Romans 1:7 – Called to be saints and designated for a consecrated life. (AMP)
Philippians 4:11 – I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am. (AMP)
As Christians, we have a tendency to accept rather reluctantly the designation as "saints". We consider such a title suggestive that we have passed our final exams with honours and are ready for heaven. According to Paul, though, we are called saints, but we are just beginning our formal Christian education.
I became very much aware of this aspect over the Christmas season when I learned a lesson which should have been part of my Christian kindergarten curriculum many years ago. I developed a severe cold and was unable to accept the kind invitations of friends and family to join in their festivities. I was forced to stay home and do literally nothing but rest. I could not make any plans. My physical condition made all my decisions for me. When reviewing this apparent waste of time, I could not quite understand my feelings of elation and satisfaction, and I had to admit even to myself that I had enjoyed a wonderful holiday. Then I suddenly realized that I had learned a very important spiritual lesson: to rest. Strangely, this lesson was learned from the physical level. I immediately decided, with God's help, to put this attitude into my spiritual approach and simply relax and let God do the planning. Sadly, in the past, it has been my practice to make the plan and then expect God to bring it to fruition.
Perhaps someone reading this devotional is ill and considers this lesson to be a waste of time. Let us rest and relax in Him. He is aware of our accomplishments; He knows our strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps more importantly, He knows the desires of our heart, as Christians, to extend His kingdom on earth. Whatever our situation today, may we accept it as preparatory for some future task our Lord has planned for us. It may be a small task or a large commission, but — whatever it may be — it is important that first of all we learn to rest in Him, knowing that He does all things well.
Prayer: Gracious heavenly Father, how we thank You for Your patience with us. It must appear to You as though we are constantly re-entering the Christian kindergarten. Thank You for Your love for us, which never gives up on us, but continues patiently to teach us yet another lesson in forming us as saints for Your service. We come into Your presence through the authority of Your Son and our Saviour, Christ Jesus. Amen.