Greater Joy

We make a big mistake when we read a part of the Bible and think “okay, where am I at in these verses?” The Bible is not here to point us to ourselves but to point us to God.

A huge change in my walk with God occurred when I realized every story in the Bible is there to point me to Him and not to myself. (Seems pretty easy, huh?) How many times do we read thinking the latter though? I once read verses 27-28 of Matthew 5 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Afterwards, I legitimately thought to myself, okay, I need to try not to make eye contact with guys anymore. If I see a good looking guy, I should look at the floor instantly. Yes, we should guard ourselves. We are human and are prone to make mistakes (many times without us even realizing it’s happening). But these verses are pointing us to something greater. God is after your heart, not just the physical obedience. You can look good or be acting good on the outside, but that’s not what God is after. He’s after your heart.

When we search through Scriptures looking for things we can try to apply to our lives, we also tend to take things out of context to try to apply it and miss the purpose of the verses.

Psalm 46:5 “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” I have seen or heard that verse quoted several times referring to a woman who is about to embark upon some new or challenging task. She is saying she can do it because God is in her, she won’t fail. While it is true that you can’t fail if God is with you, in this verse the “her” is God’s City. In the previous verses of that same Chapter, it talks about the city of God withstanding different disasters because God is there.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” God will allow you to do all things He wants you to do, but God won’t bless all that you try to do. God may let you lose that game, or not finish first in that race. God is not concerned for the temporary things in this world. Yes, he can use small, temporary things to help proclaim His glory. This verse is an emphasis of obedience to God and serving God by serving others.

I also need to stress that God’s “thou” and “thou shall not”s are his ways of leading you to joy and His glory. God wants you to have a joy that transcends circumstances. While I am sorry if I did disappoint you by ruining your favorite, strength inducing verse. Strength that doesn’t come from you, but God is so much better. It takes strength to be content no matter the circumstances, and that is strength that can only come from God. God will never give His Children something that will ultimately hurt them.

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