Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Conflicts that Rattle our Security—What Does that Say About Us?
O Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! 2 Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” Selah. 3 But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. 4 To the Lord I cry aloud and he answers me from his holy hill.
This Psalm was King David’s prayer when his own son Absalom, after having overtaken the throne, was looking to kill him. For some people, their own family becomes a seedbed of trouble instead of a place of comfort. Even Jesus’ own family rejected Him at first as the Son of God, believing that he was crazy. In fact, on one occasion, when [Jesus’] family heard [about what he was doing], they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind” (Mk. 3:21).
Where people live side-by-side, conflicts are inevitable. I am sure in your work and church, you encounter people who are better or worse endowed than you in terms of education, talent, physical appearance, and socioeconomics. That’s just a fact of life! Wherever humans live, that will always be the case!
Therefore, one source of conflict is dealing with those who seem to be better or less endowed than us. If our measurement is more impressive than that of others, we become condescending toward the latter; but if the reverse is the case, we are given to unhappiness and envy. What does this then say about the basis of your security?
Looking at what happened to David (losing his secure position overnight to his own son), where should our security and confidence come from? What is the theological basis for our security in Christ? Our security is rooted in God’s unconditional acceptance of us, regardless of our demerits. Romans 15:7 declares, “Christ accepted you”—just as we are, in him.
So what are some practical steps we need to take (2 Cor. 10:12)? One practical step is refusing to compare ourselves with others. Learning to be content is the key. Are you content in Christ?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for this wonderful new day of experiencing again your amazing love & grace. I lift up to You every member of my family that each may know the surpassing love of Christ and be found in Him!
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Kings 4
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 18:9-14: He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Questions to Consider
- To whom was this parable said?
- Why was this said?
- Why is humility so important in being justified (i.e., saved) by God (Eph. 2:8-9)?
- This was said to unnamed people who, like the Pharisees, mocked others on account of their flawless obedience to the requirements of the Law.
- This was said because Jesus wanted to make sure that his hearers understood what God was looking for: a humble and penitent heart over those who are intoxicated and impressed with their own religiosity.
- Without it, humans will boast that their good works, at the very least, nudged God toward saving them. When good works are added, according to Paul, we fall away from grace (Gal. 5:4-5).
Though family relationships can stress us out, they can shed much light on God’s love and grace as well. Did you have any interesting experiences with anyone in your family? Have you resolved the last family conflict? If not, then ask God to give you the strength to reconcile. Don’t delay. Trust God who, in all things, including our conflicts, works for the good of those who love him (Rom. 8:28)? Even as we pray for and love our family, we look to God for comfort; He alone is our deliverance and our security!