“Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.””
– Luke 12:22 NIV
Welcome to the 4th weekly devotional recap of the year. This week, we learned about leaning on God, dealing with anxiety, failure and jealousy, and focusing on Christ.
We started the week with a charge on how to lean on God in difficult times. We looked at several characters in the Bible who went through prolonged hardship, and we examined how they overcame it. We came to the conclusion that prayer is important to overcome anxiety and depression, as well as reassuring ourselves of God’s love for us.
Our next topic was an admonishment to stop worrying and to cast our cares on Christ instead. If God can take care of the grass in the fields and the birds in the air, then we can rest assured that He has our back. When anxiety tries to creep in on us, we replace it with thanksgiving.
On Wednesday, we learned to set our affections right. Apostle Paul’s charge to the Colossian church rings true here.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2 NIV
Our focus as believers should not be on earthly pleasures, as these things never truly satisfy in the end. Our focus should be on Christ and His kingdom. This does not mean that God doesn’t want us to prosper (3 John 1:2). However, our priorities should be well-ordered. Our delight in Christ should clearly surpass all other things.
On Thursday, we discussed dealing with failure. Failure is something we would have to deal with as long as we are in this world, but we are not without hope. Jesus prepared us for unsavoury circumstances on this side of eternity when he said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
We know that all things work together for good. Because of this, we should be charged up to go again, regardless of how many times we fall. We know we will win in the end!
Finally, we examined overcoming jealousy. Jealousy is a dangerous trait that, if left to fester, can lead to other malicious things that we never thought we were capable of.
The first step to overcoming it is to acknowledge it and ask God for help (James 3:14). Most importantly, we must practice gratitude and contentment. Remember to take stock and count your blessings and all the time God has shown you His goodness and faithfulness. Rejoice in the victories of others as a testament to God’s faithfulness.
Our lives do not consist in the abundance of things we possess, therefore we must examine ourselves and displace desires and things that we have made our idols, and set our priorities in Christ, fully assured that he’ll take care of our needs (Matt. 6:33).
*Please catch up with your Bible reading/study this weekend. On Monday, we go again!