Drawing from the Source
For us who believe in Jesus, contentment should be governed by inner attitude and the decisions we make rather than by external circumstances. Because Paul had learned this secret, he was able to experience joy and peace in any kind of situation—whether he was surrounded by friends or isolated in a Roman prison; whether he had plenty or was in great need.
The apostle understood what it meant to live in Christ and to have Christ living in him (John 15:1-9; Galatians 5:22-23). He had made a simple but profound faith decision to draw his life from the Lord and, as a result, had the calm assurance that what he possessed inside could never be stolen. He was confident in his identity as a child of the Almighty, with full access to the abundant life Jesus offers.
I want to challenge you—this week, when something threatens to steal your contentment, choose to draw from God; decide to stop drawing from other sources and trying to be in control. When you find yourself becoming flustered, anxious, or angry, stop and say, “Lord, You are my source, and I draw from You the capacity to be kind. I draw from You the forgiveness I need to extend right now. I draw from You the love I need to express.” This decision is a matter of simple trust.
Watch and see how God will quiet your spirit and provide confidence when you draw only from Him as your source. You’ll be surprised at your own attitude: When you respond from within—rather than from the flesh—Jesus will give you the ability to respond as He would.
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12
The Golden Rule is found, in varying forms, in all religious and cultural traditions, many predating the time of Christ. Ethicists call it the “rule of reciprocity”—letting how we desire others to act toward us be the guide for how we act toward them. But when Jesus Christ stated His version of the Golden Rule, He gave it a twist that had been missing in other cultures.
Prior to Jesus, the rule of reciprocity had been stated in negative terms only. For instance, the Jewish book of Tobit said, “Do to no one what you yourself dislike.” In other words, prior to Jesus, the Golden Rule focused on what not to do to others. But when Jesus stated it, He put it in positive terms: “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” Instead of only withholding negative actions, Jesus said to demonstrate positive actions: Be proactive in your behavior toward others by loving them the same way you would want to be loved. He said such a proactive posture was a good way to summarize the whole Old Testament: “the Law and the Prophets.”
Not doing bad things is commendable, but doing good things is even better. Doing both is to love as God loves.
Our job is to love people we don’t have to love. Keith Miller
Recommended Reading: Galatians 5:13-14