The Christian life can be summed up as: J.O.Y. – Serving Jesus first, others second, and you last-or not at all.
The task: 1 Do not forget His [the LORD’s] teaching, keep His commands in your heart;
The reward: 2 They will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity [the LORD’s blessing, not necessarily money].
The task: 3 Let love and faithfulness [to the Lord] never leave you; bind them around your neck [like a necklace], write them on the tablet of your heart [memorize and internalize them].
The reward: 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man [you will be a worthy ambassador for Christ].
The task: 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit [acknowledge, make first place] Him,
The reward: and He will make your paths straight [direct your paths; show you the way to go].
Verses 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-18, and 21-26 can be done the same way. Each of them gives us an aspect of how to put Jesus FIRST in our lives. Jesus is all about helping others. With His Spirit directing us, there is no way to miss helping others in their time of need. There are two things to remember:
- Just because we see a need doesn’t mean that it is our duty to meet it.
- We must wait on the LORD to prompt us to do it IN THE PROPER TIME AND WAY.
Usually, when we see a need, it’s because the Spirit has shone a light on it for us and called our attention to it so that we can help–but not necessarily. If it’s not for us, then we should be feeling a tension about helping. PAY ATTENTION TO THE TENSION. When we help is important (timing) ; how we help is important, as well (procedure). He will guide us if we are listening, if we are paying attention and not acting on our feelings, which can be misleading.
The best way to get “in the zone” spiritually is to:
- Give ourselves to Jesus categorically every morning–first thing, even before coffee!
- Saturate ourselves with the words of God–Jesus via the Word. We must remember that Jesus IS the Word (John 1:1–4).
- Practice the Presence of God by keeping an open dialogue going. He really is with us and communicating with us.
One of my favorite passages is Isaiah 30:20-21, which says,
20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them [they will be revealed to you by the Spirit how He has taught you through adversity and affliction]. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way;walk in it.”
Jimmy Cox once said, “I don’t hear His voice audibly–it’s louder than that.” He is So right! Christ’s voice is unmistakable when we are in the habit of listening. Let’s get ourselves into the habit of listening for His voice everyday, all the time.
Abba, I present myself to You as Your apprentice, even Your slave; do with me as You will. Of course, I’m counting on Your own words that You are humble and gentle, and that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30). But, I also remember what you said to Paul as he was beginning to walk with you, “I will show him how much he must suffer for My name.” Acts 9:16. I receive that verse, too. I’m for whatever is going to bring You the most glory, LORD. I am Yours to do with as You please. Amen.