Favored of God

Exodus 33:11-14 And Jehovah spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he turned again to the camp; but his minister Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the Tent. And Moses said to Jehovah, See, you said to me, ‘Bring up this people; and you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Now, therefore, I pray, if I have found _ in your sight, show me now your ways, that I may know you, to the end that I may find favor in your sight, and consider that this nation is your people.’ And he said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.’

Psalms 5:12 For you will bless the righteous, O Jehovah, you will compass him with favor as with a shield.

Psalms 30:4-5: Sing praise to Jehovah, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy memorial name. For his anger is but for a moment, his favor is for a life-time. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Proverbs 12:2: A good man shall obtain favor of Jehovah, but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.

Proverbs 11:27: He who diligently seeks good seeks favor, but he who searches after evil, it shall come to him.

Proverbs 14:35: The king’s favor is toward a servant who deals wisely, but his wrath will be against him who causes shame.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, favor is “a friendly attitude, an act of kindness, an indulgence, friendly regard shown by a superior, approval or support.” In the Strong’s Concordance, the Greek translation is “graciousness of manner or act; the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life.”

So, what does it mean to be ‘favored of God’?

A good example of this is Noah. Genesis 6:8 says that Noah found grace—or favor—with God. And because of this favor, Noah and his family were the only ones saved and left to inhabit the earth after the flood which destroyed the world.

Another example is Joseph. Remember the guy who was favored by his father with the famous coat of many colors (yeah, parental favoritism), thrown into a pit by his jealous brothers, then sold by them to a group of Mindianites and taken to Egypt where he was made a slave? Doesn’t sound like favor, does it? But read on.

This same Joseph had so much favor with God because of his positive, Godly attitude that even those for whom he worked prospered. Read it in Genesis 39-42. He was made overseer in his master’s house until his master’s wife got a crush on him, and when he did not respond favorably, she accused him of rape and had him thrown into jail. There God gave him favor and he was put in charge of the other prisoners.

After more than two years when the King had a very disturbing dream someone remembered that Joseph had interpreted dreams in prison, and he was called on to interpret the King’s dream. Recognizing the Spirit of God on Joseph, the King placed him as Governor over all Egypt, with the King only over him in authority.

Because of widespread famine, surrounding countries came to Joseph for help, and the day came when his brothers bowed before him asking for food. His brothers did not recognize the one whom they had sold many years before, but Joseph recognized them and forgave them. Do you see why Joseph was so favored? He kept the ways of God.

Moses was also favored by God. The Lord spoke to him “face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Moses intervened between God and the Israelites when God was so angry with their rebellion that He intended to kill them and replace them. Moses said to God, (paraphrased), “See, you told me to take the people and you have not even told me who you will send with me. Yet you say you know me and favor me. If you favor me, show me what you are going to do, and remember, these people are yours, not mine.”

Was Moses being brave or stupid here?

Neither, really. He just had the kind of relationship with God that he could do that. God listened to Moses and gave him what he asked because Moses found favor with God. And Jehovah said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that you he asked; for you have found favor in my sight and I know you by name (Exodus 33:17).

Is favor with God a ‘man’ thing? Definitely not!

A young Jewish girl, Esther, was in the running for the position of Queen when the presiding Queen rebelled against the King and was to be replaced. The scriptures say of her, Now when the turn of Esther, the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her for his daughter, was come to go in unto the King, she required nothing but what Hegai the king’s chamberlain, the keeper of the women, appointed. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all them that looked upon her (Esther 2:15). When she was taken before the King, Esther was chosen above all the young women. And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti (Esther 2:17).

Later because of the favor given Esther, the Jews were saved from Haman, one of the King’s own men who planned to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire kingdom. She was willing to risk her life for her people by approaching the King unbidden, which could have resulted in her death should he have not wanted to see her at that moment. But again, she found favor with him and he heard her request and ultimately hanged Haman.

According to Luke 1:28-31, Mary, the mother of Jesus was also “highly favored” when she was chosen to bear the Christ child. God didn’t/wouldn’t choose just any woman to bear His son. Mary listened and did as she was told without hesitation. No wonder God chose her to be the mother of his only begotten Son!

See what favor can do? So, how do we get favor?

Listen to God, hear instruction, seek God.

Proverbs 8:32-35: Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me, for blessed are that that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso finds me finds life and shall obtain favor of Jehovah.

Proverbs 3:1-6 My son, forget not my law; But let thy heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and years of life, and peace, will they add to thee. Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart: So shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, and lean not upon thine own understanding: In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths.

Get understanding and live right

Proverbs 11:27 He that diligently seeks good seeks favor; But he that searches after evil, it shall come unto him.

Proverbs 13:15 Good understanding giveth favor; But the way of the transgressor is hard.

Psalms 5:12 For you will bless the righteous; O Jehovah, you will compass him with favor as with a shield.

Serve one another, be in unity.

Acts 2:44-47 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart,

praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved.

Ask for it.

Psalms 90:17 And let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And establish thou the work of our hands upon us; Yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Be grateful for it!

 Psalms 30:3-5 O Jehovah, thou hast brought up my soul from Sheol; Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Psalms 30:4-5 Sing praise unto Jehovah, O ye saints of his, And give thanks to his holy memorial name. For his anger is but for a moment; His favor is for a life-time: Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

 How can favor benefit me?

 Look at Joseph. He was promoted time and again because he had favor. Favor will bring success and blessings to your life. In Esther’s case, favor won her a position as Queen and later saved her people. Abraham was chosen to father the nation that was to be God’s chosen people because he found favor with God. James 2:23 says that he was a friend of God.

Can you imagine having such a relationship with almighty God that He would call you His friend? Favor can help you in relationships, in your job, financially, and in many other ways. Just as those in your life are affected by the choices you make, favor also trickles down on those around you. Joseph’s favor affected his family and ultimately the whole Jewish nation.

The favor we attain is not for us as much as it is for others and for the Kingdom of God. Nothing can be more rewarding that having the favor of God.

A Chosen Generation

1Peter 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Generations are sometimes labeled by certain attributes which make them stand out from other generations. The generation after World War II was the ‘Baby Boom’ generation, the generation of the 60s was the ‘peace and love’ generation, the 80s, the ‘disco’ generation, and the 90s, generation ‘X’.

Looking at Matthew 1, we see the generations counted from the beginning of the nation of Israel to the generation of Christ, 42 generations: 14 from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Babylonian captivity, and 14 from the Babylonian captivity to Christ. However, when we count these generations, we can only count 41. So where is the 42nd generation? It is US! It is the Christian generation, the generation of Christ.

Did you know that Jesus is called our Father? But I thought God is our Father, you may say. Isaiah 9:6 says, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This is speaking of Jesus.

The word ‘Father’ denotes origin of life, or the giving of life. Of a surety, when Jesus shed His blood on the cross and laid down his life, He raised it up again, becoming the ‘first born of many brethren” (Romans 8:29). He gave life to us, those who accept His redeeming blood by faith and thus enter into the life of Christ. Therefore, we, the body of Christ, the church, are His children, His offspring, the generation of Christ (Colossians 1:14-18).

As the generation of Christ, we are a chosen generation—key word, chosen. We were not forced on God, but He chose us. Remember, we are not our own, but we are bought with a price, the highest price possible—the price of the blood of the Son of God. So, we belong to God. We are His possession.

Why did God choose me? Because I am good? No, for the scriptures say that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God did not choose us because of our merits, but because of His immense love for us. Nor did He choose us because of what we can do for Him. God created us, not the other way around. We are the needy ones; we depend upon God for everything. He is the one who gives us the ability to function and to survive. It’s simple—God chose us because He loves us. Not only that, but with His own blood Jesus purchased us for God.

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:9

That explains why God loves us so much. Peter says we are “chosen of God, and precious” (1 Peter 2:4). He created man, man rebelled against Him, He provided redemption for man, and He chose a nation out of mankind to be his own special people. These people may suffer persecution and be hated and even killed by those who refuse to become a part of it, but no one can conquer God’s chosen people. Paul had this to say about it:

If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us (Romans 8:31-34).

Have you ever thought about Jesus interceding for us? Why does He do that? Recently my sister was wondering about this very thing when the Spirit opened her understanding. Father God was never a human, but His Son, Jesus, was. Jesus was tempted in every point a human can be tempted, so He understands how we feel and what we go through. I can just hear Him: “Father, my child is having a hard time, and I’ve been there and done that, so I know just how he feels. We’ve got to help him out. He is one of my chose ones.” Awesome!

How wonderful that the Almighty God, Creator of the universe, chose us to be His children, His generation. How immeasurable and incomprehensible is His love for us!

A Holy Nation

1Peter 2:9-10 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

What does it take to be a nation? The dictionary defines a nation as “a large body of people, associated with a particular territory that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own” (http://www.dictionary.com). Besides a territory, a nation generally has a president, a king, or some type of authority; it has a government, and it has citizens.

God made a covenant with Abraham, promising that he would be the Father of many nations. The nation of Israel was given birth when Jacob and his family moved to Egypt, became a great people, and were ultimately moved to Israel which God had promised Abraham years before. This nation consisted of a definite territory described by God when He made the covenant with Abram. It was governed, first by God through priests then later by kings, and its citizens were the Israelites.

Stephen referred to the nation of Israel as “the church in the wilderness” in Acts 7, therefore we know Israel was a prototype of the church of the New Testament, or the Holy Nation of which Jesus is King.

Those who enter the family of God through Christ is, then, one spiritual nation under the rule of God, with a spiritual territory which is the hearts of believers where Christ makes his home, and citizens called Christians or followers of Christ. In Ephesians 2, Paul reminds us that we are citizens of God’s Kingdom. He says, “Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19 KJV).

Think of it. From all the peoples on the earth, God chose the little nation of Israel for Himself to show Himself to the world. Through this nation, He brought redemption to the world by the blood of His son, Jesus. And using the same means—the blood of Jesus—God broke down all the walls between all mankind and formed a spiritual nation out of peoples of all races to make one race in Jesus Christ, according to Peter, one “chosen race,” therefore eliminating all racism forever. He calls it “a holy nation”.

We are different than any other nation on the earth. We are born of royal blood, sat in the heavenlies, blood bought. We have eternal life because the One who created us chose to die so we could have it. We are rich because He became poor. We are strong because He gives us His joy which becomes our strength. We have the mind of Christ, the anointed One. We have power and can do all things through Christ. We are the children of the most-high God. We are indeed a Chosen Generation, so let us learn—through the Word of God—to live like it!

As citizens of this Holy Nation, we have responsibilities just as do citizens of any nation. Since this is a Holy Nation, we are holy citizens. That means we are dedicated or devoted to the service of God. We are to live according to the laws of our nation; these laws are recorded in the Bible. The Ten Commandments of the Old Testament are condensed by Jesus to the Two Commandments in the New Testament: 1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. 2. Love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). This covers everything.

Jesus says the Kingdom of God is in you (Luke 17:21). If you are a citizen of this Holy Nation and the Kingdom of God is in you, then you yourself are a holy nation. Imagine that! Every believer is a holy nation, and all together, we make up a Holy Nation whose purpose is “to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

It is our responsibility to be imitators of Jesus so the world can see the true nature of a child of God. With so much hypocrisy in the world today and so many committing atrocities in the name of God, we must follow closely after our King and spread His love to a hurting world. We must strive to be mature and to help others to grow to spiritual maturity. It is our job to spread the good news of the love of Jesus to the world so others can become part of this wonderful Holy Nation.

Enemies of our soul: Fault-finding

Faults are like headlights on a car; those of others always seem more glaring than our own! So, we become fault-finders. When we’re really good at it, it’s like the faults of those around us stick out like Rudolph’s red nose. We can’t (or won’t) avoid them. But what does it get us?

Finding fault seeks to assign blame, and blame, in turn threatens punishment and generates feelings of guilt and, more particularly, shame. I often wonder why we feel we must assign blame for everything that happens. Why can’t we accept that it doesn’t matter who left the refrigerator open, or who forgot to buy toilet tissue? Of course, there are big issues and someone needs to take responsibility when a fault has a major effect on others. The key here is ‘take responsibility’.  No one wins when we insist on pointing fingers and blaming instead of finding a solution for the problem.

Fault-finding looks to ascribe blame for some real or imagined misdeed. Fault-finding deflects responsibility off the accuser (and onto the accused), and, in turn, it spawns a defensive reaction in the accused in a further attempt to avoid responsibility. Whether you’re the accuser or the defendant, the motivation is the same: avoiding (denying) responsibility. The results wind up the same, too: burying the situation in so much confusion (denial and counter-denial, he-said / she-said) that the ‘truth’ becomes hopelessly obscured. As a result, all change becomes pointless.

We live in a society where fault-finding and placing blame has become a way of life. Instead of saying, “I lost my book/binder/homework” students say “Someone stole my book/binder/homework.” Instead of saying “We’re to blame for the mess our government is in,” politicians say, “They (anyone else besides my group) are to blame.” Even Christians are often heard saying “The devil made me do it.” No, you did it all by yourself!

When we realize that our choices today pave the road for our lives tomorrow and take responsibility for our own actions, we can start making right decisions and stop looking to blame others. We have the ability to rid ourselves of this destructive enemy and live a quiet, peaceful life, loving others the way we should.

Jesus gives this instruction: Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.  Why, then, do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye?  How dare you say to your brother, ‘Please, let me take that speck out of your eye,’ when you have a log in your own eye?  You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.  Matthew 7:1-5

Enemies of our soul: False humility

The enemies of our soul are out to destroy us, to keep us from being all we can be as lights in a dark world, and to keep us from living successful, victorious lives as children of the Most High God. False humility is common in our world, and often unrecognized, just as are all or at least most of the others, by those who need to expel them.

I’ve discussed pride, and false humility is often equated to pride. Pride comes in many forms. Wealthy people can be proud of their wealth, but poor people can likewise be proud of their poverty. People can even be proud of their humility. Have you heard someone say something like, “I’m just a poor, humble _____.” This is a type of pride, and it is also a false humility. Think about it. True humility would not say that, because true humility would not think that way. A person with true humility would not be thinking about him/herself at all.

Rather than write about false humility, I direct your attention to a website that says it better than I can. You can find it here.

The Apostle Paul says, Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves.  And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.  The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:3-5

Enemies of our soul: Lack of commitment

When it comes to enemies that seek to destroy us, lack of commitment is a biggie. Why is it so hard for some to commit to something? Whether it is making good grades at school, church attendance, relationships, a job, or reaching an important goal, lack of commitment can bring about failure, hurt, and disappointment time and time again.

Many students miss out on opportunities to have a successful career by refusing to commit. They don’t make time to study and to do the work needed to complete the work demanded. When you start college, the goal is–at least should be–to earn a degree. This doesn’t come easy. It takes hours of attending classes, study, and homework, and full investment of your time and ability. You may have to attend classes you hate and put up with bad teachers, but if you are commitment, you can earn that degree and have a career and a sense of accomplishment.

Lack of commitment can be devastating  in a relationship. When you refuse to commit whether it is a friendship or a love relation, you lose and others lose. To commit, you need to remove your dependence on your partner and realize your self-worth so you know you can depend on yourself. Then you can help your partner remove his or her dependence on you. When you are open with each other and trust each other, you will find commitment much easier.

Commitment in a relationship provides safety and security so couples can express their thoughts, feelings, and desires openly. When they’re committed, they have the confidence they’ll make it through the day-to-day challenges and life’s pressures which can tear a relationship apart.

Commitment offers couples a sense of being part of a team, a desire for a future together and a desire to sacrifice for each other. An individual’s commitment to the relationship makes it a priority.

Another area needing more commitment is parenting. It takes hard work to be a consistent, fair, involved parent, especially when both parents work outside the home. It’s even more stressful when multiple children have multiple activities in multiple places. You have to deal with pressures of school which sometimes involves teachers who do not value your little one the same as you, bullies who send your child home crying, and continual requests for costly materials and time consuming projects. It takes work to provide consistent discipline so your little dear will grow up able to deal with an unfair, inconsistent world.

Other important areas where commitment is needed is on the job, church attendance, and activities in which we’re involved. When we take a job it’s our responsibility to be on time and to do the work we’re assigned to do. When we attend a church, other people are counting on us to be there and to participate. If we are involved in an activity, again, others are counting on us to make the activity a success.

Someone said, “Love doesn’t mean anything if you are not willing to commit.” The Psalmist David says, Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him, and he will bring it to pass.Psalm 37:5

Enemies of our soul: jealously

Jealousy is commonly known as ‘the green-eyed monster’ for good reason; it is a monster that wreaks havoc on anyone who falls victim to its vicious attacks. There are various degrees of jealousy, from tinges of envy for another’s job, appearance, or talent to full blown jealous fits that causes separation of friends and couples and can even cause feelings of rage and ultimately murder.

Envy is a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to someone’s advantages, possessions, or traits such as beauty, success, or talent. In some cases, jealousy is the fear of losing what we have. We may feel vulnerable to losing the attention or feelings of someone close to us and feel we need to take measures to prevent that loss.

I recently witnessed a case where a husband could not advance on his job because his wife was jealous. She was afraid he would talk to the women who worked for him. Most of us have known a guy who was so jealous of his girlfriend that she was not allowed to talk to another guy, and sometimes she could not even talk to other girls. This kind of behavior can easily grow into a husband who controls every move of his wife, even to the point of physical, mental and emotional abuse. Females can be this way with her boyfriend as well.

This kind of abuse is not uncommon. When a man refuses to allow his wife to work and for no reason, comes home every day looking for signs that she has had a visitor, he has a problem. This same man will question her about any other man who looks at her or speaks to her. He will accuse her of wrong doing and cause her to fear him, making her life miserable. This kind of man will often call his wife frequently to check up on her. Many marriages have been dissolved because of such behavior.

Another common problem in this kind of situation is when the jealous spouse is unfaithful yet accuses the spouse of being unfaithful. Or the jealous spouse constantly reminds his mate of something that happened years before, but does not want to be reminded of his behavior from the past. It happens with both husbands and wives.

I have also witnessed cases of jealously in church congregations where people were envious when someone was asked to sing, or teach a class, or lead a program. This kind of jealously is mentioned in James 3:16: For where jealously and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Usually people cannot recognize jealously when it has control of them. They will quickly deny the existence of this spirit and many times become angry at anyone who confronts them about it. It is common for a jealous person to accuse another of being jealous. This is called guilt transference.

Most of the time the only way to dispose of this wicked spirit is through God’s word and prayer. A person also needs to increase his or her self-esteem to guard against feelings of jealously and envy. When we realize that God created us in His image and that He loves us more than we can understand, then we know we have no reason to be jealous of anyone. No matter how we perceive ourselves, we have value as individuals and should never compare ourselves to anyone else.

 

Enemies of our soul: Fear

ourFear is one enemy of the soul that can paralyze its victim. There are many types of fear, and they all point to one thing: lack of trust.

Trust isn’t always easy, especially when one had been burned. Think about it. In restaurants, we trust strangers to serve us food that is clean and edible and to handle our money, debit cards and credit cards without stealing from us. We trust people we know little to nothing about to care for our children and to have a positive influence on their lives.  We trust a machine to start and stop when it’s supposed to while we drive it 65 mph down the road. We board a huge plane and trust it to take us into the sky safely and fly us to a destination miles away.

Then we lack trust for the Creator of the Universe who loves us without measure and wants only the best for us. How is this possible?

Fear is a natural part of our makeup and can help us stay safe, but when fear is unreasonable, it can control us. For example, agoraphobia is the fear of leaving home, keeping the victim a prisoner in his own house. Irrational fear of the unknown can hinder the activities of a person, causing him or her to miss out on life. Fear of the unknown can include fear of change or fear of death.

Other fears that can plague us are fear of losing freedom, fear of pain, fear of losing one’s identity and/or security, and fear of misery. We can have an unreasonable fear of causing disappointment or being disappointed, which may keep us from trying anything challenging. If we don’t attempt that new job or that promotion, we won’t be disappointed if we don’t make it. If we never try to learn to play an instrument or a new language, we won’t disappoint anyone when we fail. If we don’t register for college, we won’t disappoint our loved ones by dropping out. This can also be the fear of failure.

Another fear is the fear of being ridiculed. This is a social fear of not projecting a good enough image of ourselves to others. We are often at the mercy of the opinions of others, and an unreasonable fear can cause us to stay hidden from the social spotlight.

We also are sometimes tormented by the fear of rejection. If we only justify our existence through the acknowledgment and acceptance of others, then we suffer when others reject us or we think they reject us. This often happens when a spouse is unfaithful or divorce happens. Divorce is the ultimate rejection. Marriage joins two people into one spiritually speaking, and when a mate divorces the partner, he or she rejects him or her. Some folks have difficulty forgiving and overcoming the feeling of rejection.

Fear is a horrendous enemy that must be overcome for one to live a successful, victorious life. And it is possible through the Word of God and hard work. Do the hard work and fight this enemy. You can win.

2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and a sound mind.

Enemies of our soul: Laziness

Laziness is surely an enemy of our soul and can hide in places we don’t realize.
Laziness involves a lack of motivation. I consider myself a hard worker, yet I know that in some ways I am lazy. This is not good.  For example, when I was 15 I started learning to play the guitar. I worked at it so hard, finding time any way I could to practice. It was a top priority in my life.

However, when I conquered the basic chords, I slacked off my practice. In time I learned the chords I needed to play songs I wanted to play, but I didn’t work to learn all of them. I slacked off more and more, then I started to learn the piano. I was the same way with that instrument, working hard at first, then becoming more and more slack in my practice. In fact, after a while I completely quit playing the guitar and only played the piano when I needed to. Now that is laziness.

I probably could have been a pretty good musician had I practiced. As it is, I am a poor to mediocre musician. Now my granddaughter has requested me to play a song on the guitar at her wedding and I’m just hoping I can do it. But first I have to dig the guitar out of my closet and start working on it, right?

We can be lazy in different areas such as being a good friend, taking care of our family responsibilities, our speech mannerisms, eating habits, self-improvement, or building and retaining our relationship with God. According to research, 78% of Americans don’t meet the daily requirements for physical activity. Instead, many people are watching television and/or playing with smartphones. The same goes for reading God’s word and spending time in prayer. We all know that is what keeps us spiritually healthy, but how much time do we spend in the presence of God versus keeping socially informed on social media?

Married people are often lazy about maintaining a good marriage. It takes work, folks, to keep a marriage in good shape. We have to give, give, give, and forgive, forgive, forgive. However, it’s much easier to divorce that stinker and move on to another one. Divorce is rampant in our society, and just as rampant in the church as it is outside the church.

Parents are often lazy when it comes to disciplining their children. It takes work to consistently teach our children what is appropriate behavior and what is not. We are so busy making money so we can have things that we pass the job of discipline off to the babysitter and to the schools. It’s our job to teach our children manners, respect, work ethics and morals. It is not the job of the school or the babysitter. When did it happen that big houses filled with beautiful furniture, nice cars and expensive vacations became more important than the proper raising of the children by the parents?

As a former teacher, I witnessed the laziness and lack of motivation in students. Multiple times after a test I asked for a show of hands of those who studied for the test. It was unusual for more than 20% to admit they studied, and most of those spent less than 20 minutes studying according to their own admission. In higher grades, an alarming amount of students skip class, and those who do show up for class tend to care less about their grades. Most aren’t interested at all in taking notes during a lesson. In could be that some of them learned at home to be lazy. Or not.

The Bible has much to say about laziness. It’s bad. It will keep us from living a victorious life. It will prevent us from being all we can be. It will keep us from fulfilling the purpose God has for us. It will make us a bad example for others, especially those who know us well such as our children.

Let’s get up off our blessed assurance and get busy. We need to conquer the enemy of laziness.

Proverbs 10:4: A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Enemies of our soul: Compromise

Compromise can be a huge problem for anyone wanting to live with integrity and success. Of course, there is a time to compromise in a positive way, such as when we meet another person half way in finding a solution to a problem. But compromising our standards, values, or convictions is negative compromise and is undesirable.

Look at Adam and Eve of the Old Testament. They compromised to what they knew was wrong for the sake of physical gratification. “If you’ll do this, you can be like God.” Who wouldn’t want to be like God? Trouble was, that was the one thing God told Adam and Eve not to do, and God was The Authority. So they compromised, and the consequences of their actions gave us thorn bushes, weeds in our gardens, gave women painful childbirth and an unending need to please men, and I’m convinced mosquitoes in the Garden of Eden did not bite humans until after the fall of Adam.

Many times we settle for less than what is right. We know what we should do, but what will it hurt if I fudge a little on my tax returns? Or glance at my neighbor’s paper when I can’t remember the right answer? What if I don’t tell the whole truth to save myself or someone else some trouble?

Sometimes we compromise to avoid confrontation. Personally, I hate confrontation. As a parent and as a teacher I found that confrontation was necessary at times for the good of the children (and for my sanity). If I avoid confronting the issue and disciplinary actions, that compromise will come back to bite me in the butt, and children fail to learn when they won’t listen or do their homework.

Many compromise for material gain. Again, lying on a tax return or a legal document may get you more money, but it is compromise, and this type of compromise is wrong. We live in a society where many claim dependents they don’t have to get more welfare money or tax returns. Those who love physical things will compromise what they know is the truth for temporary satisfaction.

Some compromise with the intent to change their convictions when their circumstances have changed. “Once my situation is improved, I will tell the truth.” Trouble is, the situation seldom changes or they forget their promise to do better when it does change.

Some only partially follow the Lord—this is compromise. He doesn’t want us just when it’s convenient, or when we feel in the mood. Our relationship with God isn’t a religion of convenience. We can’t compromise the truth because we don’t want to disappoint our loved ones or be rejected because we see things differently than they do.

Compromise will make us weak, and others will see us as weak. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24 

We have to rise above compromise.