If I may use human terms to help your natural weakness: as once you put your bodies at the service of vice and immorality, so now you must put them at the service of righteousness for your sanctification.
When you were slaves of sin, you felt no obligation to righteousness, and what did you get from this? Nothing but experiences that now make you blush, since that sort of behaviour ends in death. Now, however, you have been set free from sin, you have been made slaves of God, and you get a reward leading to your sanctification and ending in eternal life. For the wage paid by sin is death; the present given by God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already! There is a baptism I must still receive, and how great is my distress till it is over!
‘Do you suppose that I am here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on a household of five will be divided: three against two and two against three; the father divided against the son, son against father, mother against daughter, daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
And all that he does shall prosper
Sometimes, when I read the bible, I feel like I’m a treasure hunter digging for gold. I’m always looking out for precious promises that I can cling onto. For instance, when I find a verse that comforts me, I feel like I’ve chanced upon a buried treasure. I’ll quickly unearth it by writing it down into my notebook and slowly savour it throughout the day or save it for a later date, when I happen to be in need of it. So you can imagine my joy when I read the psalm today!
In today’s psalm, we have a precious promise from God – a promise which states “Happy the man who places his trust in the Lord”. Why would such a man be happy? The bible goes on to say it is because “He is like a tree that is planted beside flowing waters, that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves shall NEVER fade; and ALL that he does SHALL PROSPER.” (emphasis mine) A tree that is planted beside flowing waters is one that is constantly refreshed and revived. It will never wither simply because it is planted beside a fresh supply of water that will never end! What exactly does that mean? It means this – that no matter how harsh our current circumstances may be, when we choose to place our trust in God, we will flourish like that tree!
Where can we find that living water from which we can draw on? From Jesus, himself! In fact, the first person to experience that living water was the Samaritan woman at the well, who became freed from the shackles of her past and transformed into an empowered evangelist. She had gone to draw water from Jacob’s well at the sixth hour (as there would be no one there) when she met Jesus, who asked her for a drink. In the course of their conversation, Jesus declared “No one who drinks the water that I shall give will ever be thirsty again: the water that I shall give will become a spring of life within, welling up for eternal life.” (John 4:14) Clearly, Jesus is the living water from which we can draw on.
How then can we draw from Jesus? By sitting at his feet, like what Mary did. When Jesus visited Mary and Martha, the bible states that Martha busied herself and “was distracted with all the serving” while Mary just “sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened to him speaking”. She was resting and receiving from the Lord. At the end of the day, Martha was left feeling frustrated and blamed the Lord for not caring that she was left with so many things to do alone. Notice what the Lord says. Instead of giving his approval for her “fruitful” use of time, the Lord gently chided, “Martha, Martha … you worry and fret about so many things, yet few are needed. INDEED ONLY ONE. It is Mary who has chosen the better part, and it is not to be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38 – 42)
Beloved, all that we need to do is to rest and receive from Jesus. When we rest and receive from Jesus, only then can we flourish like the tree. Many a times, we strive by our own efforts to get ahead in life. We fret and worry over so many things when only one is truly needed.
Are you currently feeling overwhelmed by the chores of your daily life? Are you tired of striving and fighting to get ahead? Are you currently under fire by the circumstances in your life? Are you facing an insurmountable task? Or feeling burnt out and weary by all your struggles?
The Lord says come. For only one thing is necessary. “Come and sit by my feet,” he says. “Come and rest in me. For only then will you flourish, only then will you succeed.” After all, isn’t that God’s precious promise? Like a tree whose leaves are evergreen, you will not wither but overcome. And like a tree who bears fruit in due season, you too will bear fruit eventually, at the right moment- and all that you do shall prosper! (Psalm 1:3)
Did you catch that? Let me repeat:
And ALL THAT YOU DO SHALL PROSPER.
When we put our trust in God, and when we draw from Him, every task or endeavour that we undertake (be it at home, at work or elsewhere) the Lord will bless and we shall prosper (i.e we shall succeed or do exceedingly well in it!). Isn’t that amazing? Dear friends, let’s put our trust in God today and claim this precious promise. If you’d like, write this verse down in a little notebook or somewhere easily accessible and hold it close to your heart. You never know when you might need to savour it again at a later date 😉
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for your precious promise to us today. Like the man in Psalm 1, we want to place our trust in you, so that we can grow and flourish daily. Even in our busy moments, help us to remember you and to draw from you daily by resting and receiving from your grace. Prosper us in our work and in all that we do, so that we may glorify you. We surrender our current circumstances, our home and work environments entirely to you. Grant us your strength, wisdom and peace Lord as we place our trust in you. Amen!
Thanksgiving: We thank you Lord for your precious promises and for being the same yesterday, today and forever!
Fri, 21 Oct – Romans 7:18-25; Luke 12:54-59
Sat, 22 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 23 Oct – Exodus 22:20-26; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40; Thirteeth Sunday of Ordinary Time