The views expressed below are those of the writer and may not reflect the views of Rejoice Marriage Ministries or the Steinkamps.
Men, has the Lord placed a devotional on your heart that you would like to share with other standers?
Christmas is a celebration. How can anyone not like a love story of God’s pursuit of us? But I often think about Jesus. Was it a celebration for Him? A recent online devotional made me think more deeply about what I can learn from His life and His Words to us.
When the devil tempted Jesus after 40 days in the desert, he brought up three temptations. The first was for wealth (by turning stones into bread). The second was for power (by giving Jesus all the kingdoms of the world). And the last was for safety (that God will keep you safe). Interestingly, the devil used Psalm 91 for the third temptation.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:11-12
But wasn’t the devil right about what Psalm 91 is saying, that God will keep us safe? True, but the place of safety that God wants to take us is not the place we’re thinking of. We think that the place of safety is a place where there is no harm, no suffering, no pain. That’s what the devil wants you to believe. Ironically, a place like that could keep us from the safest place.
Jesus says in Luke 21:19 that “by standing firm you will gain life.” Or you can replace “life” with “safety.” Luke 21:19 makes more sense if you look at the verses before where Jesus predicted for his disciples, betrayals, beheadings, and being hated. Instead of running away from these trials, Jesus told them to “stand firm” in the trials because He has a lesson for all of us there.
If you live for anything that’s more important than God, you are not safe because circumstances can come and take that thing away and leave you with no self left, no meaning in life left, and no life itself left. Trials test us. They remove our securities. We pass the test if we can allow God to replace what was loss with Him. That’s how we can “gain our life;” otherwise, we’re enslaved to these things and endangered to lose life.
So If it’s not removing our troubles, what does Psalm 91 say about getting us through our troubles?
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4
Think deeply about the image of a mother bird covering her chicks. The mother is being the substitute. If rain or heat comes down on the chicks, the mother gets the rain or heat. If a predator comes, the mother gets hurt or even eaten. This is the image of Jesus covering us. Jesus Christ on the cross took the punishment for our sins. We are being kept safe from the greatest trouble that can come on us, death and hell. The devil wants us to think we’re safe because of our health, our money, our spouse, our children, our jobs, or whatever it may be. But they could all be taken away in an instant. But why would a loving God take such good things away?
Because they are in the way of something better.
I lost my wife a few years ago. Our divorce has been finalized. The excruciating pain in my heart told me how much I loved my wife, but it also told me how little I loved my God compared to my wife. I wouldn’t have known this without this pain. What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good. Now that I have learned my lesson, isn’t it time for God to bring my wife back? Have I really learned this precious lesson?
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. Psalm 42:1
Lorden in Colorado