CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE
I woke up this morning with the words, “it’s a new day” on my heart. A new day! Another opportunity to worship Jesus. To surrender, follow, serve, trust and obey Him. To give my body to God because of all He has done for me. To be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind He will find acceptable.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. (Ro 12:1 NLT)
As I meditated on these words, one of the scriptures that came to mind was Joshua 24:15.
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NKJV)
It is a new day. Another day to choose, to purpose in my heart, that I will serve Jesus-not my flesh, the world or the devil.
What has been highlighted to me from the devotionals I have been reading and listening to this week is DO GOOD (1 Peter 3:13-18) and DO NOT REPAY EVIL FOR EVIL (1 Thess 5:12-22).
As I was reading these scriptures this morning, Holy Spirit kept reminding me and urging me to call my youngest brother. It was his birthday yesterday and I didn’t call him. You see, my brother has broken his relationship with the family for the past 4 years. There has been no response to phone calls, e-mails or letters. After 4 years and no attempt on his part to return any calls, I thought, what is the point of calling him on his birthday again this year?
Holy Spirit had a different plan in mind. He reminded me to be a doer of the Word not a hearer only (Ja 1:22). That this was an opportunity to do good (leave a happy birthday message) and not repay evil for evil (don’t bother calling). I had confidence that Holy Spirit would give me both the courage to call and the words to speak if he did answer the phone. I was able to make the call but unfortunately my brother did not answer the phone. I left a message not knowing if he will get the message or listen to it.
At this point, I was reminded of my blog called What’s the Cost? where I said:
Then there are Jesus’s words, “If you love me, obey my commandments.” (Jn 14:15 NLT). As I have been reflecting on these words a question came to my mind. Are you obedient because you want something back from the Lord? As we have already read, healing is certainly connected with obedience in some situations and the Word certainly talks about blessings for obedience. However, what about being obedient simply because I love Jesus? I need to say that again, what about being obedient because I love Jesus, even if I get nothing back, no healing, no blessing and no response by people to what Holy Spirit is asking me to share-nothing. Continuing to persevere in obedience to what Jesus commands because I love Him, period!
I choose today to serve Jesus and to be obedient to what Holy Spirit was asking me to do. There were no obvious results. No miraculous testimony. However I believe this small act of obedience to do good and not repay evil for evil was pleasing to God.
Also, what if my brother does get the message and listens to it? What if God uses it to bring healing and reconciliation of the relationship between my brother and the rest of the family? Please pray with me for that!
Jesus teaches about love for enemies in Matthew.
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Mt 5:43-48 NLT)
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.” (Mt 5:11-12 NLT)
Paul, in Romans, gives us instruction on how to behave like a follower of Jesus:
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Ro 12:9-21 NKJV)
It is so true. It is easy to do good and be kind to those who are my friends. I want to act like a true child of God. To be obedient to the Word and to love and pray for my enemies-those who mock me, persecute me and lie about me and say all sorts of evil things against me because I am a follower of Jesus.
If I am not willing to call my brother on his birthday, who is likely operating out of rejection and lies he believes, then how will I be able to be obedient to those who are actually persecuting me for my faith?
I have had other opportunities to practice and be obedient to this word and will have more opportunities. Will I take them? Will I be obedient? Will I be a doer and not only a hearer of the word in this area?
I believe it starts with a decision each new day to choose whom I will serve. I choose this day to serve Jesus!
What about you?
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 2:7 NKJV)
- Facing opposition and hostility by Pastor Mike Stanley-freedomhousechc.ca; blog-Matsa Moments
- How to Not Return Evil for Evil by Pastor John Piper-desiringgod.org