If there are any wise or learned men among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions. But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or a self-seeking ambition, never make any claims for yourself or cover up the truth with lies – principles of this kind are not the wisdom that comes down from above: they are only earthly, animal and devilish. Wherever you find jealousy and ambition, you find disharmony, and wicked things of every kind being done; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it also makes for peace, and is kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
When Jesus, with Peter, James and John came down from the mountain and rejoined the disciples, they saw a large crowd round them and some scribes arguing with them. The moment they saw him the whole crowd were struck with amazement and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ he asked. A man answered him from the crowd, ‘Master, I have brought my son to you; there is a spirit of dumbness in him, and when it takes hold of him it throws him to the ground, and he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and goes rigid. And I asked your disciples to cast it out and they were unable to.’ ‘You faithless generation’ he said to them in reply. ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’ They brought the boy to him, and as soon as the spirit saw Jesus it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell to the ground and lay writhing there, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ ‘From childhood,’ he replied ‘and it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water, in order to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for anyone who has faith.’
Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do have faith. Help the little faith I have!’ And when Jesus saw how many people were pressing round him, he rebuked the unclean spirit. ‘Deaf and dumb spirit,’ he said ‘I command you: come out of him and never enter him again.’ Then throwing the boy into violent convulsions it came out shouting, and the boy lay there so like a corpse that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him up, and he was able to stand. When he had gone indoors his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ ‘This is the kind’ he answered ‘that can only be driven out by prayer.’
“This is the kind… that can only be driven out by prayer”
My wife has been sending me messages and articles to read via WhatsApp, encouraging me to take better care of myself; to detach from work, to eat better, to rest more. As you can probably guess by now, I do not do this well; I sleep something like 4-6 hours nightly, typically start work at about 4 in the morning and do not have a regular exercise programme.
This has begun to take a toll on me recently. I have become tired more easily, am short-tempered and generally not so nice to be around.
I have a wise spouse. Indeed, after the times I have taken better care of myself, I find that I am happier, more productive and a more loving husband and father.
Indeed, this is the same with our faith and our service.
My wife and I were once cell group leaders for a few couples. Being new to this, we were anxious but at the same time, enthusiastic. We threw ourselves into our roles and worked hard. Yet, we felt that we were ‘fake’ and not worthy of being cell group leaders. After a couple of years, we left the group.
Some time later, we realised that while we did pray during the period of service, we did not spend real time with our Lord. We mouthed our prayers superficially but did not build on our relationship with Him; we were trying to do everything on our own, depending on our own abilities.
Indeed, in order to be able to work in His name, we must truly have a close relationship with God. We need to continually tap into His fireplace; to draw warmth and strength. We cannot, and must not, ever try to do it on our own, if we are to do great things in His name.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer: We pray that we may remember to always build a relationship with You, Father. Help us to grow in faith and in love for You.
Thanksgiving: We are grateful for our Lord Jesus, who shows us how to spend time with You, Father. Thank You for helping us realise that we never have to do it on our own, that we can always tap into You.