The Lesson and Life for January 3, 2016

December 28, 2015 No Comments »
The Lesson and Life for January 3, 2016

Devotional thoughts on Genesis 29:15-30

By Elizabeth Matko

Jacob encountered some tough family issues. No matter how good our families are, we too will experience damaged relationships. How can we avoid frustration, disappointment, and discouragement?

Focus on the Right Goal 

Your priority is to please God—not to satisfy yourself or gratify other people (Colossians 3:23). When we put our faith into practice by caring for our family members, God is pleased (1 Timothy 5:4). 

Remember the Good Samaritan? He sacrificed his time, efforts, and resources to meet the needs of a fellow human being. Each time you do this for your family, you are delighting God—even when it is unnoticed and unappreciated by others. 

Depend on God’s Grace Alone 

Maneuvering through relationship issues using your limited strength and wisdom is ineffective. We can’t master our own thoughts, attitudes, emotions, or behavior. We certainly have no control over others. Fortunately God pours his grace on us abundantly, insuring that we’ll have the faith and love we need to handle our interpersonal problems (1 Timothy 1:14). However, we must willingly place ourselves under God’s grace and surrender our families to him. Likely when you first began your relationship with Christ, you trusted him to do it all. Now do the same with your other relationships. Resting in God’s grace accomplishes two things:

1. It purges the bitterness and anger caused by family fractures. If you choose to relinquish your relationship pain to Jesus (Ephesians 4:31, 32), he will remove the ugly stuff inside; this empowers you to forgive, even if others refuse to do so. 

2. It enables the confession and purification process. Even when relational problems are driven by another person’s attitude or behavior, our own weaknesses contribute to the conflict and discord. For true change to take place, we need to acknowledge our culpability to be purified by the master (1 John 1:9). Prayerfully evaluate your inner thoughts and your outward behavior (Psalm 139:23, 24). As God reveals your shortcomings and misdeeds, make apologies to those you have injured. God’s grace will transform you as well as your relationships. 

Elizabeth Matko from Kirtland, Ohio, retired from her years of work with Alzheimer’s residents. She now travels with her husband, Dan, especially enjoying time with her two daughters and their families.

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