Stay Vertical

11And David said to Abishai and all his servants, “See how my son who came from my own body seeks my life. How much more now may this Benjamite? Let him alone, and let him curse; for so the LORD has ordered him. 12It may be that the LORD will look on my affliction, and that the LORD will repay me with good for his cursing this day.”

2 Samuel 16:11-12 NKJV

As David’s enemies were increasing and he was fleeing the city from his son, who was seeking to take his throne, a man named Shimei began heaving rocks and cursing him as he passed by. Cursing the king was against the law, so David had every right to cut off the man’s head-as his generals encouraged him to do.

Here we see the difference between Saul and David in their response to those wanting to harm them. Chapters 19 – 24 of 1 Samuel detail how Saul’s jealousy motivated him to kill David. This is the defining difference between a leader who seeks to lead through a vertical dimension with God and a leader with a horizontal fix-it mode. God knew David as a man after His own heart. Yet, David was a murderer, adulterer, and had failed in many areas of his life. But one thing separated this leader from all the rest: He had a heart that sought to please God and be in His will. When David blew it, he repented.

What is the purpose God desires to accomplish with the estranged relationship you may have with someone? Has He brought this issue forward to find out what is in your heart? Will you seek revenge and try to solve the problem yourself? Or will you find the grace to allow God to carry out vengeance in His time if it is needed? We must learn this freedom of staying vertical with God and avoiding the trap of fixing things in our own energies. Seeking revenge is not our responsibility. We must examine our hearts in these matters. If pure, then the issue is for character building. It is the only way God builds the deepest level of character in believers.

God is watching how we treat people. Do we lift holy hands on Sunday and curse out our spouse or children on the way to church? Are we demeaning to employees but espouse the love of God with beautiful words? God is watching to observe how we respond to pressure, whether we have the persistence to push through distractions, and how we perform in areas from the inside out. 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV reminds us that humankind looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.

When God looks at you, what does He see? Do you make it easy for God to say, “Now there is a person I can trust with the next big assignment!” Big assignments are not only massive in size, but they could also be assignments that require significant time or effort. Since God is watching, take a good look at yourself and determine what God is finding as He is watching what you do, the promises you make, and how well you obey Him and His Word.

If you want to move into a higher realm of responsibility that holds more exciting and significant assignments in life, do everything you can to be found faithful in what you are doing right now. When God has found you faithful in your present project, you have your best guarantee that a door will soon open for you to step through so you can walk out the dream He placed in your heart.

Many of us have strained relationships with family members, friends, or others we have wronged or who have wronged us. Perhaps we recognize the need for reconciliation but are not sure how to do it. Healthy relationships are always by grace. We cannot control how others respond to us. We can only show grace and enjoy the grace shown to us by controlling how we respond. 1 John 4:20 NKJV asks the believer, “How can you love a God you have not seen and hate your brother whom you have seen?”

Pastor and author A.W. Tozer tells us, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply.” God can use storms of conflict in relationships at times to accomplish deeper work in our character. We cannot love our enemies in our own strength. This is graduate-level grace. Are you willing to enter this school? Are you ready to take the test? If you pass, you can expect to be elevated to a new level in the kingdom. For He brings us through these tests as preparation for greater use in the kingdom.

Reflect

Spend some time praying in the Holy Spirit. Ask God to reveal to you anyone you have a strained relationship with and pray for that person. If you are led, take steps to make amends with or apologize to the person

Prayer

Father God, I repent for the offense I have harbored in my heart toward people. I allowed offense to build a prison around my heart and to keep me from making spiritual progress. Today, I choose to let the offense go. I forgive my offenders, and I extend the same grace to them that I want others to give me. I now receive freedom as I choose to walk away from the offenses that have held me in bondage for so long! In Jesus’ name, I pray.

Upcoming Connect 21 Events

  1. Saturday Morning Prayer (Jan 29th @ 9 am at The Way UMC – Latimer Hall) More Details
  2. Sunday Morning Service (Jan 30rd @ 10 am at River Ridge High School)