Today's Reading: Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30
Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. (Psalms 119:5-6)
This psalmist dealt with the same issues of guilt that we have today. When we consider all that God requires, His standard is too high. How is one to follow His ways when God's ways are perfect and we are not? Like the psalmist, we cry out, "Oh, I wish my ways were consistent in following and obeying You. Then I would feel better about myself."
The problem with thinking this way is that God wants us to be thankful for His provision and not think of ourselves any higher than we ought. Jesus provides us with all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). It is because of Jesus that we can have a relationship with the Father. When our shortcomings turn our focus to ourselves, we have guilt and condemnation. When our eyes are focused on Jesus, despite our shortcomings, we are thankful to Him. God wants us thankful. He already knows our shortcomings and knows the extent of our ability to sin, but He saved us anyway. And He loves us anyway.
Lately, everywhere I turn in the Bible, I am seeing that God desires a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. He wants me to sing to Him in gratitude for all He has done and is doing. The word sacrifice reminds us that giving Him thanks and praise is not easy when we are feeling guilty, angry, frustrated, depressed or miserable. But by praising Him during those times, it releases our faith to look to Him instead of to ourselves.
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