The unity we experience as believers should be prevalent and obvious to those around us. Ephesians 4:4-6 Paul says, 4 There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. In reality, many times we experience anything but unity. We focus on majoring in the minors and fail to look at the big picture. If we cannot see the “big picture” message of Christ, which is to love God and love others, then we fail our mission from Him. We need to focus on the things that bind us and not on the things that divide.
The freedom we received through Christ is immense. Without Christ our approachability to God would be limited, just as it was for the Jewish people in the Old Testament. In Ephesians 3:12 Paul says, In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. We have confidence because of the freedom we have through Christ and it is because of Him that we can have true relationship with God.
In Psalm 144:4 David reminds us, Man is like a breath; his days are like fleeting shadow. This is very similar to James 4:14 where it says, “…You are a midst that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” God never promised us eternal life here on earth; He promised it with Him in eternity. But God did place us here on earth for a purpose. Let us not waste our time on inferior endeavors that have little to no impact in the light of eternity. Let us live our life with purpose, constantly seeking God’s will for our lives.
A prayer for guidance is self-centered if it is not accompanied by a recognition that God has the power to redirect our path. Wanting guidance to fit out wants and ignoring God’s will is not obedience. Psalm 143:10 says, Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. David asked God to teach him to do God’s will and not his own. We should be asking God to open our eyes to His will so that we may know the right direction for our lives and align our wills with God’s.
We all get overwhelmed by our circumstances and stress. And while we don’t always turn to God as our first response, He is the best solution to all our problems in ever situation. In Psalm 142:1 David begins the Psalm with a plea for help, I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. There is no question God is the only guaranteed solution to all our problems. We may not always like the answers, and our requests may not be answered exactly as we had envisioned in our minds, but when God answers our prayers, it is the best answer in the light of eternity.
Sometime, in our sorrow, we forget what it’s like to be joyful. When the Israelites were exiled or in captivity, they would work hard to maintain their culture and their identity as God’s chosen people. Often that identity was tied to their life back in Jerusalem. In Psalm 137:5 the author wants to desperately remember his identity as God’s chosen and what it meant to live as a free and sovereign nation under God: If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. For us, when we are far from God or when we have lost our joy because of the sorrow in our lives, we should cling closely to our identity in Christ and the freedom we have from salvation, regardless of our present circumstances. While this is easier said than done, there will be times when this is all we have.
As the body of Christ here on earth, we should live in unity and encourage one another to build a closer relationship with God. Unfortunately, too often we focus on minor differences of opinion. Psalm 133:1 says, How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! When we live in harmony with one another, we can spend more time focusing on Christ rather than ourselves. I believe disharmony is the greatest tool Satan has at his disposal. When we are focused internally on simple disagreements it becomes easy to lose focus on what’s really important.
Pride creates a sense of self-importance that takes away God’s glory. It also removes our ability to see the simple things in our lives as what has true value. In Psalm 131:1 David says, My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. If we are able to look to God for the simple things and trust in Him for what’s important, then we are able to relax and know He is ultimately in control and all glory goes to Him.
It’s hard to imagine how a burned down forest is restored in just a few short years. God’s ability to restore is beyond our ability to comprehend. In Psalm 126:5-6 the Psalmist paints a picture of a farmer sowing seeds with faith they will turn into a harvest, 5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. 6 He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. If we have faith, we know God can turn even the greatest sorrows in our lives back into joy if we allow Him to restore us. Remember: God’s harvest of joy will come because He has the ability to fully restore us if we let Him.
There is no problem which is too big for God. If He is the creator of all things, then our problems are not too big for him. David says in Psalm 124:8, Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. God knows the way out of your circumstances. He is able to guide you through it. In the previous verse, David compared this to God’s ability to guide a bird through the escape of a fowler’s snare. We just need to trust Him and obey His guidance and we will make it through.