EXPRESSIONS OF FAITH
Finding grace and peace
By Russell Stephen Pang
As we evaluate our relationship with Jesus, we may ponder some thoughts and questions.
God told Joshua: "Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."
Words of wisdom from God, yet many believers fail to read and meditate on Scripture daily. Why? Jesus said the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lust for other things choke out God's word. John tells us to love neither the world nor the things in the world.
Admittedly, the lure of this world is strong, but is this a valid excuse? Dare we blame the many radio stations, TV channels, newspapers, good books, and activities from sports to crafts, or the seductive Internet? In this forest of choices, how do we find our way back to God's frequency?
First, will we confess that our priorities have been misplaced and our mindset has been to please ourselves rather than God? Then will we truly repent and begin renewing our minds and hearts with Scripture? Will we embrace Jesus' command to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Will we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves? Will we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not lean to our own understanding?
Will we challenge our motives by asking, "Why do we do what we do?"
Will our reading and meditating of Scripture be done merely to pacify our conscience? Or will we read and meditate because we want to know God and his will for us?
Will we read and meditate to increase our faith and our relationship with Jesus, and because our spirits cannot live without spiritual food?
As our minds are being renewed, let us embrace a philosophy of life: "The reason I live is to please God." Then let us continually juxtapose all our thoughts and feelings against this motto.
Let us boldly align our lives with Scripture whether we feel like it or not, because our feelings are not always accurate. Faith follows fact and not feelings, so let us be obedient by reading and meditating on Scripture so we may get off the treadmill of disobedience.
Perhaps we may also pray daily: "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, for ever."
As we follow Jesus' example and live our lives solely to please God, we will experience grace, mercy, and peace, and yes, joy in our Lord.
Russell Stephen Pang is a member of First Presbyterian Church. Expressions of Faith is a column that welcomes written works from leaders in faith and spirituality. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 525-8035. Such works may be published or distributed in print, electronic or other forms.