Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

proverbs Archive

Monday

1

July 2019

Be Bold

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We can be bold because our confidence rests in the Creator

“The righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1) Today, boldness is not often a characteristic that is associated with Christians, however it is a trait that each of us should have. While it’s certainly not the popular thing to stand up for Biblical truth and Christian values, that is exactly what we are called to do. How can we put on the whole armour of God if we aren’t being bold? To be bold – in the Biblical sense – doesn’t mean to be proud or full of yourself; to be bold is to be strong, to be courageous, to stand up for the truth, and to go forward in confidence. A.W. Tozer once said that, “Christians should be the boldest people in the world; not cocky and sure of ourselves, but sure of Him.”

Meekness means being bold

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was certainly bold, and we also read throughout the New Testament that Jesus was meek. To be bold requires us to be meek. Often confused with weakness – perhaps because the two words rhyme? – meekness is actually the opposite of weakness. Meekness was one of Christ’s attributes. “For I am meek and lowly in heart,” He said in Matthew 11:29. To be meek is to be humble, to be true, and to be assured but not arrogant. As 2 Timothy 2:25 instructs us, we are to instruct those that oppose us “in meekness”. Meekness doesn’t mean being confrontational, but it does mean being bold.

Because of Christ, we can and should be bold

To be bold also requires us to know what we believe and why, and to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15). We can live boldly when we have a solid understanding of God’s Word. Christ said in John 15:7, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” We can only have that boldness when we have God’s Word in our heart. Studying the Scriptures and memorizing Bible verses are two excellent ways to grow in your faith and to gain a deeper understanding – and appreciation for – God’s Word. In 2 Timothy 2:15, we understand that we are to “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

We need not to be ashamed of our faith; we need to be bold. When you’re feeling timid, consider this: We can be bold because our confidence rests in the Creator of the universe. We are created in His image (Genesis 1:27). We have the privilege of going to God at any time, regardless of where we are or what’s going on around us. In fact, Christ invites us to cast all our cares at His feet! Because of Him, we can and should be bold. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Originally published as “Be Bold.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest ConfederateWalkerton Herald-Times. February 14, 2019: 6. Print. Web.

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Monday

4

March 2019

Don’t take yourself too seriously

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It’s a liberating thing when you can learn to laugh

We often get caught up worrying about life, work, other people, what other people think of us, and ourselves, but consider how much more fulfilling life is when you can learn to not take yourself so seriously. Rather than looking in, start looking out, and learn how to let go.

Don’t take yourself too seriously; learn to let go and to laugh. Nobody is perfect; we are all human, and we are all prone to err. Taking yourself too seriously is a huge indicator of pride. The Bible says that, “when pride comes, then comes shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2) There’s something so freeing about not taking yourself too seriously. It’s a liberating thing when you can learn to laugh and when you learn to accept that it’s not “all about you” and how you’re feeling. People around you will appreciate you all the more for it, and God will bless you for it. “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty; and before honour is humility.” (Proverbs 18:12)

When you take yourself too seriously, you’re trying to take control away from God (and we all know that’s just not possible). Pride puts forth a lot of effort into controlling circumstances, but faith puts trust in the One who controls the universe. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7) As a Christian, not taking yourself too seriously doesn’t mean that you act immaturely or carelessly; it means that you’ve got faith and you’re resting in the Lord’s strength rather than your own.

Not taking yourself too seriously doesn’t mean that you don’t have confidence, quite the contrary; not taking yourself too seriously means that you’re all the more secure in who God has made you. As Christians, we have every reason to be secure in the Lord. We don’t have to take ourselves too seriously because we stand firm in our faith. As it says in 2 Corinthians 9:8, in all things at all times, we have all that we need in God. He is our rock, our refuge, our shield, our strength – our security is in Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

You’ve likely read – or at least heard of – Proverbs 31, which tells of the virtuous woman. One of her virtues is that “she shall rejoice in time to come” (Proverbs 31:25). Some versions of the Bible say that, “she can laugh at the days to come.” As I said above, it’s a liberating thing when you can learn to laugh. We don’t have to take ourselves too seriously because we know who controls the future. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) We need not worry about tomorrow, because we know who holds tomorrow.

Don’t take yourself too seriously, and don’t take others too seriously, either. The most important one to take seriously is God.

Originally published as “Don’t take yourself too seriously.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. November 15, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

12

December 2018

Esther | An Excellent Example

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"The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness." Proverbs 21:5 | Esther: An Excellent Example | Read more at hopereflected.com

Esther: An excellent example

We can learn many lessons from the life of Esther

 

The Bible is filled with many amazing examples of men and women who went before us, their testimonies, and the examples and legacies that they have left for generations to learn from and to follow. One such example is Esther, or Hadassah, the maiden who became the queen of Persia.

Esther’s story is unique in that out of all the books in the Bible, not once in the book of Esther is the Lord mentioned. Esther’s story gives reference to the origins of the feast of Purim, and also provides a unique viewpoint and record of an important part of Jewish history. Esther’s story is also an awesome testimony of a woman of influence. We can learn many lessons from the life of Esther that are still practical and relevant for women and men today.

After both her parents died, Esther was raised primarily by her uncle, Mordecai (who many speculate actually wrote the book of Esther that we read in the Bible). Esther was an orphan. Even though her background was not necessarily conducive to her becoming queen, it’s evident that she didn’t let her past didn’t define her. It’s an important reminder for each of us that our past shouldn’t dictate our present, or our future. It’s never too late to start fresh; while we can’t go back, we can move forward. As Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14, “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” Mordecai said of Esther, “who knows whether you’re come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther lived with purpose.

Another example we can learn from Esther’s life is that she was prayerful. Esther didn’t rush into decisions and she certainly wouldn’t be defined as hasty. Proverbs 21:5 says that “the thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.” Esther was diligent in her thoughts. In fact, before one of the biggest decisions of her life, Esther fasted for three days, and she asked everyone close to her to fast as well. When it comes to decision making, is your first inclination to consult others first or to consult God? Esther didn’t make decisions lightly; she made them very prayerfully because she recognized that prayer changes things. As we’re told in James 5:16, “…pray for one another…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Esther was a woman who was quietly confident, but she also stood up for what she believed in, and was willing to risk her life for it. While she first caught people’s eyes with her beauty, she commanded respect with her wisdom and confidence. Esther is an excellent example of knowing when to speak and when to hold your tongue. She was quick to listen and slow to speak, but when she spoke, she stood her ground. Each of us can learn from this. Meekness doesn’t mean weakness. We’re told in 1 Corinthians 16:13 to “be on guard; stand fast in the faith, be strong.”

Originally published as “Esther: An Excellent Example.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. October 25, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Friday

17

August 2018

Hope Reflected | Listening to God

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"Call to me, and I will answer you." (Jeremiah 33:3) Listening to God | See more at hopereflected.com

Listening to God

Listening to God is one of the most important components to being a Christian

If you watch, listen, or read the news, you’ve likely heard about Vice President Pence being mocked for saying that He talks to God and listens for God’s voice. “I will hear what God the LORD will speak,” reads Psalm 85:8. One of the fundamentals of the Christian faith is that we communicate with the Lord, and listen for His leading. While it may not be popular, that doesn’t mean that it’s not right.

Last week, Wes and I were discussing the importance of listening to God. We place so much emphasis on talking to God, but what about the other side of the conversation? Sometimes when God is speaking to us, He’s easy to hear. You make a prayer request, and He answers it, sometimes very obviously. When we slow down, we often hear God in the quiet times – early in the morning or late at night lying in bed – and that’s one reason why so many people turn up the noise and distractions of music, talking, and that bad word “busy”. But what about listening to God in the chaos? Oh, how challenging it can be to hear God when we have so much going on! When the clock is ticking and we’re feeling overwhelmed, we often talk ourselves into believing several myths to avoid listening to God.

Myth #1: I don’t have time. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) Some days, you just find yourself running: Laundry, dishes, work, meetings, dinner, and the list goes on. One of the biggest myths about listening to God is that you don’t have time. That’s not true! You do have time. In fact, any time that you do have is a gift from God. Charles Stanley says that “prayer is life’s greatest time saver,” and he couldn’t be more correct. When we take the time to take our problems and our praises to the Lord, He hears us. When we take the time to listen to God, we’ll often be surprised at what we hear. God longs to speak to us, and prayer is a two-way street.

Myth #2: Thanks, Lord, but I’ve got this under control. “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” (Proverbs 19:21) Why would we spend time listening to God when we’ve got it under control! We’re all guilty of thinking we’ve got everything under control or that we’re the orchestrators of our own circumstances. Ultimately, however, we’re told in the Bible that God is One Who is in control. Job 12:10 says that, “In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” God’s thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). The next time you catch yourself thinking you’ve got things under control, take a moment and give it to God.

Myth #3: It won’t make a difference. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Sometimes we negate the importance of listening to God because we think that listening to God won’t make a difference, or that casting our cares at His feet doesn’t really matter. This is where our faith comes in. So often, when everything’s going our way, we’re less apt to take things to the Lord in prayer, but really that’s when it’s the most important! Keeping a prayer journal and a record of prayer requests, answers to prayer, and praises, is an awesome way to recall to mind and remind ourselves that our time spent listening to God really does make a difference!

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known,” reads Jeremiah 33:3. Listening to God is one of the most important components to being a Christian; do you have a listening ear? As C.S. Lewis said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Originally published as “Listening to God.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. March 15, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

2

August 2018

Hope Reflected | Truths about Pride

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"None is so empty as those who are full of themselves." Benjmain Whichcote | See more at hopereflected.com #quotes #qotd #bestquotes

Truths about Pride

Truths about pride from the book of Proverbs.

Pride. It’s personal. It’s not always public. It’s quite often your own perception of yourself. Pride starts in your heart, pride causes problems, and pride brings you down. Someone once said that “pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes,” which is ironic because pride will tell you that you’re at the top above everybody else.

The Bible is filled with verses about pride – more than 60 by my count – and the book of Proverbs is no exception. More a part of character than a feeling, here are three truths about pride from the book of Proverbs:

  1. Pride starts in the heart. “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.” (Proverbs 18:12) We’re told in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. God hates pride (Proverbs 8:13), and it should come as no surprise that pride starts in the heart. We’re told in Proverbs 16:5 that “everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD”. Pride, in its most pungent form, puts you above everybody else. Sure, pride may not always be overtly obvious, “I’m up here and you’re down there.” Maybe pride for you stems from a situation that you think should be suited to your needs. Perhaps pride for you is placing your own emotions over the facts. Or it could be that pride for you is not being willing to hear the opinions or feelings of another. Pride starts in the heart, and it won’t stop until it destroys you.
  2. Pride causes problems. “By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10) The philosopher Benjamin Whichcote once said that, “none are so empty as those who are full of themselves.” Pride has this way of making everything about “me” and driving others away. Why did they say that about me? What does that mean for me? How is this situation going to affect me? Pride causes problems – relationally, professionally, and personally – because it puts the focus on “me”. You may be familiar with the JOY adage, “Jesus first, Others second, Yourself third”. By putting yourself first, you’re putting yourself above the Lord, and above others. And that’s bound to cause problems. As Ezra T. Benson once said, “Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right.”
  3. Pride brings you down. “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honour.” (Proverbs 29:23) It may not be today, it may not be tomorrow, and in fact, it may not be until eternity that your pride will bring you down. Whatever the case, we’re promised in God’s Word that “when pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2) Pride starts in your heart, pride causes problems, and as a result, pride will bring you down. Proverbs 26:12 tells us that there is more hope for a fool than for a person is who is wise in their own eyes. Pride will ultimately bring you to a point where you think you’re equal – or better – than God. Psalm 10:4 says, “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” And where there’s no room for God, you’re bound for disaster. Pride will bring you down.

The deceptive thing about pride is that it’s not always obvious. Pride has this way of sneaking up on us – through private thoughts or vain victories – so it’s important that we always remain aware and keep a short account with God. Ultimately, the greatest danger of pride is that it divides us and separates us from God. As C.S. Lewis said, “As long as you are proud, you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

Originally published as “Pride.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. February 22, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

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Thursday

8

March 2018

Hope Reflected | 6 Characteristics of a godly Christian Woman

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"Blessed is she that believed." (Luke 1:45) 6 characteristics of a godly Christian woman | See more at hopereflected.com

6 Characteristics of a godly Christian Woman

March 8 the world over is recognized as International Women’s Day. Those who read the news and stay abreast of current events should be well aware of many “female-centric” movements that have developed over the past several years, including the Women’s March or even “I stand with Planned Parenthood”. Both movements have received a lot of media attention from certain networks and publications, and both movements relate specifically to women’s “rights”. Feminism, with its roots in the equality of women, is often tied with fighting – fighting for relevance, fighting for rights, fighting for recognition.

To be a feminist and to believe in the beauty of being female doesn’t mean that you have to fight. On the contrary, when you look at being a woman from a Christian perspective, you’ll see that throughout God’s Word, women are celebrated. We are recognized as a completely unique creation.

Being a woman, from a Biblical perspective, means celebrating life, supporting each other, and standing up for what’s right. The Bible shares so many accounts of strong females (and the men that they raised); look through the histories of Ruth, Hannah, and Mary just to name a few examples. The qualities of the godly Christian woman are referenced throughout the Bible, and the qualities of the godly Christian woman can impact generations.

Loyalty.

“The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.” (Proverbs 31:11) The book of Ruth lays out an amazing example of loyalty. After her husband passed away, Ruth demonstrated her loyalty to her mother in law by not abandoning her. “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16). Being a woman, a godly Christian woman, means demonstrating loyalty and having a constant heart.

 

Focus.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30) The godly Christian woman demonstrates a keen focus on the eternal rather than the external. Look at the testimony of Hannah, for example. While those around her were having children, Hannah was childless. Rather than bemoan and lament her circumstances, Hannah kept her focus on the Lord. Look through the first two chapters of 1 Samuel, and you’ll see these words several times, “and Hannah prayed.” A godly Christian woman keeps her focus on things above (Colossians 3:2).

 

Strength.

“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” (Proverbs 31:17) “Strength and honour are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come.” (Proverbs 31:25) Esther is an incredible Old Testament example of a woman who demonstrated strength. God used Esther to save His people. “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Even in the face of uncertainty, Esther stood strong. Strength, both intellectually and physically, is one of the qualities of a godly Christian woman.

 

Industriousness.

“She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard.” (Proverbs 31:16) “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.” (Proverbs 31:24) Productivity. Ingenuity. Diligence. One of the qualities of a godly Christian woman is being industrious. Working at whatever you’re called to do. Look at Deborah, the only female judge who boldly obeyed God (Judges 4). Consider Rahab, who though she was a prostitute, ultimately came to know the Lord. Being a godly Christian woman requires industriousness and diligence in our work.

 

A nurturing spirit.

“She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants.” (Proverbs 31:15) Not only is the godly Christian woman industrious, she also has a nurturing spirit and cares for her family. Take the account of Rebekah from Genesis 24. In the search for a bride for Isaac, Rebekah showed that she was the one because she had a nurturing spirit, and gave Isaac’s servant (and his camels) water to drink. Your work as a woman is important and makes an impact, whether your work is outside or inside the home.

 

Faithfulness.

“She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” (Proverbs 31:27) Another one of the qualities of the godly Christian woman is her faithfulness. She stays the course. Even in the midst of challenging and trying times, she is diligent and sees things through. As it was said of Mary, the mother of Jesus, “blessed is she that believed” (Luke 1:45).

Originally published as “Being a woman.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. March 8, 2018: 7. Print. Web.

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Friday

23

February 2018

Hope Reflected | Lessons from the honey bee

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No matter who you are, and no matter where you are, God can use you. | Lessons from the honey bee | See more at hopereflected.com

Lessons we can learn from the honey bee

Birds, bats, wind, and even water can act as pollinators, but perhaps the most interesting of all the pollinators is the honey bee. Such an intricate creation, the honey bee is small but mighty. The honey bee plays a very important role here on earth!

We can draw many parallels between honey bees and Christians. The honey bee spreads seeds; so do Christians. The honey bee has a mission; so do Christians. The honey bee doesn’t always see the results of what it sows; neither do Christians. Sometimes, only the Lord sees the harvest. We may never know the results of our labours. But does that mean that we should stop working for Him? No!

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Your words may be awkward. Your prayers may be meager. Your testimony may not be the most dramatic or exciting. No matter who you are, and no matter where you are, God can use you. In fact, sometimes it’s the most ordinary of people that God uses to do the most extraordinary things for His glory!

The honey bee isn’t concerned about whether it’s the strongest flyer, or whether it pollinates the most plants; no, the honey bee concentrates on the job at hand and remains focused. That’s how we need to be in our Christian walk. Keeping our focus always on the Lord.

There are other lessons we can learn from the small but mighty honey bee:

Learn how to adapt. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) Just as the honey bee knows how to adapt – honey bees can go for years without hunting by living on their food reserves – we as Christians also need to learn how to adapt to what’s going on in the world around us. Read: I’m not saying we conform to this world, but rather that we “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) Christians need to learn how to adapt and survive in a world where Christians are being held more and more accountable for what we believe.

Learn how to help others. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17) Honey bees are social creatures. They don’t work alone. They help each other. What have you done to help another soul recently? Perhaps you’re working anonymously in the background, giving to causes that assist those in need. Maybe you dedicate your spare hours to volunteering. You could even be serving by encouraging the people in your community. As Christians, we are called to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Learn how to give your life for Christ’s glory. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35) Honey bees give their life for the hive. The honey bee, by nature, is a defender. And when one honey bee’s stinger detaches from its body, it releases pheromones that inspire other honey bees to do the same and go on defense. I’m not suggesting that Christians should always be on the defensive (but sometimes!), rather I’m suggesting that as Christians we should be completely surrendered to Christ, wherever we are. For some Christians, the idea of giving up your life is quite literal, depending where you live in world. For others, giving up your life for Christ could mean complete and total dedication to serving the Lord. The reality is that we’re all missionaries, right here at home, even if we’re not called to full-time service.

Learning to adapt, helping others, and finding your purpose are all things we can glean from the honey bee. I also love what Ilan Shamir says in his “Advice from a honey bee”: Create a buzz, sip life’s sweet moments, mind your own beeswax, work together, always find your way home, stick close to your honey, bee yourself! “You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” (Acts 2:28)

Originally published as “Lessons we can learn from the honey bee.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. December 14, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

7

February 2018

Wednesday Wisdom | Don’t Confuse Complacency with Contentment

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Wednesday Wisdom: Don't confuse complacency with contentment. | See more at hopereflected.com

Wednesday Wisdom: Don’t confuse complacency with contentment

Complacency is rooted in pride, self, and idleness, while contentment is rooted in gratitude, thanksgiving, and active faith.

Complacency says, “Wow, look at everything I’ve accomplished,” while contentment says, “Thank you for all that you’ve blessed me with.”

Complacency fools you with conceit, while contentment fills you with humility.

Complacency tells you to stay where you are, while contentment encourages you to grow in your faith.

The book of Proverbs explains complacency vs. contentment in several verses:

  • “For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:32-33)
  • “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4)
  • “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” (Proverbs 13:4)

Complacent people tend to be more slothful and sluggish; they’re of the mindset that they don’t have to work hard or strive to be better because they think they’re already the best, that they’ve already “arrived”. Content people are thankful for where they are, but they understand and appreciate the value in working diligently and in continuing to grow.

It’s easy to fall into the rut of complacency, but learning contentment is the only way to grow and move forward.

Don’t confuse complacency with contentment.

 

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Monday

27

November 2017

Hope Reflected | Loving Others, Even When It’s Hard

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"Be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2 | See more at hopereflected.com

Loving Others, Even When It’s Hard

Chances are that at some point in your life, you’ve read the “love” chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13. We usually hear 1 Corinthians 13 quoted or recited at weddings, anniversaries, or other happy occasions. But what about loving others, even when it’s hard?

This world is filled with difficult people, and if each of us were honest, we’d all have to admit that sometimes in life we are actually the difficult ones. Loving others even when it’s hard or when they’re being difficult can be extremely trying, can’t it? The good news is that it’s possible, because God first loved us. Because God first loved us, we’re equipped with the capacity to love others.

How do we love others, even when it’s hard? Let’s look at some practical instruction from 1 Corinthians 13.

Love others by being patient. “Love suffers long and is kind.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) In most areas of life, when you have patience, you will have peace. Loving others, even when it’s hard, means guarding your reactions. It means exercising patience towards those who have difficult personalities. When you’re being patient, you’re less likely to speak out of turn; you’re less likely to add fuel to the fire; and you’re more likely to act with integrity and kindness, and as a result better understand where the other person is coming from.

Love others by being humble. “Love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.” (1 Corinthians 13:4) Comparison is the thief of joy, and the sooner we learn to water the grass in our own yard rather than seeking “greener” pastures, the better off we’ll be. You may be tempted to “win” the argument, you may really want to have the last word, but part of loving others means being humble and taking the high road – even when it’s hard. And man oh man, can it ever be hard sometimes! Through it all however, we’re called to love by being completely humble.

Love others by being kind. “Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) It costs nothing to be kind. And while our initial reaction may be to speak out of turn and return bitter barb with bitter barb, the Lord will bless you for taking the high road. Even when it’s hard, we can each demonstrate love to others by being kind. Sometimes being kind means taking time or stepping away, and it also means taking time to pray for others. You might think it’s impossible, especially when someone else is being everything but kind to you, and when that’s the case, prayer can have a huge impact. With God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37), and when you take the time to pray for others, God has a way of making kindness that much easier.

Love others by wanting what’s best for them. “Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” (1 Corinthians 13:6) When you love others, you want what’s best for them and genuinely have their best interest at heart. Especially when someone has been unkind or hurtful, it can be tempting to rejoice when they run into difficulties or when they’re proved wrong, but just like we’re told in Proverbs 25:21-22, the Lord sees when we give to those who only give us grief and He will use it for His glory.

Love others by bearing with them. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7) 1 Corinthians 13:7 is a challenge. Love bears all things – not just good things, not just convenient things – love bears all things. That includes difficulties and it includes hard times. We show our love to others by bearing with them. Proverbs 17:17 says that, “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” We are called to love others, not just in happy times, but in sad times. Not just in easy times, but in adverse times.

Ephesians 4:2 sums up the love described in 1 Corinthians 13 like this: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient bearing with one another in love.” When we’re trying to love others even when it’s hard, remember this: We know true love and we can love because Jesus Christ laid down His life so we might have life (1 John 3:16-18).

Originally published as “Loving others, even when it’s hard.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. October 26, 2017: 7. Print. Web.

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Wednesday

8

November 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | It Costs Nothing to Be Kind

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

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Always be kind. | See more hopereflected.com

“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” Proverbs 11:17

It costs nothing to be kind. Even on our bad days, our sad days, and yes, even on our mad days, it costs nothing to extend the gift of kindness to another.

In the New International Version, Proverbs 11:17 says that “those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” In the New King James Version, the verse reads, “the merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”

The merciful man.

Kindness and mercy. When you show kindness to another, in a way, you’re showing them mercy. Mercy is defined as not getting something you deserve, and when it’s put like that, we could almost interpret that Proverbs 11:17 is instructing us to show kindness even to those people who don’t deserve it. What a challenge!

“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” Proverbs 11:17

 

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