Bible Reference: Hebrews 12:14-15
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)
Bible Text: 14 Try to stay out of all quarrels, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for one who is not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that not one of you will fail to find God’s best blessings. Watch out that no bitterness takes root among you, for as it springs up it causes deep trouble, hurting many in their spiritual lives.
OBSERVATION: We hear a lot about family divisions, church splits, and of course divorces, but in God’s Word He tells us that we are to stay away from quarrels and always seek to live holy lives before the Lord. Oh, and while aiming for that perfection, make sure that no one in your group wanders away from God’s best blessing, and creates a point of bitterness, envy, distrust, that may therefore cause others to avoid the rich blessings of the Lord.
APPLICATION: In life, we hear a lot about how people look out for themselves – how they earn as much money as they possibly could, so that they could have everything they desire, and go places that others barely think of. This may prove to be a successful path for some, while for others the same path may lead them into selfish attitudes, who may think that they worked so hard, so that they could make it to the top, and they deserve everything that they have, so that they could enjoy travel and the other joys of life that they have dreamed of over the years. Very successful people, you might say, for they set their goals and worked hard to achieve them. I will not try to disagree with how you might feel about your friends that you identified in my description above, but as a Brother in Christ I feel compelled to draw your attention to what the Scripture demands of us individually, in hopes that we will never find ourselves in that ‘selfish’ corner. I believe that God created us to be successful, but first and foremost, I believe that God created us in His own image, so that we might never lose sight of our creator. In fact, I believe that He has built into us a deep desire to obey and imitate Him, and to even worship Him as our Creator. These things will cause us to always remember Him as our Father. When we place ourselves in the position of the created one, the worshiper and the obedient servant, why do you suppose that we would desire anything that displeases our Master and Lord? Friends, this whole devotional can be summed up in short by admonishing you to: Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior; worship Him in humility as your Lord; Obey His every command; follow in His footsteps, guided by His Word, so that you may act, look and sound just like Him to a lost and dying world. When you do this my friend, you are bound to avoid the things He avoided, live the way He lived, and desire the ‘good life’ for others around you, just the way that He chose you and called you unto Himself. I love the way that verse 15 admonishes us to feel secure in our relationship with the Lord, and to show proof of our oneness with God by looking out for our neighbor – those around us, just like He did with us. If our neighbors neglect the Lord, or if Satan tempts them in ways that affect their good standing, then we had best look at supporting them and encouraging them, before their negativity, hatred or other hideous actions start to affect us. Furthermore, when that neighbor hurts, we should also hurt and we should be drawn to help them turn their life around. So yes, we must stay in close relationship with God so that we might mirror His goodness here on this earth, BUT we also have a responsibility to look on and help our neighbor as well. I trust that you will make every effort to help your neighbor along this tough road of life, just like God held out His hand and pulled you up from the sin that held you back.
PRAYER: Thank You Lord for saving my soul, thank You Lord for making me whole. Thank You Lord for giving to me, thy great salvation so rich and free! Now I beg You Lord, to help my readers and I to not only boast in that oneness with You, but to share that love, and Your salvation, with all those around us – our neighbors. People need the Lord, amen? May they see our Savior so prevalent in our lives that they will want to know Him, accept Him and serve Him the rest of their lives. AMEN!