In today’s post, we are continuing to ask God to light our path and direct our steps. This week I have received the message of the Great Commandments over and over again. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
In a post the other day, Why Don’t We Follow God’s Revealed Path for Us? I quoted Scripture from Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Solomon knew that when his actions and motives pleased God, God rewarded him with peace. When pride and greed entered his heart, he began to travel down the road to chaos and destruction. No matter what good we do, God knows our motivation for doing it. God judges our motives, not simply our actions. I have abided in this Scripture and thoughts for several days.
There are many good things that we do for others. What is important is not what we do, but why we do them. In other words, what is in our hearts? Are we engaging in an action to share the love of Jesus Christ from our hearts, or are we performing an act of kindness because it makes us look good or from a sense of duty? When we perform acts of kindness from anything but love, we likely will not be satisfied–and may even endure discouragement and exhaustion. When we feel like that, maybe we should stop to ask if we are acting in God’s power or our own.
The other day I read something about wounds and discouragement from Fr. Mike, “Sometimes God lets you endure the discouragement. He lets you live with it. Why? Sometimes it’s those discouragements that lead you to Him more than ever…He wants our hearts more than our healing.” “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve. Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools.” (Jer. 17:10-11) There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything. Receiving anything (including praise) unjustly won’t bring God’s blessing or lasting happiness.
If we are the ones planning our course instead of walking in the steps established by our Lord God, we are walking in our own power and not His. Our power will never be sufficient – and God did not design us to be self-sufficient, but to be dependent upon Him. “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2)
The picture on this post is of a statue at the Christ the King Church in San Diego. The story goes that vandals broke off the hands of Jesus on the statue. Rather than having the statue repaired, the pastor chose to put a plaque at the base of the statue that reads, “I have no hands but yours”. It’s a reminder that we are to be His hands and feet to others – out of love. “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corin. 4:6-7)
“We (the body of Christ) are to be His hands to one another. We are to be His feet to one another. We are to offer His help to one another. We are to live out our relationships to one another in light of our relationship with Christ. We are to be the manifestation of Jesus to one another. This is our ultimate calling as His disciples.” (Dr. Tony Evans, “Horizontal Jesus”)