Christ calls us to love one another. Paul even went as far as to say to “submit” to one another in Ephesians 5:21, Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Submitting does not mean being a doormat. It means to subordinate so we can receive the promises of Christ. If we are willing to follow Christ and work in accordance to His plan, we are more willing to obey His commands and live according to God’s perfect plan for our lives and for the big picture.
God does not tell us to avoid contact with unbelievers; quite the contrary. We are called by Christ to love others as He loved us and to lead them to Him. However, we are to be an influence in this world and we are to guard ourselves from being influenced by it. In Ephesians 5:6 Paul says, Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. We must always remember that the promises of this world are fleeting and hold temporary satisfaction and fulfillment. It is through our love and obedience of God that we are able to make an eternal impact on those around us.
The knowledge of Christ and a relationship with Him are two separate things. In Ephesians 4:21 Paul reminds the Ephesians of this, Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. As believers who have a relationship with Christ, and who study His word, we are taught the truth of who Christ is and how we are to be a reflection of Him. We have no excuses when we believe in these truths. If we fail, it is because of a conscious decision to rebel against what we know is true.
We all have our good days and our bad. We all sin and make mistakes. The body of Christ is there to support us in our times of need, just as we are there to support the body of Christ when others need us. We do this because we have a common love created and supported by the love Christ has for us. In Ephesians 7:16 Paul says, From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. As individuals we have our weaknesses, but as a body of believers we are strong and have very few gaps in our faith. If we were all a little more open to understanding how we can work together as a body of Christ, we would all be stronger in our faith and stronger in influence and deed.
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.
In today’s Psalm, David’s pray to God is for protection from those who threaten and slander him. In Psalm 140:4 David says, Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from men of violence who plan to trip my feet. When we are able to focus on our relationship with God, we turn our focus away from the things that threaten to harm us. Keeping our eyes firmly on God allows us to be led more effectively by God.
At the end of this Psalm, David asks God to search for any wickedness in his life. In Psalm 139:23-24 David says, 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. David is not challenging God to find him perfect, he is challenging God to identify sin and make it known so he can fix it. Too often we justify our sin and make excuses for the choices we make. If we are honest and open our hearts and minds to God, He will help us.
The “fear” of the Lord is not meant as a cowering response to God, it is a reverence and respect for our Creator, Savior, and Lord. Psalm 128:1 says, Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways. God never stops pursuing us, but it is our acceptance and obedience of Him where our blessing come.
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.