Journeying To Spiritual Fitness - Lessons From The Word (2)
Continuing the Journey
After having a realization that I need to address my spiritual fitness I started documenting what I understand when I read the scriptures. This is mainly to get me into the habit of scrutinizing the Word of God more carefully when I read so I don't gloss over the truths that God wants to reveal to me in His Word.
I this second attempt I faced the same challenges that had me questioning my spiritual fitness in the first place, namely the cares of this world that seem always to try and crowd out God in my life... IF I let them. But God is good and I still shuffle along on the trail He has provided.
The Reading: 2 Kings 1-3; Psalm 82; 1Timothy 1
The scriptures from my reading plan primarily focus on the kings of the Old Testament. The first three chapters of 2 Kings introduces Ahaziah, Ahab's successor on the throne of Israel and his folly. It also gives the account of Elisha's transition from assistant to a leading role in the prophets of God as Elijah is translated. Elisha immediately establishes his ministry with displays of miracles and divine chastisement.
Jehoshaphat is still king of Judah and heeds the call for alliance with Ahazariah's successor on the throne of Israel, Jehoram when the Moabites rebel against Israel and refuse to pay required tributes. The king of Edom also joins them in this campaign. After journeying for seven days they were out of food and water and then decided with Jehoshaphat's urging to seek the prophet of God, Elisha to assist and provide guidance in their efforts to chastise Moab.
In Ps 82, is a reminder to those in leadership roles of what their function must encompass. They are servants, first and foremost under the leading and direction of God. In 1 Timothy 1, Paul introduces Timothy as a faithful servant and co-laborer in the work of Christ.
Here are some of the thins that I picked up from these passages.
- Recognize God as the ultimate authority - When Ahaziah falls ill he sends messengers to seek counsel from the god of Ekron, Baal-Zebub. God instead directs Elijah to inform the messengers that Ahaziah will die on his sick bed after which Ahaziah, angry, sends companies of soldiers to kill Elijah. The first two captains approached Elijah in arrogance, the same attitude of Ahaziah. However the third captain recognizes Elijah as a man of God and approaches him with the understanding of God being the ultimate authority, something that the first two captains completely missed. They instead saw Ahaziah as their first and foremost authority - foolish, just like their king. I can have many authorities that I need to answer to, however as a child of God, I need to understand that the ultimate authority in my life is my Lord and my God.
- Choose Godly people for role models - Elisha's role model was Elijah and the thing Elisha desired most was to have a double portion of God's Spirit reside on him. Elisha desired the best of what God placed in Elijah. I should look for Godly people to admire and recognize the best of what God has placed in them as something to emulate in my own life.
- Good Intentions can be misdirected - After Elijah was translated, prophets from Jericho wanted to go looking for him. Elisha told them not to because he knew they would not find him, however they still persisted and wasted three days. It seemed even more foolish since all the prophets seemed to be in sync with the fact Elijah was going to be taken by God. For me, it means that I should be careful how I direct my efforts. My good intention, regardless of how 'good' it is, won't be profitable if it's not aligned with God's will.
- A good name is invaluable - When the three kings sought Elisha the prophet they would have been ignored of not for the presence of Jehoshaphat. Elisha recognized the good king and only acted because of Jehoshaphat's heart for God. The victory that the procession of Israel, Judah and Edom armies obtained was solely because of the prophet's respect for Jehoshaphat, a Godly king. If I develop a good name before God, He will answer and deliver me in my time of need. I need to maintain a good name in God's eyes.
- Christ Jesus came to save sinners - Paul proclaims this is a trustworthy saying. It's a saying that's worth remembering, repeating and acting upon. I need to remember this too. It seems that so many times I get caught up with how to live the Christian life instead of the great commission which should be the key driver in my Christianity. A lot of time I'm pre-occupied with myself - my needs, my desires and my failings- but not the needs of others and particularly the lost.
My Lord and my God You are the ultimate authority in my life. There is none beside You. Show me the right people to associate with so I can develop as your child. Help me to focus my efforts correctly and keep a good name before you first, and people after. Lord, open my eyes and passion for the lost to see them as you see them and to share with them the love you have shared in my heart through your Holy Spirit.