Have you ever felt the shame of inadequacy? It’s humiliating when others see that you’re ill-equipped for a task or lacking in knowledge on an issue. That hardly sounds like a positive thing, but it can be a blessing if you respond the right way.
Let your inadequacy drive you to God. Spend time in prayer and pour out your heart to Him. Draw comfort from His Word as you’re reminded of His care for you. He hasn’t abandoned you. On the contrary, God is using this humbling process to teach you two important lessons: to trust Him to work through your weakness and to depend on the power of His Holy Spirit.
Insufficiency reminds us to stop trying to do God’s will in our own strength. If we proceed down the path of self-sufficiency, we’ll become overwhelmed and burdened. But when we admit our inadequacies to God, the burden is lifted and we discover the contentment that comes with a dependent, trusting heart.
The Lord is sufficient for every need, and His strength is demonstrated in our weakness. If there’s an area in our life that we’re trying to manage on our own, let’s remember to relinquish control and depend humbly on the Lord. We can depend on Him to make us adequate.
Free funerals for the living. That’s the service offered by an establishment in South Korea. Since it opened in 2012, more than 25,000 people—from teenagers to retirees—have participated in mass “living funeral” services, hoping to improve their lives by considering their deaths. Officials say “the simulated death ceremonies are meant to give the participant a truthful sense of their lives, inspire gratitude, and aid in forgiveness and reconnection among family and friends.”
These words echo the wisdom given by the teacher who wrote Ecclesiastes. “Death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (Ecclesiastes 7:2). Death reminds us of the brevity of life and that we only have a certain amount of time to live and love well. It loosens our grip on some of God’s good gifts—such as money, relationships, and pleasure—and frees us to enjoy them in the here and now as we store up “treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).
As we remember that death may come knocking anytime, perhaps it’ll compel us to not postpone that visit with our parents, delay our decision to serve God in a particular way, or compromise our time with our children for our work. With God’s help, we can learn to live wisely.
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
“They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
“Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults. Also keep back Thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless, and I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:7-14).
God’s Word addresses the soul’s every need.
King David was a man of stark contrasts. He knew the humility of shepherding a flock and the prestige of reigning over a nation. He experienced glorious triumphs and bitter defeats. He sought after God, yet also suffered immense guilt and pain from immorality and murder. That led to even his own son’s seeking to take his life. Some of his psalms reflect great hope and others, despair. But through it all he continued to look to God, being assured of God’s sovereignty and the sufficiency of His divine resources.
In Psalm 19 David penned the most monumental statement ever made on the sufficiency of Scripture. As we study it in the days ahead, keep in mind that every need of your soul or inmost being is ultimately spiritual, and God has supplied sufficient resources to meet those needs completely. That was David’s confidence. May it be yours as well.
Suggestions for Prayer
Throughout our study of Psalm 19, ask God to give you fresh insights that will enable you appreciate and rest more fully in His gracious provisions.
Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.
— 1 Peter 3:3-4 (AMPC)
Sometimes we are more concerned with outward things than we should be and are not nearly concerned enough about our inner life. If we paraphrase today’s Scripture, we could say, “God may like your outfit, but He is not nearly as concerned about your outer appearance as He is with the inner condition of your heart.”
It is very important that we live our lives with godly character and the inner qualities that matter to God. Most people spend a lot of time getting dressed each morning and making sure they look just right, and that is a good trait. But we should first and foremost spend time making sure we are right in our thoughts and attitudes, because we cannot have good behavior unless we begin with a right heart attitude.
Take some time each morning to “set your mind” in the right direction. Confess any sin you have committed, forgive anyone you have anything against, and cast all your care on God concerning situations that are bothering you. With your mind set in the right direction, you will be able to be a good example to others throughout the day.
Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, help me develop such inner strength and peace that I can handle every situation in a way that represents You well to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The thought in David’s heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God’s anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty, unmeaning act. On no occasion had the Lord deserted His servant; he had often been placed in perilous positions, but not one instance had occurred in which divine intervention had not delivered him. The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many—yet in every case He who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. David could not put his finger on any entry in his diary and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire course of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him that God would be his defender still.
But is it not in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Hasn’t His loving-kindness been marvelous? Has He ever once failed to justify our trust? Our God has never left us at any time. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shone out amid the blackness; we have been in tough battles, but over our head He has held high the shield of our defense. We have gone through many trials but never to our detriment, always to our advantage; and the conclusion from our past experience is that He who has been with us in six troubles will not forsake us in the seventh.
What we have known of our faithful God proves that He will keep us to the end. Let us not, then, reason contrary to the evidence. How can we ever be so ungenerous as to doubt our God? Lord, throw down the Jezebel of our unbelief, and let the dogs devour it.
Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8a)
Maria turned on the faucet for her mom. Then she slowly followed the hose to where her mom was watering the flowers. “How was your day, Maria?” her mom asked.
“Not very good,” Maria said. “Jessica ruined it.”
“Jessica ruined your whole day. Hmm. How did Jessica do that?”
“She didn’t want to sit by me or play with me today. She played with Sarah instead. Jessica’s supposed to be my best friend!” Maria glanced at the flowers. “That flower needs some water, Mom. It looks brown.”
“My hose doesn’t reach that plant,” she said. “I need to replant that flower before it dies.”
“Oh,” Maria said. “Anyway, it’s going to be a bad year. I am the only third-grader without a best friend.”
“I know how important Jessica’s friendship is to you, sweetie. I’m sure she will still be your friend if you talk to her about it.” Mom started rolling up the hose, and they walked back to the house. “But Maria, don’t let this ruin your year – or even your day. You can still be happy even if Jessica is being unkind.”
“But it’s so hard! How can I be happy when Jessica is being mean to me?”
“Maria, do you see that plant down there next to your knee?”
“That really big one?” Maria asked.
“Yes. That’s the same kind of flower as that brown one back there.”
“Really?” Maria asked, looking from one to the other. “What makes it so different?”
“The difference is its water source. I can’t reach the brown one with my hose, so it has to wait for the rain to water it. But this big, green one is right underneath the leaky faucet. The drips from the faucet are a constant supply of water that help it grow. Even if there is no rain for weeks, that plant will still have water every day – because it is right next to the source of water.”
“Ok,” Maria said slowly. “I don’t get it.” Her mom smiled, and then turned off the hose.
“In the Bible, Jeremiah talks about people who trust in other people instead of trusting in God. Jeremiah compares those people to a plant in a desert. A desert plant does not have a constant source of water, so it will not live long or well. But someone who trusts in the Lord is like a plant living by a river. A plant next to a river will always be green and healthy because its roots get water from a constant supply. When you put your hope in a person – even a good friend like Jessica – you will be disappointed sometimes. No person could ever be a reliable source of abundant life.”
“Well, abundant means profitable or plentiful. An abundant life is full of all the good things God wants us to have.”
“Oh, now I get it,” Maria said. “If I want to have an abundant life, I have to get it from God, not Jessica – right?”
“Exactly,” Mom said. “Only God can be a constant Source of life for you. If you trust God to be your best friend, He will not let you down.”
“Wow! I hadn’t thought about it that way before.” Maria was quiet for a moment. “Um…Mom?”
“Can we move that brown plant closer to the source of water, now?”
And together they went to get the shovel.
Is God your best Friend? Or are you relying on other people and other things to give you happiness? God is the only One Who can be a reliable Source for full joy in life. Jeremiah 17 teaches that those who trust in the LORD are blessed.
Only God can be our Source of abundant life.
My Response: » Am I depending on people to be my source of abundant life at church, home, or school? » How can I show that I believe God is the only reliable Source of abundant life?
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