Just but Non-judgmental

Genesis 31:36-37 KJV
And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass? what is my sin, that thou hast so hotly pursued after me?  Whereas thou hast searched all my stuff, what hast thou found of all thy household stuff? set it here before my brethren and thy brethren, that they may judge betwixt us both.

Christlikeness is:  being just yet non-judgmental.

Jacob was mad for being accused by Laban wrongly. He let his anger and frustration out when no proof was found.  And it’s true that he didn’t steal the idols. Laban wasn’t completely wrong though, he was just accusing the wrong person. Jacob didn’t steal the idols,  Rachel – his wife did. The search, although thorough wasn’t thorough enough. It’s interesting to note that the person Laban never doubted was the only guilty entity.

Just because the evidence or proof isn’t found doesn’t mean there’s no proof or evidence that exists. We need to be very careful in making conclusion about people and situation.  Again, just because we look right doesn’t mean we’re right. Just because our stand may be supported by circumstances doesn’t mean we’re absolutely right. That’s why people get blamed for wrongs they don’t do, and at times the guilty gets away with it. We need to give people benefit of doubt, or perhaps the benefit of truth.

Dear God, may we be non-judgmental and just. May we not make biased conclusions and unfounded accusations, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Gratefulness and Fairness

Genesis 29:15 KJV
And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?

Christlikeness is: gratefulness and fairness.

There are two men here with two distinct actions. It’s implied that Jacob had been working for Laban. It’s most probably the way Jacob showed gratitude and appreciation for the accommodation Laban gave him. Laban on the other hand didn’t take advantage of Jacob, at least at this point of their relationship. He wanted to compensate Jacob for his services.

There are so many people in my life I owe so much to. I owe them a great deal of debt of gratitude. People who didn’t give up on me when I was on the wrong path, people who invested their time, money, and energy to provide what I needed when I wasn’t on any position to reciprocate their Good Samaritan acts – there are many of them. I can definitely show my appreciation by willingly serving them.  I also need to make sure that I don’t take advantage of other people’s debt of gratitude if the roles were reversed. It will be noble to compensate them for their services especially when or if I’m capable.

Dear God,  may I be grateful and fair, in Jesus’ Name,  amen.

Righteousness and Trust

Psalms 4:5 KJV
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord .

Christlikeness is:  righteousness and trust.

There are two exhortations here. One has to do with offering and one has to do with trust. The offering here may be taken different ways. It may mean to offer righteous offerings. It may mean to offer righteousness. It may mean to offer with righteous hearts.  The trust part may be taken as the second exhortation or a reasonable consequential act when one has offered the sacrifices of righteousness.
There may be reasons why we won’t offer sacrifices of righteousness. We may feel like we may be losing something or that we’ll be missing out on some wonderful things in life. Taking for example one of the possible meanings related to offering, we may think that if we live righteously, then we’ll be missing out on the pleasures of sin. That’s true, but we’ll also be spared from its destructive consequences. And whatever they may be that we may think we’re missing out on, we can trust God that He’ll give us something worth way much better. In fact, He will always give us the best.

Fear God, please help me to live in righteousness and trust.

Value God’s Blessings

Genesis 25:34 KJV
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Christlikeness is: valuing God’s blessings

Esau, being Sovereignly blessed with the awesome rights of the firstborn very easily gave up his birthright – almost mindlessly – to his brother Jacob.  He traded it for food and drink – not a lifetime of supply or even a week supply but just that meager one time provision for his immediate need. This act most probably wasn’t a noble act of graciousness, charity,  or selflessness;  it was a demonstration of contempt for something so important.

God has graciously poured out His precious blessings on me; I’m one of the privileged recipients – and very grateful too.  I appreciate all His undeserved blessings. And this I always need to do. In fact, I ought to appreciate Him and His blessings more, and value Him and His blessings more. The air I breath,  the life I enjoy, the earth I live in,  the salvation I’ve received, the sunshine to brighten my days, the rain that water the earth, the wife I love, the kids I adore, the church I treasure, the health, the wealth, the peace, the joy – all these and so much more,  blessings seen and unseen,  blessings known and unknown – they’re innumerable. Just because I enjoy them,  just because I experience them day by day doesn’t mean they lose their value or importance. And when it comes to these things, I ought not to fall prey to the common adage and trend: “over-familiarity breeds contempt.” I ought to hold them dear and treat each of them humbly and thankfully well. May I never ever sacrifice them at the altar of something/s of so little value just to satisfy any immediate desire.

Dear God,  thank You for all Your wondrous gifts. May I treat them with utmost care and appreciation. And may I enjoy  them to the fullest, in Jesus’ Name,  amen.

Accept Each Other

Luke 9:50 KJV
And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

Christlikeness is: accepting each other despite our differences

Jesus didnt want His disciples to stop another person from casting out devils just because he wasn’t a part of their group. In what way that man wasn’t a part of their group isn’t specified. It may mean that he was getting ahead and was doing things on his own, or it could simply mean that he wasn’t a part of their traveling group. Whatever the concerned disciple meant,  Jesus’ response showed that the man was doing something right. Even his use of the Name of Jesus was in the right place – unlike the seven sons of Sceva we read in Acts 19.

Just because others aren’t part of our circle doesn’t necessarily mean they’re our enemies. We have to extend and broaden our reach to those who may not have exactly all the same beliefs like we do. There are a lot of other groups who love and worship the same God we love and worship; we may just have different ways of worshipping. They believe in the same Lord and Savior Jesus we believe in; we may just have little differences in the way we perceive Who He is. We believe that His words are the authority for doctrine and conduct; we may just have slight variations in our understandings and applications.

Dear God, please help us to not dismiss each other right away as enemies or heretics. Please help us to accept each other as family in you despite our petty differences – in Jesus Name, amen.

Love and Forgiveness

Luke 7:47 KJV
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Jesus was talking about a woman who was directly referred to in the story as a sinner. She wasn’t introduced by her name or her place of origin. Being a sinner may have been her widespread reputation. She became Jesus’ example of a principle: the amount of forgiveness a person receives from someone has a direct proportionality to the amount of love a person has toward that someone.

I’ve been forgiven so much by God. That’s why I love Him so much. I humbly and regrettably admit though that He has forgiven me immeasurably more than I love Him. And I want to and need to love Him so much more.

This is true even with my wife. I’ve wronged her so much; she has forgiven me so much; I love her so much. The worst the sins she’s forgiven me of,  the more the love I have towards her and the more the love I want to have still.

Lord, Thank You for Your great love and forgiveness. May I love you more. Thank you for a very loving wife who had forgiven me much. May I love her more.

Let’s Love our Enemies

Luke 6:35 NLT
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.”

Christlikeness is: loving our enemies

Jesus expects us to treat our enemies the way He does – not the way we would instinctively react to them,  not in a way that they act towards us or others.

We ought to love those who hate us. We ought to do good to those who do us wrong. We ought to lend to those who are stingy to us. These actions and the like set us apart as who we really are: God’s children; followers and imitators of God our Father.

Lord, may I act towards my enemies the way you do: lovingly.

Ultimate “Orchestrator”

Genesis 14:20 NLT
“And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered.”

Abraham and his allies just won a major victory against his enemies. But the praise here was directed to God. God ultimately was the one who defeated Abraham’s enemies.

God really deserves way more than all the praises we can ascribe to him in our lifetime – and beyond. Our achievements, though we feel like we have accumulated many of them,  though we feel like we’ve put in much intelligent planning and hard work into them,  though we’ve enjoyed the satisfaction they’ve brought, God really was the silent, behind the scenes “Orchestrator” of all of them.

Yes,  we may get the temptation of getting all the credit and even be proud because of them, but  that doesn’t change a thing; without God,  none of our accomplishments would be possible. Without Him,  we can do nothing. Without Him,  we are nothing.

We may enjoy our successes. But we always need to remember,  God is the One Who gives us success.

Babel Project

Genesis 11:4 KJV
“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

There are the possible reasons why God disapproved of the Babel project. First, it may have been because they were building it for themselves – their purposes, and not for God. Second, pride;  they may have wanted to become famous. Third,  disobedience to God’s mandate to go and re-fill the earth.

Our goal for all our undertakings ought to be to serve God’s purposes. Any blessing or benefit we get ought to be because of us serving Him.  Second, everything we do ought to be for God’s glory. It’s not wrong to be complimented and to be popular; let’s just make sure that even those be for His honor. Third, let’s take His commands very seriously. Our ventures ought to be in obedience to His mandate,  not contrary to them.

May we continue to build beautiful and even grand things for God. May we shine our lights to all people for them to see our good works and glorify God. May we go and spread the influence of the Gospel to as many nations as possible.

Make Way

Luke 3:4-6 KJV
“As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Christlikenesss is:
          clearing the way for the Lord

Unfilled valleys, high mountains, crooked paths – they may represent hindrances that make it difficult for people to experience the Lord’s salvation. We have lifestyles we’ve gotten so familiar with that may not necessarily be pleasing to the Lord. There are things we do that are convenient and beneficial to us but may not necessarily be acceptable to Him. These and many other factors may be causing us not to see and enjoy the fullness of everything God wants to be and to do in our lives. This is true not only to us but to other people too.

I ought to be a voice crying out in the middle of this present generation wilderness,  “Prepare the way of the Lord.”

May this preparation start with me. May I take up the shovel or ride the bulldozer – whatever is necessary to clear the way between our Saviour and those who need his salvation.