Daily Devotions

Opportunity or Anchor?!

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Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

I often read articles based on their title, which is ironic because I stink at writing my sermon titles. I am regularly intrigued by Niklas Goke’s article titles. The latest one to catch my eye is entitled, “Responsibility Is Freedom.” It reminds me of a good friend of mine. He owns his own business which has had between 100-200 employees over the years, depending on the latest technology. My friend was raised by blue-collar parents who worked hard for hourly wages. He felt the responsibility of all the families who relied on his business acumen in order to make their own living. Rather than shy away from the responsibility, he embraced it knowing he was making a difference in people’s lives.

Some people flee from responsibility. I know another person who cannot keep a job, walked out on his wife and kids, and isn’t financially supportive. He considers responsibility a burden, like an anchor around his leg. I wish this guy could read Goke’s article and internalize it. Goke affirms, “Freedom is not about shedding your responsibilities, it’s about choosing them.”  The one person I described used his freedom to take on responsibilities he valued, and has been successful, not just financially, but successful in life. The other person chose a warped sense of freedom and has yet to find lasting joy and meaning.

Today, consider the way you look at freedom. Is it an opportunity or an anchor? Have you used your freedom to make decisions that make a difference, or do you use your freedom to run away from responsibility? It is never too late. There are always new opportunities to use your freedom to make a positive difference in the world around you. “God blesses a cheerful giver.” That passage means more than money. It means giving of yourself and your freedom for a worthy cause. Find yours and live it to the fullest!

Be Nice

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Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

I believe most of us want to be good people and feel content when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Ayodeji Awosika agrees with me and explains how to be nice in his article, “How to Become the Type of Person You’re Proud to See in the Mirror.” In his article he breaks down what is necessary to be a good person. First, Ayodeji claims we need to “Be Nice to Everyone.” That sounds easy but is difficult because most people are only nice to people who are nice to us. It becomes much harder to be nice to someone who is nasty to us. God is calling us to find ways of showing others dignity and respect. This is just the start, if you want to actually be a good person.

Ayodeji says the next step is to “Stop Taking Credit.” Our present culture insists we market ourselves. This implies we seek recognition, because if you are not regularly being noticed and praised, you will be passed over and your life will be a failure. This marketing culture leaves little room for being nice, because “nice guys finish last.” Bravado and charisma have replaced being nice. If you continue to believe that taking credit is vital to a successful life, being nice will never be a priority.

Next on Ayodeji’s list is the command to “Swallow Your Pride.” He says, “Pride is the snake in the garden to your Adam and Eve.” Pride is what festers inside us and doesn’t let go of a slight. Pride happens when we believe we are owed something. When we begin to let go of slights and stop carrying about, keeping track of what we think we deserve, we are able to be nice.

Finally, Ayodeji believes “The Truth Behind Becoming a Truly Good Person” is being nice without putting your niceness on display. Rather than building up one’s fragile ego, personal development comes from realizing we are not more significant than others. We are all equal in the eyes of God. Today, prayerfully ask God to address your ability to be nice in all the situations in your life. Then, pray that the rest of our world can strive for the same goal. Nice isn’t a cute idea, but a transformative way of addressing the world around us.

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