Different members of our church family write these reflections each week to go along with the two year reading plan the church is participating in. It is our hope that these reflections help you to get in to your Bible throughout the week and be challenged by the word of God.
Read Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 (Monday 1/22)
Has anyone ever asked you for help with something because they knew you had more experience or skill with the subject than they did? Then did they talk over your advice? Did they insist that their way was better than yours, and make excuses for their contrary decisions? You might have wished that they would just be quiet and listen for a minute, or maybe you wondered why they even came to you at all.
Going to God with our ideas, hopes, concerns, and desires is good, but expecting that He will definitely agree with us and follow our plan is not smart. It’s like saying, “Okay, here’s the deal, God: I did all the figuring already so all you have to do is make the plan happen.”
Sometimes I stress so much about what I’m supposed to say or do, that I forget to actually listen when I ask God what He thinks. I get an idea in my head of what should be, and don’t even bother to listen to what God is telling me. I worry that I can’t tell what I should do, or that I can’t hear God, but I’m really just letting my own doubts and desires drown out His voice.
These verses are a wake-up call, for sure. Actually, they sort of feel like a slap in the face. Don’t come to God expecting that you know what’s best. Don’t come with a thorough explanation or excuses. Don’t come ready to tell God what to do. Instead, just be quiet and listen for a minute.
For reflection: Are you willing to hear God, or do you just want Him to agree with you? Meditate on God’s word this week, and when you pray, take time to be still and listen.
Read James 4 (1/27 Saturday)
Have you ever spent so much energy wanting something you didn’t have, that you were consumed by envy? I’m pretty sure every human (except Jesus, of course) has coveted something, to some extent, at least once in their life. But just because this is a common situation, doesn’t mean it’s okay.
In fact, James uses very inflammatory language when he speaks out against envy. He says when we act like the rest of the world, we are like enemies of God. Enemies of God provoke dissension and wreak havoc on the Church. Not good.
So what’s the fix? Letting God take control. When we submit to God, we place everything under His will, including the life we think we want, the things we wish we had, the people we wish we could be like. God’s desires become so important that we are no longer consumed by our own worldly desires. He gives us grace to resist the sin of covetousness, and avoid the wrongs that stem from it.
On top of helping us avoid all the bad stuff, God promises to draw near to us when we put Him first. As far as I know, there’s nothing better than that.
For reflection: Are you envious of another’s blessing? How can you focus on God’s goodness instead of what you don’t have?
Reflections written by Sarah Rico