Single-Minded Devotion

Steve Arterburn

 

 

Have you chosen to seek God and surrender to him?  Are you seeking His direction of your life?  Even if you are, if you’re like me you probably still choose to take the occasional detour.  Do you continue to keep options open to do things you know you shouldn’t be doing?  Living a life like that will fill you with guilt, shame, anxiety, fear and keep you from living the abundant life.

In order to help you guard against this kind of behavior, James wrote, ‘So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw close to God, and God will draw close to you.  Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, you hypocrites.  Let there be tears for the wrong things you have done’.

Don’t you love James? He doesn’t sugar coat things. He gives us a coat of tough love.

Even those of you mature in the faith face decisions and have to make choices every day.  It’s both the hardest and easiest thing you’ll ever do. In your surrender, you draw close to Him, and in turn He’ll draw close to you, just as James tells us.

Letting Go Of Hatred

Steve Arterburn

 

 

It’s easy to say you love God but how do you show it?  God’s hoping you’ll show it by loving other people. In fact, God has so intertwined your love for Him with love for others that when you seek and surrender to Him, He requires that you give up your hatred and prejudice.

In first John chapter four, the apostle John wrote: ‘God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them’If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen?  God himself has commanded that we must love not only him but our Christian brothers and sisters, too.’

Men, God simply doesn’t give us the option of hating our brothers and sisters while loving Him.  In fact, He doesn’t even give you the option of hating your enemies.  Jesus said, ‘But if you are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for the happiness of those who curse you.  Pray for those who hurt you’ (Luke 6:27-28). Boy, that’s a revolutionary kind of love.

The bottom line is this: surrendering to God means surrendering your hatred as well.  And that, my friend, is something you can’t do on your own ‘ you need to depend upon God’s love, residing in you, to do that.

Tying Your Tongue

Steve Arterburn

Sometimes it’s good to just be quiet, and experience silence, and stillness. Not only in our relationship with God but also with others as well. If you’ll read and reflect on James chapter three, you’ll find that Scripture warns us about the use of our tongue. Just think about the damage caused by careless words, gossip, lies, sarcasm, hurtful comments, inappropriate humor and bitter arguments, and you’ll understand why James cautions us about the tongue.

You rememberthe old saying: ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me’. It’s really not true, is it? In fact, the opposite is more often the case. Broken bones heal much quicker and easier than wounded spirits.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul said, ‘Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them’.

In light of what James and Paul wrote, it should cause you to think about guarding your tongue carefully. From the silence of not answering back when baited into an argument, to not spreading gossip, to forgoing that sarcastic remark that would’ve gotten a laugh at someone else’s expense, verbal self-control is a powerful to bless and encourage others.