in. Some give and give yet never seem to get ahead or become successful according to the standards of our world. There are some who may give a little and get what someone else paid for and lost. There are some who may just shake life and make demands and the demands are granted without any work or effort. Sometimes worldly systems work sufficiently and one can get what they have worked/paid for. Life can really seem unfair and meaningless.
Life of one who has a relationship with Jesus provides so much more than the give and take of this world we live in. The things that are so fleeting and superficial, beauty, money, power, fame, attention, etc… start to become just that, superficial, as one’s relationship deepens with Jesus. A quote caught my attention in Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s Bible Commentary of the New Testament. “God’s love for His own is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love.” It seems all anyone wants to hear is what God will give give give. Our lives are so much more than what we can get. The world is so focused on “self” and what God and others can do for “me me me”. God’s plan for us is to perfect us. Not in a way the world sees perfection. It is a perfection of faith and love. The more He perfects our faith the more of His light and love can flow through us. The stronger our faith the more God can work through us to love others perfectly. The stronger our faith the less we let ourselves get in God’s way. Sometimes deepening our faith means we have to go through a lot of pain, suffering, sorrow, and mistakes in this life. When it comes down to it I would much rather be perfected than to have everything perfect. When I look back on what may seem a complete mess in my own life I can see God’s perfect plan and how it evolved and refined my faith.
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will. “
It does not cease to amaze me how society has changed literally at warped speed in my short forty two years of life. Music has gone from eight track tapes to I-tunes. If a person had a BIG (twenty four inch) TV in a box when I was a kid I considered them wealthy. We had a Twelve inch black and white for my first TV in this life. Phones were rotary dial with a cord that attached to the wall. Now we carry small computers for phones and have our face in them all the time. The school principal use to be able to give kids a spanking if they were acting outside of the standards of ethical behaviors. (How’s that for a politically correct way of saying “when we were bad”?) Mom’s were able to stay home with their children. Children were able to freely ride their bikes all over the neighborhood going from friend’s house to friend’s house. What in the world has happened to us?
Now it is constant bombardment of news media with people screaming about their “rights”. There are a lot of different weaknesses we have as human beings. We are tempted toward all kinds of addictions, immorality, evil acts, and sexual sins. What has blown me away is how sin went from consequences or if it was a lifestyle it was kept private to being in the face of the whole world. Criminals can get a lighter sentence if they plead “not guilty” when they obviously are guilty. It amazes me to hear interviews of a person who is clearly in the wrong making their excuses and actually demanding that others say they are right. It has become our society. “I will do what I want and get as many human beings to say I am right as possible. Maybe I will be able to get a few laws changed to say I am right too!!”
The one true standard that will never change is God’s. Our society can change all it wants. We can get as many people to tell us we are right and do what makes YOU happy, but it still doesn’t make what’s wrong right. Nothing within our human power can wipe away the guilt that we all have. I write this as a sinner. There have been countless times in my life that I have been brought to the humbling point of realizing my wrongful ways. In fact the more I try to live for God and ask him to make me more and more like Jesus the deeper realization I have of my sin. So many times I have been brought to tears and brokenness realizing how wrong I am. Then the brokenness turns to gratitude as I realize it is the Grace and Mercy of Jesus that has covered my wrongs and has given me hope and a future. It is when I admit that I am wrong God teaches and grows me into something so much more. When we demand that our wrongs are right we miss out on so much that God has to offer.
At first when I see the news I have to admit that I feel frustrated at all the standards of God’s love and God’s creation being broken. Then the next feeling is compassion. I know what it feels like to have the burden of guilt and shame lifted by the blood of Jesus Christ. I know how it feels to have a hope and a future beyond this life with no shadow of a doubt as to where I will be. As I look at the world I feel compassion because God has created a desire in me for the whole world to have what I have!!! No matter what standard or no standards we live by in our life we still will all face that final day when we face God’s final judgment. God will look upon us and see a sinner covered by the Grace of the Cross OR He will not even be able to look at our sinful person and will cast his rightful judgment on a wasted life. That will not change no matter what other human beings say, what human laws are passed, and no matter what “we get away with” in this life. God is still God!
2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Proverbs 18:9 “One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.”
When trying to find a picture of laziness and idleness I came across this picture of our doggies. A lazy snoring dog is cute. A lazy snoring human being is not so cute unless that person is a helpless infant. That is the one time in our life that it is our job to sleep. That time of our life is the only time we are to be fed and provided for by others. We are to sleep the majority of the day to conserve energy for growing. Growing up to work. Yes we were created to move and to work.
This week my husband and I took vacation from our regular jobs to work on projects around our home. It has left us feeling very satisfied and accomplished. We actually are looking forward to seeing the final results of all of the small accomplishments compiled together in one large finished project.
We come into this world being owed nothing. Really what have we done to deserve any sort of hand outs, gifts, or greatness? God owes us nothing. This is the truth that our selfish human nature wants to deny. We puff ourselves up with the lie that we deserve all things that are good without putting forth any effort or struggle. This lie deceives us and robs us of the satisfaction that hard work brings. Hard work and tough times develop character. Hard work develops an appreciation for the hard work and sacrifice of others. Hard work develops endurance, perseverance, and strength within us. Only hard work can bring the satisfaction of seeing our own toil and strife turn to something that is good. This idea of entitlement is the greatest thief and form of slavery this country and world has known. It is a terrible lie that destroys individuals, families, towns, churches, and countries.
There are many verses about hard work, idleness, and sacrifice in the Bible. It definitely does a soul good to study them. It has been hard for me to narrow them down to just a couple for this blog.
Proverbs 13:4 “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”