Upon Jesus’ birth the angel announces in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill towards men.”
I am convinced this is the divine order of things:
- Glory to God (proceeds)
- Peace on Earth (proceeds)
- Goodwill to men (the final result of the first two)
As I survey the chaotic world around me, I find that God is constantly trying to remind his people of this order. We cannot have peace in our hearts and serve mankind without first giving God the glory he deserves. He is the only reason we can do anything. In fact, we are so incapable of doing things He has to set up automatic response even within our own bodies. If it were up to me to remember and sustain my breathing, I would have died the day I was born! If I cannot do the least of things, how can I do the greatest of things?
The answer is: Only through Christ!
So, how do I apply this to my personal life? Before even writing this I prayed, “Lord if I can have 10 minutes to write what I think you are calling me to write, that would be fabulous!” And…the phone rings for the second time. Then…My two-year-old comes to play dolls in my lap.
But I must realize that just like something unbidden, like a phone call during my quiet time or a baby in my lap as I am trying to write, it is God’s will for us to patiently deal with it, not to fight for our agenda to do the “spiritual’ thing we feel we have to do. The natural response is to allow irritation to cause us to respond unkindly, negating our “religion” altogether.
Though I can choose not to answer the phone, which I did not. I cannot ignore my 2-year-old, at least for too long. In my heart, God has chosen to allow her to cease being entertained by the television (yes, I said TV! Judge me if you must) and seek out the comfort of her mommy, Oh, if I would be like little children and cease my “entertainment” of this life and seek the presence of our Heavenly Father!
As I untangle the mess of disorder (more clearly stated as untangling that which is not in order) in my life, he has already shown me the way through his Holy Scriptures:
- Glory to God
- Peace on Earth
- Goodwill towards Men
First, I must glorify and praise Him, he has set me free! He is worthy. He is holy. He is my strong tower. He is my ever-present help. I must know what he has done for me by studying the Word of God, which is inerrant and relevant to my day in every way. It isn’t only relevant to a certain culture or time period, but inspired scriptures for all generations. He is THAT mighty!
Only then, once I realize that it is His great name and power that is worthy of worship and praise can I experience the peace of Christ, who gives peace not as the world gives, but that passes all understanding and permeates my soul. A peace that is not based on my financial circumstance or a present situation of loss, grief, or mourning, but on something that is fixed in a stable place, which is Christ who is unwavering and always available.
Once I can grasp hold of this, I have gained it all.
Through this and only through this peace can we even begin to serve mankind and restore goodwill towards men through our actions and His Good News!
When all else begins to unravel in my efforts to witness or love others, I must as the shampoo bottle says: Wash, rinse, repeat. Go back to step one, giving God glory, abiding in his presence to achieve true cleansing that produces true results in my efforts to do his will.
I am so easily swayed by Satan to get out of order in so many delightfully “spiritual” ways. But true worship starts with a contrite heart before God that, without his help, I am only a breathless lump of clay on the ground, merely in the shape of a woman.
So I challenge myself today and everyday that the Lord would breathe life into my spirit to do his will for he alone is the one that gives me the will and the ability to obey. I pray that I would always remember to seek Christ and remember that anything else, no matter how spiritual, is hay and rubble.
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