Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous. 1 Peter 3:8
Everything was going wrong for Randa Ragland of Pinson, Alabama. Her husband lost his job; she was battling health issues; and the couple’s 3-year-old son, who is autistic and nonverbal, was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma. That’s when Randa opened the mailbox and found an anonymous note from a neighbor criticizing her lawn for falling into disrepair. Randa posted the note on social media to encourage others to be patient with their neighbors because we never know what kind of hardships others are bearing. The post spread from person to person, and the next day a lawn service showed up to take care of her grass. Volunteers came to work inside and outside the house. And others brought groceries. Somehow a nasty note brought a community together.
If a nasty note can create so much unity, what about the power of inspired Scripture! The world is divided and angry, but when we saturate our minds with Scripture and develop the mind of Christ, it creates unity in our churches and homes and with others. It makes us tenderhearted.
The Holy Spirit imparts a courteous mind.
How To Attract Flies – 1 Peter 3:8-12 – Skip Heitzig
You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29
At a museum, I lingered near a display of ancient lamps. A sign revealed they were from Israel. Decorated with carved designs, these oval-shaped clay vessels had two openings—one for fuel, and one for a wick. Although the Israelites commonly used them in wall alcoves, each was small enough to fit in the palm of a person’s hand.
Perhaps a little light like this inspired King David to write a praise song in which he said, “You Lord are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29). David sang these words after God gave him victory in battle. Rivals from both inside and outside his own nation had been stalking him, intending to kill him. Because of his relationship with God, David didn’t cower in the shadows. He moved forward into enemy confrontations with the confidence that comes from God’s presence. With God helping him, he could see things clearly so he could make good decisions for himself, his troops, and his nation.
The darkness David mentioned in his song likely involved fear of weakness, defeat, and death. Many of us live with similar worries, which produce anxiety and stress. When the darkness presses in on us, we can find peace because we know God is with us too. The divine flame of the Holy Spirit lives in us to light our path until we meet Jesus face to face.
Reflect & Pray
Why can you trust God to help you with your fears? What can you do to seek God’s guidance in your life?
God, please assure me of Your presence when I’m afraid. Help me to remember that You’ve defeated spiritual darkness through Your death and resurrection.
Our heavenly Father desires that we walk closely with Him. To help us, the Holy Spirit guides us on the right path and redirects us when we are headed in the wrong direction. In other words, He convicts us when we are in danger of straying.
Conviction is God’s loving hand steering us back to the path that leads to life. To better understand the concept, picture a parent whose toddler begins to chase a ball into a busy street. The youngster has only one desire at that moment: to retrieve the toy. The parent, however, would be negligent if he or she did not stop the child.
We, like the toddler in this example, view our life from a limited perspective. If our heavenly Father stops us from achieving a desire, it seems frustrating. But we must remember that the Almighty is acting out of His love for us.
Conviction begins even before salvation. The Holy Spirit reveals our wrongs to help us recognize that we need forgiveness. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and choose to follow Him, we are born again. Only then are we free from the penalty of sin. At the same time, we are still human and will make some poor choices. So, even after we are His children, God continues to redirect us.
Conviction is different from condemnation. Remember that “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). So though believers at times will sin, they are justified by Christ’s sacrifice and free from condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)
Scripture frequently refers to the Christian life and work in athletic or combative terms. When all things are considered, reason compels the Christian to enter into the race and fight.
First, our Commander is worth following. He leads us into battle and stands with us on the front lines receiving the fiercest fire: “Let us run with patience the race. . . . Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Second, we are well-armed and protected. The “whole armour of God” includes the girdle of “truth,” the “breastplate of righteousness,” shoes of “the preparation of the gospel of peace,” “the shield of faith,” “the helmet of salvation,” and “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:13-17). The warrior’s mouth is filled with prayers and bold speech (vv.18-20); his sword has no scabbard, and his back has no armor, for retreat is unthinkable.
The goal of our fight urges us on. We strive to undermine the kingdom of darkness and to fill it with light. Each must battle on to exalt our Leader and to champion His Word. “Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:3).
To the victor belong the spoils. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Revelation 3:21). We no longer will be soldiers, but kings; we will trade our battle armor for robes, washed and made “white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). Our helmet will be replaced by an “incorruptible” crown (1 Corinthians 9:25)—“a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give [us] at that day” (2 Timothy 4:8). JDM
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
—2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Ten thousand enemies cannot stop a Christian, cannot even slow him down, if he meets them in an attitude of complete trust in God. They will become to him like the atmosphere that resists the airplane, but which because the plane’s designer knew how to take advantage of that resistance, actually lifts the plane aloft and holds it there for a journey of 2,000 miles. What would have been an enemy to the plane becomes a helpful servant to aid it on its way….
If this should seem like a bit of theorizing, remember that always the greatest Christians have come out of hard times and tough situations. Tribulations actually worked for their spiritual perfection in that they taught them to trust not in themselves but in the Lord who raised the dead. They learned that the enemy could not block their progress unless they surrendered to the urgings of the flesh and began to complain. And slowly, they learned to stop complaining and start praising. It is that simple—and it works! WTA032-033
Lord, I pray for Your grace to work within me that I might allow the trials to lift me aloft rather than press me down. Amen.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.—1 John 4:11.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.—John 13:35.
Do I find love so full in my nature, God’s ultimate gift, That I doubt His own love can compete with it? Here, the parts shift?
Here, the creature surpass the Creator,—the end, what Began?
Would I fain in my impotent yearning do all for this man, And dare doubt He alone shall not help him, who yet alone can?
Come unto me,” says the holy Jesus, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” Beg of Him to be the light and life of your soul; love the sound of His name; for Jesus is the love, the sweetness, the compassionate goodness of the Deity itself; which became man, that so men might have the power to become the sons of God. Love, and pity, and wish well to every soul in the world; dwell in love and then you dwell in God.
The Lord’s love is the love of communicating all that He has to all His creatures; for He desires the happiness of all; and a similar love prevails in those who love Him, because the Lord is in them.
“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” Mark 9:23
Our unbelief is the greatest hindrance in our way; in fact, there is no other real difficulty as to our spiritual progress and prosperity. The Lord can do everything; but when He makes a rule that according to our faith so shall it be unto us, our unbelief ties the hands of His Omnipotence.
Yes, the confederacies of evil shall be scattered if we can but believe. Despised truth shall lift its head if we will but have confidence in the God of truth. We can bear our load of trouble, or pass uninjured through the waves of distress, if we can gird our loins with the girdle of peace, that girdle which is buckled on by the hands of trust.
What can we not believe? Is everything possible except believing in God? Yet He is always true; why do we not believe Him? He is always faithful to His word; why can we not trust Him? When we are in a right state of heart faith costs no effort: it is then as natural for us to rely upon God as for a child to trust its father.
The worst of it is, that we can believe God about everything except the present pressing trial. This -is folly. Come, my soul, shake off such sinfulness, and trust thy God with the load, the labor, the longing of this present. This done, all is done.