Daily Devotions – Authentic Relationships

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Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:

 

Ecclesiastes 7:15-8:1 NIV
15 In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness. 16 Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise— why destroy yourself? 17 Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool— why die before your time? 18 It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes. 19 Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city. 20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. 21 Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you— 22 for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others. 23 All this I tested by wisdom and I said, “I am determined to be wise”— but this was beyond me. 24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound— who can discover it? 25 So I turned my mind to understand, to investigate, and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things and to understand the stupidity of wickedness and the madness of folly. 26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap, and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare. 27 “Look,” says the Teacher, “this is what I have discovered: “Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things— 28 while I was still searching but not finding— I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all. 29 This only have I found: God created mankind upright, but they have gone in search of many schemes.” 8 Who is like the wise? Who knows the explanation of things? A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance.

 

Are you a snare to others (verse 26) or an uprighter (verse 28-29)?

 

Holy Father, You know the heart of every person. You see who we really are, what motivates us, and what our deepest needs and desires are. Solomon was married to 700 women and had 300 concubines. It is no wonder that Solomon struggled with his relationships with women because of this. Many of our relationships can be tainted by our selfish desires, motives, and deepest needs. We are prone to be self-seeking rather than to serve. Self-righteousness or self-indulgent behaviors destroy relationships with others. Show me the inner desires of my heart that can hurt my relationships. Teach me how to live in the midst of the world and yet not be self-righteous, moralistic, smug, or complacent.  The way to find true satisfaction in relationships is not by receiving but through serving. There is no righteousness apart from You. Let my relationship with You grow stronger so that I receive Your righteousness. Lord, help me to respect others out of my respect for You. Let me be kind, caring, and loving toward others. Give me intuition to recognize the true needs of others so that I can respond appropriately. Allow others to see Your love through my authentic love for them. Use me for Your Glory. I praise and honor and thank You, Lord, my God, my Savior, and my dear friend. Amen

 

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