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The Word For Today

Practise humility

'Clothe yourselves with humility.' 1 Peter 5:5 NASB

The Bible says: 'Clothe yourselves with humility... for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble... humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you' (1 Peter 5:5-7 NAS).

Let's break this Scripture down into four parts: (1) 'Clothe yourselves with humility.' In this context the word clothe refers to a white scarf or apron that was typically worn by servants. Does that mean you have to conform to everybody's wishes? No; if you do that everybody else may like you but you won't like yourself. Just be who God called you to be, and be willing to serve others as the opportunity arises. (2) 'God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Humility isn't thinking less of yourself; it's thinking of yourself less and putting others first.

(3) 'Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time.' Throughout Scripture 'the mighty hand of God' symbolises two things: God's hand of discipline and his hand of deliverance, and you need both. So submit to his discipline and you'll experience his deliverance. (4) 'Casting all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.' Here Peter addresses one of our core human concerns: that if we don't look out for ourselves nobody else will. But if we really believe God 'cares' for us we needn't worry about serving our own interest. We're free to focus on the needs of others, confident that God will spare nothing when it comes to meeting our needs.

Soulfood: Gen 7-9, John 11:28-37, Ps 114, Prov 31:1-5


Small things matter

'Who has despised the day of small things?' Zechariah 4:10 NKJV

When God gave Gideon victory over the Midianites, he used an army of just three hundred to defeat an enemy that swarmed like an uncountable cloud of locusts (see Judges 7). That wasn't because there weren't more soldiers available; it was because God wanted to demonstrate his power in 'the day of small things' (Zechariah 4:10 NKJV). Jesus could have chosen any number of followers, but he handpicked twelve to reach the world with the Gospel. One day he fed five thousand people with five bread rolls and two small fish from a child's lunchbox. He compared God's Kingdom to a mustard seed - a tiny speck, yet it grows into a sprawling bush. He also likened his Kingdom to yeast that's barely discernible, yet it can raise an entire batch of dough. Then he went on to say, 'Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much' (Luke 16:10 NIV).

So, if you're asking God to make you bigger instead of better, you may be disappointed. All the prayers in the world won't pressure him into giving you what you are not ready to handle. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, 'Most people would succeed in small things if they weren't troubled with blind ambition.' Your drive to be bigger can give you ulcers, keep you awake at night, and stop you from enjoying the blessings God has already given you. Better may be harder to measure and not as glamorous, but the inner stability that comes from gradual success is more valuable and lasting.

So if you're in 'the day of small things', rejoice and be confident that God has bigger and better things in mind for you.

Soulfood: Gen 4-6, John 11:17-27, Ps 150, Prov 30:29-33


Use your common sense

'God blesses everyone who has... common sense.' Proverbs 3:13 CEV

The key to success lies in doing the right thing at the right time. Theologian Tryon Edwards said, 'Have a time and place for everything, and do everything in its time and place... you'll not only accomplish more, but have far more leisure than those who are always hurrying.'

If you're tired of living with constant stress, theology professor Dr Howard Hendricks draws our attention to four major sources: (1) Saying yes to far too many things. Dr Lewis Sperry Chafer once said, 'Much of our spiritual activity is little more than a cheap anaesthetic to deaden the pain of an empty life.' All our 'going and doing' fails to address our core emptiness. (2) Not stopping to recharge our batteries. We dutifully pull out our day planner and fill the spaces between activities. But let's not fool ourselves; avoiding overlapping activities isn't planning. As a result, we're a stressed-out, short-tempered crowd, commuting between poorly planned activities that add little to our spiritual well-being. (3) Failure to enjoy what we accomplish. 'A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul' (Proverbs 13:19 NKJV). With always too much to do, we dash off to the next obligation, often without finishing the previous one or taking time to stand back and savour a job well done. No wonder we worry that our existence seems meaningless. (4) Owing more than we can repay. Next time you're faced with a credit card purchase - wait! Don't necessarily say no. Just present your so-called 'need' to God and see what he says about it.

If you're serious about developing your spiritual life, use your common sense and put these four principles to work.

Soulfood: Gen 1-3, John 11:1-16, Ps 102:18-28, Prov 30:24-28

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