November 25, 2018 - Inscriptions From The Heart
November 25, 2018
“This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone. …Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.” Titus 3:8,14 NLT
(Adapted from modres and Jeremy Myers)
Too often people think of “doing good” as a Christian in terms of what we should avoid doing. The focus becomes then on avoiding the things that displease the Lord and that put us in the position of sinning against Him. No authentic Christian wants to do that, though there are times when we do fail. The object is to get back up, dust ourselves off and, while admitting to Him of our failure, continue to move onward in fulfillment of His will for our lives.
While there is nothing wrong with being aware of the ever-present danger of failing and doing our best to avoid those times, we run the risk of becoming so introverted and self-focused to the point that all we think about is how much we fail God. We walk around dejected, believing that we can neither move to the left or to the right without feeling as though we are going to fail again. Inversely, we can be so self-focused that we become complacent during the good times, content with doing good to ourselves by studying the Bible while not really bothering with anyone else.
What helps us get our mind off of ourselves is to move our eyes upwards and fix them upon God. We submit to His sanctifying power and become His true servants. We then come to realize that one of the best ways to truly “do good” is by actively meeting the needs of people who have real, urgent needs! The more we become like Jesus as we focus on Him and are changed by Him, the more we truly care about His people. We care that they are lost. We care that they have needs that they honestly cannot meet. We care enough to do something for them because their need is right in front of us!
This is how God works. Often He meets the physical need of a person before the spiritual. Jesus did that countless times throughout the New Testament. He met physical needs because those needs were there. He wasn’t meeting physical needs because he wanted to pound them with spiritual truth later. He knew that people who have physical needs – hunger, thirst, sickness – cannot concentrate on a spiritual problem unless the physical need is taken care of first. That is the way fallen humanity thinks. Our stomachs often demand attention first.
We need to realize that people are both physical and spiritual, with both aspects being intimately connected and intertwined. We have an obligation to meet physical needs where we can. But we cannot stop there. We must always offer Christ’s gift of eternal life to all people. This is the answer to the spiritual need in all people that is never quenched with anything else.
As our lives become less focused on ourselves and more on our great God, the more God can use us to do His good will and expand His kingdom on earth. We gain the heart of God and thus learn to love ourselves and others the way He loves us.