Once upon a time it was announced that the devil was going out of business and would sell all his equipment to those who were willing to pay the price. On the big day of the sale, all his tools were attractively displayed. There was Envy, Jealousy, Hatred, Malice, Deceit, Sensuality, Pride, Idolatry, and other implements of evil on display. Each of the tools was marked with its own price tag. Over in the corner by itself was a harmless-looking, wedge-shaped tool very much worn down, but still it bore a higher price than any of the others. Someone asked the devil what it was, and he answered, “That is Discouragement.” The next question came quickly: “And why is it priced so high even though it is plain to see that it is more worn than these others?” “Because,” replied the devil, “it is more useful to me than all these others. I can pry open and get into a man’s heart with that when I cannot get near him with any other tool. Once I get inside, I can use him in whatever way suits me best. It is worn well because I use it on everybody I can, and few people even know it belongs to me.” This tool was priced so high that no one could buy it, and to this day it has never been sold. It still belongs to the devil, and he still uses it on mankind. (Author Unknown)
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” – James 1:2
Sometimes it is hard to believe that hurtful trials where we are beaten up by our closest friends could ultimately work in our favor, but if we are in Christ, they do (Romans 8:28).
I have seen a lot in this life. And I realize that you have endured much also.
Let’s have a cup of tea together and share lessons learned. If you don’t mind, I’ll go first….
First I need to repent and put my faith and trust in Jesus (Matthew 3:2; Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9). I should place no confidence in myself (Philippians 3:3). After all, I am just a sinner saved by grace. Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing (John 15:5). So I trust Him and place my confidence in His power, not my own. My goal is not prove to others that I am a finished work or to have a righteousness of my own. Instead, I trust in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and strive to follow His orders (1 John 5:2-4). The Lord knows all things (John 4)- past, present and future. He knows my sin even before I commit it and promises to forgive me if I ask (1 John 1:9). So trying to hide my sin from Jesus is useless. Although He knows I will sin again and has already provisioned for it, I should fight against sin with His power. When temptations come, I must remember that I belong to Jesus.
This tea is delightful. Did you put lemon in here, friend?
I grew up in a small village in the 1980s. When neighborhood kids offended one another, parents grouped us together and ensured that apologies were given as appropriate. I need to remember this. Although not easy, what a game changer to teach kids for later life. If I am not able to admit that I am wrong, how did I accept Jesus in the first place? The gospel is not the gospel without: “For all have sinned…” (Romans 3:23).
So what does He want from me?
He wants me to love Him and to use His love coming through me to genuinely love other people (Romans 12:9; Matthew 22:36-40). He wants me to be obedient to Him (1 Samuel 15:22). He wants me to be “true blue”. He wants me to have a burden for the lost- where His heart is- and to take action (Matthew 28). I was also once lost and should never forget the pit from which I came. Many are still there. He values a genuine relationship with me so much that He died to purchase me with His own blood.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
It’s your turn, friend…