Weekly Devotional - May 31, 2017

“You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14)

Scripture Reading – I Samuel 15:1-23

God wants us to bear fruit by involving ourselves in His work of bringing the gospel to the world. In order to do that, each disciple must be committed to serving with a humble heart and willing to deny himself. We must choose who we will serve daily. It’s easy for us to say that we will put God first, but when we are in a difficult situation, we tend to look out only for ourselves. When we are in a difficult situation, we immediately seek a way out instead of trying to understand God’s plan.

Many believers are faithful to God when their lives are going smoothly, but can take matters into their own hands when facing trials. They decide not to patiently wait for God’s assistance. I am convinced that people decide to act on their own instead of waiting for God to act, because they don’t believe that God’s plan is best for them. They don’t believe that God is good. If I am certain that God’s plan is perfect and that He works for my good, then I will receive whatever happens with a thankful heart, because I know that my Father loves me and is personally watching over me. For instance, some don’t want to move to another place to proclaim the gospel because the people there are from another culture or there are no modern facilities such as malls. And to top it off, the wells have no water during the dry season for bathing and washing clothes. Because of selfish considerations such as these, people won’t obey God’s calling to bring the gospel to these places.

These situations expose the root of our selfishness—our belief that God neither loves us or is good. So we resort to finding our own place to serve where our family can be comfortable and we have prospects for a better future. Remember, there are no shortcuts in serving God, there is only the way of the cross. You can always be confident that the Father loves you.

I have a friend that started a scholarship program for kids who could not pay their school fees. He hired another believer to administer the program. The believer met with the scholarship recipients each month and distributed the school fees. However, the believer’s personal spending was more than the salary he was receiving, so he started stealing money from the scholarship fund to make up the difference. When the theft was discovered, he defended himself by saying: “Just as David took the bread of presence from the altar in the tabernacle when he fled from Saul because he needed it, I took the money because I need to eat.” How distressing when believers cleverly attempt to justify their sin by using Scripture. This is exactly what the Pharisees did also.

My greatest sorrow in serving God is that when people commit sins, they are unwilling to confess them. I don’t understand why we are not willing to repent. We all sin. When you do, humble yourself before God instead of defending yourself, blaming others, and manipulating God’s Word to justify your sin. Repentance will be easier if you remember that the Father prunes the branches for the good of the branches. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, He does it because He loves you. God has a plan to produce much fruit through us, but because we don’t believe His plan is best for us, we can fall into the trap of using our own cleverness to do it our way. Repentance is something we need to do daily. The Lord always has a place in ministry for those who know how to repent, because He is the God who forgives. Peter sinned by denying Christ not once, but three times and Jesus forgave him and restored him to his position as the leader of the apostles. You can completely trust in the Lord’s love for you when you confess your wrongs. Leaning on your own schemes will only lead to hypocrisy, and hypocrites will not be blessed by the Lord. Do you believe that God’s plans are best for you?

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