You Don't Have To
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Some years ago there was a really bad fight in my home congregation, and a couple of people were spreading horrible lies about me and my husband. And people started calling us and telling us to fight back. "Get your story out there!" they said. "Fight back. Tell everybody about all the bad things X and Y have done, all the secret stuff you know about them. Write letters. Make phone calls. Plan strategies. Don't let them have the last word."
Normally, we would have done exactly that. But not this time. After praying, we were convinced that God wanted us to follow Jesus' example during His suffering, instead. And so we stood still and let God deal with it.
Do you know what a relief that was? It still hurt, yes. And of course we told the truth when we were asked. But it was lovely not having to manage our own defense—not staying up late worrying—not calculating the effects of every word we said. We didn't have to. Our enemies were grasping for power, for popularity, to make a name for themselves. We knew that we already had a name they could never take away from us—children of God, dearly beloved through Jesus our Savior. We didn't have to defend that. God has already done it.
The same is true for you. You don't need to win every argument—to come out on top in every battle—to be seen victorious in every struggle. If you choose, you can tell the truth and walk away. You can leave your defense, and your future, in the hands of God, just as Jesus did. That might mean vindication, or it might mean more suffering. No matter. The things that really matter are the things that no one can take away from you—the gifts that God holds safe in His hands.
Because Jesus suffered and laid down His life for you, you matter. You are loved and forgiven. God knows your name, and He will never abandon you. He treasures you. Because Jesus rose from the dead, you will live forever. You may suffer, but you cannot be permanently destroyed. You may lose so much—family, position, reputation, even life itself—but you will not lose God, and He will not lose you. You are His forever.
Dear Lord, help me to trust You when I am afraid. Give me Your peace. Amen.
Dr. Kari Vo
1. Do you know anybody who has to have the last word in every argument?Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
2. What does that attitude do to their sense of peace, do you think?
3. When have you rested and trusted God to take care of a bad situation?
Some years ago there was a really bad fight in my home congregation, and a couple of people were spreading horrible lies about me and my husband.