As Christians, after receiving the life of Christ, we focus on letting go of our former, sinful ways. The reason we need to let go of those ways is because that they are not healthy and they lead to pain, sorrow, and even death. God helps us overcome our sinful habits and thoughts with every day that we trust in Him and communicate with Him.
Let’s pay particular attention to the opening phrases of this passage. Faith teaches us that we are all God’s children and have a responsibility for others. It’s easy to go through life not paying attention to the needs of others. That way, our consciences won’t be moved to do something. We can be quite comfortable by not looking at others in pain whether they are on the streets of our city or on a continent far away. We don’t have to go far to see examples of injustice. The real question is, “What do we do about it?”
Our works can take different directions depending on our circumstances. For those who have enough money, they can make donations to organizations that help with food and housing. For those with time, they can volunteer at food banks or homeless shelters. For some, they can volunteer for educational trips to other countries to help teach better methods of sanitation or purification of water. Everyone has some ability to help others. There are many people who do good things for others. Does that mean that they have faith?
Actually, no. In fact, I know of a gentleman who has organized a wonderful group to go to Africa to help organize the local women and teach them about maternal and child care. This man has no problem declaring that he is an atheist. His works are those of a good human being who has not faith in God, but of a good humanitarian. For those of us who declare that we are Christians, our faith needs to go hand in hand with the good works we owe our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate.
Dear God, I desire to turn from my sinful ways completely and never look back to them. I know that there is no joy in those ways so, I turn to you, Father. Thank you Lord for always being there to help me with your love, your guidance, and your patience. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
One of the most popular passages in the Bible at weddings, this verse explains that love cannot be self-seeking: love is about other people. Think about it: if your loving actions are done with others in mind, loving your neighbors as yourself and even your enemies, how easy would it be to love yourself? It is when we hold hatred in our heart that evil flows out. It isn’t always easy to control our own egos and not demand attention for our good deeds, but is the love that we spread and feel for ourselves after not enough? It surely is enough.
Infinitely loving God, I will praise you with all of my heart for all of my days. Assist me in my struggles with selfishness, O Lord, so that I can truly love the people around me that need it most. As you selfishlessly sent your only son, Jesus Christ, to die for us, help me to see the grander picture and commit to loving actions without thought of acknowledgment. I vow to love more freely and easily, praying these words to your holy name. Amen.