He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. As for man, His days are like grass, He flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children - with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts. (Psalm 103: 9-18)
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Yesterday, we read about the amazing benefits in following Christ. My hope and prayer is that you experienced a full day where you intentionally did not take them for granted.
Unlike devotions in the past, I wanted to take time today and finish out Psalm 103. As you have probably discovered, today's passage is literally a continuation of yesterday's "benefit" theme.
In a nut-shell, you just read that: He forgives. Ceases all accusations. Relents all anger. Forgets wrongdoings. Treats us better than we deserve. Sees us as new. Loves deeply. Removes all stains. Has great compassion. Understands our fallen condition. And remains with us forever.
Wow...right? No joke, I could take up pages upon pages by diving into the beauty and extravagance of these awesome benefits.
But today, I want to turn the tables on our focus. Though the awareness of these benefits - these blessings - do cause us to respond to Christ with radical love (as discussed yesterday), I believe that the righteous and obedient response does not stop there.
In fact... We are benefited to benefit.
Paul writes this in Ephesians 5: "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (v. 1-2)
Here, Paul is urgently challenging us to do as God does. And when we put this challenge inside the discussion of God's benefits, we realize something amazing.
You see, He gives us these benefits so that we can give out these benefits to others.
So together, let's uncover what it would mean to "imitate" the giving of God's loving benefits.
Think about it. What would it be like for you to grant people these exact benefits today? To literally bring these qualities into your many relationships? To dress yourself in these particular characteristics of righteousness?
For me...it would mean that I would forgive more.
That I would stop accusing and pointing fingers at other peoples' mistakes. That I would silence my anger towards people. That I would forget - really forget - all of the pain, discomfort, disappointment, and bitterness that people have caused me. That I would treat everyone better than I think they currently deserve.
That I would choose to look past people's mistakes and shortcomings. That I would actually see all Christian's as new, despite their hangups and weaknesses. That I would love deeply. That I would give grace to all. That I would play an active role in the redeeming work that God is doing.
That I would exchange my daily annoyance and selfishness for compassion and servanthood. That I would remember that people are just as fallen as I am. And I would remain with all people; no longer giving up on those who are so easy to give up on.
As you can see, imitating God's given benefits has us giving a lot.
So, I ask again... What would it be like for you to grant people these exact benefits today?
After you discover your answer(s), I encourage you to do as He does; to benefit as He benefits. And we would love to know, which one stands out? Feel free to let us know in today's Instagram post! You can find it at Instagram.com/DeclareGlory.
Greg, Declare Glory