Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9, NIV)
In times of trial, it is easy to get so mired in your own situation, that you completely forget what you have learned, heard and seen, and to lose sight of what you have received. Self-absorption makes it difficult to put this particular truth into practice.
What’s more, if you’re at all like me, you need to realize that the initial response of anger or placing blame for a situation on others is completely misplaced and contradicts everything that you try to accomplish as you seek God’s perfect love.
He clearly tells us:
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12, NIV)
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36, NIV)
My Story — Reflecting Outward in Thanksgiving
Love is the key! From Him to me — from me to Him — and from me to others.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV)
There are specific times when I not only need these reminders, but I need a good swift kick to help me refocus.
Yesterday, a light bulb went on that made me realize that I had become so absorbed in my own situation, I hadn’t given others much of a second thought lately, yet I have experienced such an outpouring of prayer, from close friends, and from those I barely know — simply because I reached out. Because these prayers have been so powerful my family was truly blessed — (my significant other, whom we feared had a recurrence of cancer, got a clean bill of health after extensive testing). This is coincident with the completion of an intensive effort on my part to ask Him for what I needed — fortitude to deal with the consequence if the worst were true, and fervent hope and intercession that it was not so. The good news that we received reminded me of the power of prayer and made me humbly grateful to those who followed today’s truth. It also made me realize that those who are praying for me also have unfulfilled needs, are going through situations where they need prayers and intervention from Him, and that I need to “pay it forward.”
And then the doubts crept in and I faltered. While I was initially ecstatic, I quickly thought about the other issues that I am dealing with, and without the exercise of patience and faith, I began to question why only part of my prayers have been answered. In my self-reflection — I chastised myself more than anyone else ever could for such thoughts.
So, my challenge and resolution for today is to recognize and give thanks for the gift I have been given, to ask for patience in regard to all other matters, and to move to apply today’s truth.
In addition to the other truths, I also look to the following to help me meet my goals:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40, NIV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)
Reflection and Prayer
Almighty Father, when my mind becomes filled with doubt, please remind me that I have a responsibility to You and to others to put in practice everything that I have learned or received or heard from You, or seen in You in order that I regain internal peace. When heat begins to stir dissension and I start to blame others for my misfortune, please remind me that loving my enemies and others without expecting anything in return brings great reward. When I start to become self-absorbed, please remind me of the greatest commandments in the Law — to love You with all my heart, soul, and mind and to love my neighbor as myself — because love covers all wrongs, and no matter what I do, if I don’t have and give love in this fashion, I am nothing. I ask this through Jesus, Your Son, my Redeemer. AMEN