I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Laura Hardin (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
“Be strong, all you people of the land—this is the Lord’s declaration. Work! For I am with you—the Lord’s declaration of the Lord of Armies” (Haggai 2:4).
I thought work was an effect of the fall—a laughable admission for a twenty-two year old college student who would depend on her degree to get a decent job after graduation. I needed my college mentor to graciously come alongside me with her Bible opened to Genesis. She walked me through the first few chapters, asking me to note when Adam first worked.
We saw that the Lord gave both Adam and Eve a big job right from the beginning. He told them to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens and every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). And before we saw God giving humans work to do, we saw God working masterfully himself as he created the world. Even now he masterfully holds all things together by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3).
Work is part of who God is. As his image bearers, we work because he works. As we consider the work before us this week, let us remember that apart from Christ, we can do no real good (John 15:5). Sin corrupts our work, swinging our hearts from not wanting to lift a finger for his name to wanting to do all the things for our own glory.
Let us also remember that Christ Jesus is a masterful worker too. He masterfully completed the work of our salvation—diligently serving God the Father every single moment of his life, pouring himself out on the cross, and rising from the dead in everlasting glory. And he masterfully redeems the work of every person who trusts and obeys him.
Because he did the work of saving us, we can now work for his glory. Our work has been redeemed. No matter how small or how great, how mundane or how remarkable, our work has eternal value.
I bet it doesn’t feel that way.
We work in a world devastated by sin. We have this sinful nature that tempts us to orient everything we do around our own desires. We have an enemy who schemes against our faith as we are going about our Christan lives. By the looks of things, the odds are stacked against us. And that’s precisely why we must call the following four words to mind when we’re tempted to give up, “God is with you.”
It sounds too simple but these are the same words our Lord spoke over and over to his people when calling them to a task too mighty for them. He spoke them to:
God is with you when you stand alone after service, resisting the temptation to bolt or solely associate with good friends. He pours love into your heart for people who are not like you. He uses you to stir up his holy work in the community. He blesses you to serve.
God is with you as you head into the office, as you chat with a neighbor, as you engage with another mom on the playground or sit in a class that is kicking everyone’s butt. His spirit fills. His spirit compels. He gives courage to open your mouth and speak words seasoned with grace and truth.
God is with us and his presence empowers faithfulness. Blessed be his name.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 Peter 2:9
Questions to Reflect on:
1. Consider all you plan to do this week alongside the priorities outlined in the Bible. In what ways do your priorities align and/or misalign with God’s priorities?
2. As you look ahead to the day or week ahead, how can you keep the reality of God’s immediate presence before you?
3. How does the knowledge of God being with you strengthen you for the work at hand?