Tag: selfish ambition

Foolish competition!

Scripture reading for March 26: 2nd Samuel 1-4

When a leader dies, there is often a struggle for one to fill that place.  The Bible declares that it is God who raises up leaders and brings them down, too. (Psalm 75:6-7)  The flesh, however, harbors a spirit of competition.  It wants to exalt “self” and take over power, take over position, and have it’s own way.  This leads to factions, murder, and war.  A house divided against itself cannot stand! (Matthew 12:25)

Years before, the Lord had anointed David to be king.  David set up his kingship in Hebron as the Lord directed him.  (2nd Samuel 2:1-3)  David did not try and take over all of Israel or to destroy Saul’s house.  He was a man of character and knew God placed him where He desired.  Ish-Bosheth, son of Saul, was made king over the rest of Israel by Abner, the commander of Saul’s army.  There was competition between the two groups for power.

This competition took a deadly turn as Joab, commander of David’s army and Abner, commander of Ish-Bosheth’s army met one day at the pool of Gibeon.  A contest of hand to hand fighting resulted in the deaths of 19 of David’s men and 360 of Abner’s men!  (2nd Samuel 2:30-31)  The war between these two factions went on for a long time.  David grew stronger and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker.  (2nd Samuel 3:1)

Galatians 5:19-21 describes the works of the sinful nature. Some of these are dissensions, factions, envy, and selfish ambitions.  These sins cause competition and the resultant discord and evil.  When we center on self, as opposed to God’s will, trouble always results.  In the case of David, he had already been anointed as king by Samuel.   Saul’s offspring, Ish-Bosheth and his commander Abner, refused to listen to the Lord.  The result was competition that caused the death of innocent people.

Today, examine your own life for these works of the sinful nature.  Are you filled with envy over a person who seems to have a job, position, or relationship that you would like or feel you deserve?   Do you have desires for power or position that come from an inner need for recognition?  Give these to the Lord and allow Him to search your heart and bring peace.  He is able to place us where we need to be to accomplish His plan for our lives!  (Galatians 5:22-26)

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Imitating Christ!

Scripture reading for September 30th: Philippians 1:27-2:18

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ.  Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the Gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.  This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God.” (Philippians 1:27-28)  Paul wanted these saints to stand firm and live for Christ no matter what happened to him.  There was no need for fear because God had promised to take care of His own.  As they stood in unity without fear, this would be a sign to those who opposed them that God was with them and that they would be destroyed!  God uses some interesting signs!

The ultimate example of faith and trust in the face of suffering was Jesus Christ.  Paul reminded the Philippians to imitate Christ’s attitude. “Who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-7)  We are placed here by God to serve and obey Him.  This was Christ’ attitude and it should be ours!

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out you salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13)   Our obedience is not dependent on pleasing men, but God.  Choices are required each day to cooperate with God in accomplishing His purposes.

Paul was concerned with this churches witness after he was gone.  He did not want them to back off from their commitment to Christ if he was martyred or if they might also be martyred.  He was very aware of the temptations of the culture of that time.  He wanted them to let their lives shine for Christ and continue to reach the lost.  How much like Christ was Paul!  May we imitate our Lord as well!

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