Sitting with the Shepherd
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks. (Psalms 18:25-27 NKJV)
Our Father in heaven is gracious in that He meets us where we are at in the moment. I've heard it said that "He loves us just the way we are, but too much to let us stay that way!" He is indeed causing all things to work together for good in shaping us into His image, as we were initially created to be. As the author and finisher of our faith, our Father uses other people and the circumstances of this world to conform our character into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. And rather than grumbling and complaining, which can often times be our fleshly tendency, we can choose to be grateful and in all things give thanks.
But I see another application in this scripture that until today, I hadn't seen. In dealing with others as an instrument of potential change in their lives, we must align ourselves with what the Holy Spirit is working to accomplish. When we perceive a person to be in one of the categories in these verses, it is only reasonable that we align ourselves with what the Holy Spirit is accomplishing in their lives. In cooperating with the Holy Spirit we can help further their progress rather than hindering it. A merciful person needs to be dealt with mercifully and a devious person needs to be dealt with shrewdly. This presents a challenge for most believers in giving counsel and assistance to others. To treat the devious mercifully would be to hinder the work of the Spirit in their life and actually interfere with God's discipline. So we must not allow our spiritual condition to influence us in how we minister to them. This requires selflessness in our lives along with the spiritual gift of discernment. Ultimately God saves the humble, but for most of us the Holy Spirit must first bring us to a place of brokenness. May we seek never to hinder the Spirit's work in the life of another believer, but to minister with the wisdom God provides to do so.
For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. (Psalms 18:28 NKJV)
Questions for Personal Reflection or Discussion
1. How is God using people and circumstances to conform you into the image of Christ?
2. Have you helped or hindered the work of the Spirit in the lives of others?
3. What is God using in your life to bring you to a place of brokenness so He can bless you?
My Heavenly Father in heaven, my God, how blessed am I to know You as my Redeemer, Savior and friend. Day by day You open my eyes to the truth contained in Your Word. You have given me Your Spirit as the author and finisher of my faith and caused all things to work together for my good. I confess that too often I view life through a fleshly perspective and don't see what You are trying to accomplish in my life and the lives of those I minister to. Help me I pray to have clarity of vision in seeing Your will and helping to accomplish it. Amen