Study from Genesis 29 – 30; Passage for Reflection: Genesis 29: 34… NIV Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons."
My Journal for Today: When one reads of the ancient soap-opera-like story of Laban and Jacob deceiving one another; and then the two daughters of Laban, Jacob’s two wives, doing all they can to win a war of the womb, it illustrates what mankind will do in the so-called name of “LOVE.” And when I read Genesis 29 – 30 this morning, I harkened back to that old saying, “Oh the web we weave when we practice to deceive.”
And F. LaGard Smith’s self-inventory/application at the end of his devotional for today is one all Christians need to ask ourselves. He writes as a mirror into which I can see myself, ”Am I operating under the [self] deceptive premise that the more I work at pleasing God, the more He will love me?” Just recently I was led to launch a 40 day effort to develop or implant a number of disciplines [i.e., repeated behaviors] which I felt were God-led habits which could/would help me to go deeper into a more intimate relationship with Christ. However, I truly am not deluding myself to think that God loves me any more or less because I check off the behaviors/choices on my list or when I fail to do them. I truly hope that I’m not choosing to do these things to try to get God to love me any more as Rachel and Leah were competing for Jacob’s favor by having child after child.
No, my 40 days of purpose, here at the outset of the new year, is a pro-active surrender to those elements of good or Godly living which I believe will help me know my God more intimately, love Him more deeply, obey Him more readily, serve Him more willingly, and then to humbly receive His grace from this process. And I fully recognize that God’s grace (i.e., His love) will come; but I have no idea in what form it will take. It may even be in my Lord giving more challenges in life so that I can grow closer to my Lord rather than more “warm and fuzzies” to make me feel good. I seek my God’s blessing; but I know it will be there for me whenever I seek for His love in my surrender … not my performance.
I hope none of you, … any who may be reading here, are doing “religious stuff” or working overboard just to be good to show off your love to God. Or do we get the message from my sharing here today … that we cannot earn God’s love with the things we do? Nor can we drive God’s love away by what we don’t do or that we do selfishly. God’s love for us is always there; and His grace will be there when our obedience to His will in our humility opens His treasure chest of providence for us [I hope you know from your heart what the truth from Phil. 4: 19, 2nd Cor. 12: 9, James 4: 6, and 1st Peter 5: 6].
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I pray that what I do everyday, those choices I make which I truly believe YOU lead me to make, … that they are my living sacrifice for Your glory and are not carried out to earn Your favor. Amen