34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life . . .Luke 21:34 ESV
Getting weighed down by the cares of this life.
Without even noticing, we find ourselves there. Burdened, overwhelmed, weighed down. And, when I let myself get there, every day a little lower than the day before, I stop living for Him. I stop showing love for others because my focus turns so inward that I can’t see beyond myself.
5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;2 John 5-6 ESV
For that reason, God warns us to watch ourselves. Stay alert. Love others. This is not a new instruction that God is springing on us. He has always said to love others.
Loving others = obedience to God
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.2 Chronicles 7:12-16
Sometimes, when bad things start getting dumped on our life we start to pity ourselves, getting weighed down by despondency. But, sometimes (sometimes . . .) we can find a reason for those bad things as they are the consequences of our wrong choices. Just as that temple was built for God’s dwelling place, we as believers are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We have been chosen and indwelt by Him.
But, that doesn’t mean that we love perfectly or that we obey perfectly, similar to the people of Israel. Although they started with great intentions, sacrificed a boatload of animals and honored God with a beautiful ceremony that left them feeling good (2 Chronicles 7:10), they still strayed. God warned them that it would come, and that His discipline would follow. But that would not be the end of the story.
If we, who are called by His name, humble ourselves. If we pray. If we seek His face. if we turn from our wicked ways.
. . . then He will answer. He will hear. He will forgive. He will heal.
But the Lord is in his holy temple;Habakkuk 2:20 ESV
let all the earth keep silence before him.”
There is a time to clamor and shout for joy and worship with dancing and raised hands. And, there is a time for silent awestruck wonder. At Christmas time I’m more in that awestruck wonder moment.
All God has done. All I owe Him. All the love He showed me. All the love I need to reflect to others. My faith might at times be silent, but it should never be static.
Father God, thank you for joy and love that clearly is beyond me. Help me stay alert and not allow complacency, regret, or guilt to turn my focus inward. May my life be a continual messenger of your love to the world out of unbridled obedience to You. In Jesus name, Amen.