Romans 12:19 NKJV
Vengeance is God’s job, not yours. He will repay – whether on the Day of Judgment or in this life. He can discipline your abusive boss, soften your angry parent, bring your ex to his knees or her senses. Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right amount of retribution. We give too much or too little, but He has the precise prescription. And unlike us, He never gives up on a person. (And you should be glad about that). Long after we have moved on, God is still there probing the conscience, stirring conviction, orchestrating redemption. Fix your enemies? That’s God’s job. Forgive your enemies? Ah, that’s where you come in. “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to…God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead…’If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good” (vv. 17-21 NLT). Author Max Lucado says: “Revenge builds a lonely, narrow house. Space enough for one person. The lives of its tenants are reduced to one goal: Make someone miserable. They do – themselves. No wonder God insists we ‘Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent’ (Hebrews 12:15 TM).”
Soul food: Job 40-42; Luke 19:37-44; Ps 69:1-18; Prov 8:27-29
Romans 12:19 NIV
When someone hurts us, we often naturally want revenge. We want them to feel the pain that they have caused us. But revenge is not God’s way. God’s way is forgiveness. That doesn’t mean that justice doesn’t happen. God is the ultimate judge. It is up to Him to bring justice. He says: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’. That might be on Judgment Day or in this life. But He calls us to forgive others. We’re told to ‘Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to…God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Instead…”If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good’ (vv.17-21 NLT). Forgiving someone doesn’t mean they avoid justice; it means we’re trusting God to deal out justice. And He never gives up on a person. Even after we’ve moved on, God’s still there pricking the person’s conscience, stirring conviction in their heart, and orchestrating redemption and change in their life. The Bible says: ‘Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ’ (Ephesians 4:31-32 NCV). So let’s try and be people who forgive those who have hurt us, and leave the justice to God.
Job 40-42; Luke 19:37-44; Ps 69:1-18; Prov 8:27-29
Matthew 16:24 NIV
Surrender doesn’t mean being passive and just letting things happen to us. God’s will for our lives involves being creative, making choices, and taking initiative. It doesn’t mean that we stop using our mind, stop asking questions, or stop thinking critically. Surrender means that we acknowledge that God’s purposes and reasons are wiser and better than our desires. Jesus doesn’t come to rearrange the outside of our lives the way we want; He comes to rearrange the inside of our lives the way God wants. In surrender, we let go of our life. We recognise that we’re no longer the centre of everything, and instead we believe that God is. In surrender we become obedient to Him, we do what He says. Jesus was very clear about this when He said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Following Jesus means we have to put Him first. We have to stop thinking about ourselves, and think about Him. This may sound extreme, but it’s not detrimental to us. We’re not surrendering to a harsh, demanding God. We’re surrendering to a loving Father Who wants the best for us. The Bible says: ‘Depend on the LORD; trust him, and he will take care of you. Then your goodness will shine like the sun, and your fairness like the noonday sun’ (Psalm 37:5-6 NCV). He promises to take care of us. We can surrender to Him, depend on Him, and trust Him. Surrendering to God is the best thing that we can do.
Job 15-17; Luke 17:20-37; Ps 19; Prov 8:6-7
1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV
The biggest plus factor you can have on your job is the God factor. Paul writes, “We are labourers together with God.” Consider these three powerful words: “together with God.” A surgeon in a large city hospital had a habit of insisting on a few minutes alone before he performed an operation. He had an outstanding reputation, and one of the young doctors who worked with him wondered if there might be a correlation between this habit of spending time alone and the man’s success. He asked the surgeon about it and he answered, “Yes. Before each operation I ask the Great Physician to guide my hands in their work. There have been times when I didn’t know what to do next in a surgery, and then came the power to go on – power I knew came from God. I would not think of performing an operation without asking His help.” The surgeon’s words quickly spread through the hospital, then across the country. One day a father brought his daughter to the hospital, insisting that the only doctor he would allow to touch her was “the one who worked with God.” The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV). Note, it doesn’t say don’t “use” your understanding – it says don’t “lean” on it. Instead, lean on God. “Acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your steps.” If you want success on the job, this is a proven formula for achieving it.
Soul food: Exo 28-29; Luke 14:1-14; Ps 106:1-23; Prov 7:1-2
Psalms 39:7 NLT
When we go through tough times, we can end up feeling discouraged. We may feel like giving up because the situation is too overwhelming or seems never-ending. Instead, we need to try and view our discouragement as an opportunity for growth. But how do we do that? Firstly, we need to admit how we feel. That doesn’t mean we have to sit around in self-pity or negativity; it means trusting God enough to acknowledge how we really feel. Pretending things are fine when they’re not, doesn’t help us in the long run. It’s not unusual to feel this way, so we shouldn’t feel ashamed. Throughout the Bible, we see people struggle with the same feelings. The psalmist asked God to help him cope with despondency (have a read of Psalm 42 and 43). And at one point Paul was under so much pressure he ‘despaired of life itself’ (2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV). Secondly, we need to identify the source. Discouragement often comes after a setback or disappointment. Did something we set our hearts on fall apart? Did somebody let us down? Thirdly, it’s a good idea to talk about it to someone we trust. That may be someone in our family, our church, or a counsellor. Solomon said, ‘The more wise counsel…the better your chances’ (Proverbs 11:14 MSG). Sometimes we can find it hard to open up to others, because we worry about what they’ll think of us. But talking to the right people can help us feel less alone. Finally, we need to put our hope in God. David said, ‘Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.’ When our hope is in God, He replaces discouragement with confidence so that what we’re going through can help us to grow spiritually.
Exo 16-18; Luke 12:35-48; Ps 66:13-20; Prov 6:23-25