Listen Around You!

“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.” -Proverbs 11:14 (NIV)

Why do totalitarian states fail? The answer can actually be boiled down to one simple answer; one man runs the show. When a person is given or assumes absolute power, his will also gains unquestionable supremacy.  Any opposition to the desires of the leader is placed under charges of subversion, real or imagined, and is summarily eliminated. With no external body to offer helpful critique and counsel without the fear of repercussions, it is necessary that the success of the nation be solely dependent on the leader’s wisdom. However, no one can guarantee that the policies he enacts or the decisions he makes will be beneficial to the health of the nation and the wellbeing of its people. Therefore, with the absence of an accountability system, victory eludes the regime of the totalitarian ruler and decay is inevitable unless total change is set in motion.

God wants us to live in accordance with His wisdom. He does not desire this for His own sake, but for ours. So that we may not be ensnared by our folly, He wants to guide our steps and live in the freedom and security which comes from abiding in Him. Yet often God places people in our path so that through them He may speak His wisdom into our lives.  When we ignore these voices in our pride and worship of our limited capacity to reason, we set ourselves on the path of destruction. But while we are to listen to what others have to say, their advice must be tested against the Word of God. Only when we have the Spirit of Christ residing in us, allowing His redemptive work in our lives to shatter our pride and draw ourselves closer to Him, will we be able to gain discernment. Armed with this we will know by the wisdom of Christ in us the advice which God wants us to hear, and the unsound counsel which should be ignored. Stubbornness in our flawed understanding will only lead to our defeat. But there is victory if we listen to the voice of God.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Small In Our Eyes, Big In His

“Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” –Luke 12:7b (NIV)

By their own merits sparrows are actually quite insignificant. They cannot boast of the size and strength of a mighty eagle for example because they are small and weak by comparison. Neither can the sparrow boast of being symbols of power and prestige because unlike the eagle, sparrows do not adorn the flags and emblems of nations. A sparrow can not even take pride in its own rarity because they are so numerous and common, and can be found in many parts of world.  Yet despite these qualities that the sparrow seemingly has going against it, God still loves and cares for them. Being His precious creations He sustains and provides for each and every one them; His eyes never leaving them for a moment in His unfailing love.

Sometimes we may feel like sparrows. Comparing ourselves to those who seem to have it all in terms of wealth and reputation, it is human tendency to become insecure. Seeing ourselves as begin merely ordinary and insignificant, we wonder if anyone cares about our joys and struggles. We long to be noticed and loved, and when we do not feel these things, loneliness and misery are the result. But the truth is no matter how small or inconsequential we feel, we are loved by the Creator of the Universe himself. We are not only God’s creations, but bearers of His image like how a child bears the imprints of his parents.  In the eyes of Christ we are worth far more than anything we can imagine and He wants to be in relationship with us so that He will fulfil the great plans He has in store for us. When we have allowed His Spirit to enter our hearts and redeem us from our sinful nature which separated us from Him, we will know what it means to rest in His love as we submit ourselves to Him. In doing this Christ will prove His love to us as He takes our lives and transforms them into testaments to His faithfulness; showing the world that no one is insignificant to Him and drawing others into the hope which only comes from knowing Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Don’t Get Bitten!

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” –Matthew 24:12 (NIV)

Frostbite is not a pleasant thing to have. It occurs when one has had prolonged exposure to subzero temperatures without adequate protection. As a result of this exposure to the cold, the blood vessels in the body begin to constrict; preventing the heart from pumping blood to the exposed areas. If not treated in time the affected areas can develop gangrene or even fall off as the skin tissue deteriorates. Frostbite has claimed the fingers, toes, and even limbs of soldiers fighting in freezing temperatures, scientists working in the frigid polar regions of the globe, and ordinary people who simply did not prepare for the cold. That is why we dress warmly before going out into winter’s chill; so that we are protected from the consequences of frostbite.

Sin is like frostbite to our souls. It slowly creeps into our being and in the process causes love to be cut off from our lives. While it may seem tantalizing at first, Satan uses sin to deceive us into thinking that bringing glory and pleasure to ourselves is the highest good. However, while we are being deceived, our wickedness will enslave us to destructive habits which will only bring pain and misery to ourselves and to others. Just as how frostbite causes limbs to fall off, sin will make sure that love is absent from our hearts as it directs us to the worship of ourselves. But as we see ourselves crumbling piece by piece through sin’s vicious work, we wonder if there is any way we can regain what was lost. Yet the great assurance is that there is healing and restoration through Christ. When we have allowed Him to enter our hearts and carry out His redemptive work in our lives, He will purge evil from our lives and clothe us in His righteousness. Through His death His blood has washed of our sin and through His resurrection we are given a new nature marked by His love. By being clothed with His Spirit and keeping in step with Him, sin will not gain a foothold and will thereby allow His love to shine brightly for all to see.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.