You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
The Message (MSG)
The World Is Not a Stage
6 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
Pray with Simplicity
5 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names and sacrifice are “Know but to God.”
Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather. In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, my home town, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane.
Underlying Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 6:1-6, I believe, is His desire for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience, not orchestrated acts for self-glorification. The Apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to live unto God.
May our private and public moments speak of our devotion and wholehearted commitment to you, Lord. The more we serve Christ, the less we will swerve self.
Grant us the strength this day, O Lord, to persevere, to return honor to your name where we are serving. Our desire is to give our self in selfless devotion because of your love for us.
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Jesus…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross. Hebrews 12:2
Christ’s devotion to His Father and to God’s love for me kept Him on the cross. It was His unwavering commitment to His heavenly Father that prompted Him to begin ministry by submitting Himself to baptism by John. It was Christ’s devotion to His Father that motivated Him to spend forty days in the desert, alone and needy, so that He could be tempted with everything I might face–and yet remain victorious. It was because of His dedication to His Father that Christ enduerd the rejection, hatred, and betrayal of the very people He would die for. Christ’s devoted commitment was ultimately displayed in the turning point of human history–His death on the cross.
Hebrews tells us that Christ endured the cross because He looked forward to the joy of the days before Him. That means He so looked forward to a relationship with me that He was willing to die. The joy of the relationship with me is a part of what motivated Christ to put up with all the ridicule and disappointment.
We need a taste of that devotion if our marriages, friendships, relationships are to survive the tests life is sure to bring. Couples often ask for maritial help after one of life’s tragedies, such as a baby lost in labor, a bankruptcy, or a rebellious teenager. None of us is exempt from life’s pain, but couples seem to take two distinct paths as they recover from life’s hurts. For some couples, tragedy draws them closer together. For others, tragedy seems to break the already fragile relationship. My wife and I have suffered several tragedies in the past year, homelessness, joblessness, loneliness, financial bankrupcy,hope depleted due to the strain of what others were thinking of our all of a sudden sufferings to destitution, but we stayed devoted to the number one strand that holds our life together and that is Jesus. We went to jail for working a job that we found on Career Builders. We found out it was a scam 4 weeks into trying to save our home and comfortable exsistance. Faced with new felonies and no one wanting to trust us as being valid individuals, we were perplexed at first about what to do. We began to stand and pray staying in a position of humility. God gave temporary housing and revelation knowledge about why people react and work and live as They do. We moved on with trust in God’s provisions and found a family that was willing to endure with us what it took to get us on our feet again. devotion is the key that starts the hand of God to make all things work together for the good of them that love Him and are called according to His purpose.
I found out after watching so many of my cohorts suffer devorce due to the same trials I was facing, maybe not jail and the felon who is not able to get work due to the injustice associated with being apart of an un forgiven society, but finances didn’t allow their spouses to stand nor did the men stand for Christ. The couples who survive life’s tragedies are the ones who show devotion in the everyday things. They express commitment and devotion to one another regularly through acts of devotion, big and small. They love Jesus and listen to Him on the day of corporate worship, they hear Him when they have times of devotion with them closed in with the holy spirit and The word of God, they pray together about what is troubling them. They pray for the world and those who mistreat them. The put their enemies before God, they put their neighbors on the alter, they speak life about the promises they remind God that He said in His word. Lord do as you have said for your servant is the cry of them doing times of prayer.
We are not where we want to be, but we are where God dwells. We will get to be stewards again of our own. We beleive God is doing things that only He knows about. Lord, help us to remember to perform acts of devotion for each other in marriage and mankind. If you are upon a time in your life that requires devotion to God and the one you are with, stay connected to the hand that is scared for you.