Living With Hope Part I

My, Devotion to Him #289

We live in challenging times. It seems each passing day can increase in difficulty. If we do not maintain the right mindset and our lives are not built upon the foundation of Christ we will become overwhelmed with life’s problems. The moment we do not maintain a healthy and strong spiritual walk is the moment that we have turned from “could life overwhelm us?” to “when will life overwhelm us?” It is ever so crucial that we as Christians maintain our walk, grow in our spiritual walk, and go deeper in our relationship with Christ.

These are challenging times we face. Thankfully Jesus lays out seven principles to help us live with HOPE in such troubling time. 

1. Charitable deeds are between you and God

Verse Passage: In Matthew 6:1-4 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – NIV

Jesus spoke of the Pharisees and how their deeds were performed in public. The Pharisees were more concerned about their own accolades and how 

they were perceived than the welfare of the needy and the poor. Jesus stressed that charitable deeds should be between the giver and God and not for public display, nor for public gain. In fact, doing so would be prideful, boastful, and in actuality disrespectful to God because when trying to make the public or the church recognize you for your giving and you flaunt, boast, and take some high ground with it you are actually saying, “look at me, look at what I do.” It is here that we try to force the spotlight on us which it should never be.

This should also be about God. In all that we do should bring the focus back to God. Tithes, good works, and service should all bring the spotlight on God and His message. Anything else is dishonorable. 

2. Prayer should be genuine and from the heart.

Verse Passage: Matthew 6:5-7 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” – NIV

Jesus spoke of the Pharisees and how they enjoyed praying in public and positions of honor at weddings, feasts and festivals. Prayer is our time with 

God and should be approached with humility and reverence. Prayer should be genuine and from the heart. Not saying that it is wrong to pray at said events above. However, we need to not become boastful about it. There is no honor in gloating about your prayers. There is no reverence for God when we try and make our prayers extravagant, long, and complex. God will not hear or act on your prayer faster or more often because you decided to get crazy and outrageous with your prayers. God knows the heart. He seeks the heart of all things. When we come to Him we need to come with boldness but also humility. He is the God of all creation no one can challenge His greatness. He is the first and the last. He has seen the end while it was the beginning. He has no beginning and no end. Even in that greatness He chose to create you, but He did not stop at creation. He went even further because of His love that He chose to save you. He chooses to equip you for a better life here on earth. He chooses to bless you. He chooses and seeks out interaction with you. The one true living God of all that is created. Chooses to go even further and make you an heir to His kingdom. So bold we need to be when we come to His throne. Because we are His children and we have access to Him because of that. But we need to bring humility which is the opposite of pride. Thus bringing reverence to God and who He is. God is not interested in a show. He is interested in people who are genuine. 

3. Worship and Bible Study should be used to bring you closer to God not to score points with your church.

Verse Passage: Matthew 6:16-18 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – NIV

Jesus speaks that fasting and worship should not be performed to call attention to one’s self but should be done in order to bring us closer to God. It amazes me that people would get into worship in a way that makes them seem like they are really there for God only to then look around to see who is watching or won’t stop talking about it. Some of these same people or others then do all the Bible studies that the church offers and they may even do other studies online. This would great but these people then brag about how many studies they do or simply do them to make it seem they are more Christian than others. Which is sick. Our worship is too God and God alone. Trying to score points with the church through your worship is simply using God to make YOU look better. True worship is time spent with God. It is us bringing pride and selfishness into direct submission because worship is worshiping (exalting) God which is you giving up the spotlight that we seem so desperate to be in and put it on the only person who deserves it. Worship in essence I believe makes you vulnerable. Which I think is where we need to be. It’s a time we can let our guard down and come to the Father. It’s a time we can come to Him and praise who He is in our life. Worship His name. Exalt His greatness. The God of all mankind and the savior of someone like you and me deserves the upmost from us.

I do believe these first three things are important to our relationship with Christ and our lifestyle. These first principles will be very beneficial to us as we continue on. It may not be seen but these few things are very much inline with hope. In the next devotional we will continue looking at the remaining principles that will help us out spiritually and in these uncertain times. 

God bless, 

Copyright © 2022 by Jacob Olinger

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