Devotional Service

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Title Goodness
Preacher Speaker Pastor Emeritus Jaerock Lee Bible 1 John 1:5 Date 2013.05.19

[1 John 1: 5]
"This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."

Let us give all thanks and glory to God the Father who has blessed us to have the 2013 women's devotional service.
I also give thanks to all the devotees who have prepared for this service with all your hearts, minds, and strength.
Dear devotees, the title of today's message is 'Goodness'.
Until now, God the Father has taught the members of the women's mission to a great extent about the kind of goodness that God really desires.
You have been trying and longing to cultivate goodness, too.
But then, since you have been trying so hard could you confidently say before God that you have cultivated perfect goodness?
No matter how much you tried, if your goodness is not perfect goodness in the sight of God, it is not goodness.
You might think something is goodness, but God will say it is evil.
You might think something is not evil, but actually, it is evil because it is not goodness.
Today's reading passage 1 John 1:5 says, "This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."
Everything is either light or darkness.
God is perfect light and He has no darkness at all.
He also wants you His children to become the light who have no darkness at all.
You must not mistakenly think that you are relatively good just because you have been accumulating some goodness within your own limits.
I will talk about three aspects that are needed for you to cultivate the kind of goodness that God desires.
Through this message, I urge you to cultivate perfect goodness that has no evil at all.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that, you will all give out the deep fragrance of the Lord and of the Father.
Dear devotees and other members,
The first thing that you have to cast off to cultivate goodness before God is self-justification.
In order to cultivate perfect goodness, you have to look back on yourself reflecting the word of God and diligently fill up what you lack.
But sometimes, even though you know your shortcomings, you give excuses saying you couldn't help but do what you did rather than trying to change yourself.
You think you were in a situation where you had to act the way you did, so it is not evil, although you did not actively do what is really good.
And such an act might belong to evil because it is not goodness.
For example, you know very well that you have to be faithful in all God's household.
You do not only have your church duties but also other duties as a mother, a wife, and a daughter-in-law.
If you put too much focus on only one duty among so many duties that you have to fulfill, we cannot say it is spiritual.
It is not spiritual just to do spiritual work, but it is spiritual to do all the works with the heart of spirit.
But some of you do not recognize your shortcomings thinking, "I am busy with the work of God. I am the leader and I have a very important duty. This work is much more important than that work."
You are justifying yourself thinking you cannot help it even though you are not doing the less important works because you have to do the more important works.
This can be considered 'cunningness' because it is to misuse the truth for your benefit.
If your family members love God and have faith, they might be able to understand your actions.
But even though they try to understand, it will eventually leave wounds deep in their hearts.
If your family members do not have faith, peace will be broken and God will be disgraced.
It is true that we have to choose spirit if we are at the crossroad of spirit and flesh.
It is true that we have to love God more than our family members, relatives, or anybody else in the world.
But God also told us to love our neighbors as ourselves.
God even said in 1 Timothy 5:8, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."
Also, in 2 Timothy chapter 3, it says people become unloving as one of the signs of the end time.
If you think you cannot be faithful in all God's house because you are working at your full capacity, I hope you will check yourself once again.
I want you to think whether you are really completely tied up and cannot spare any more time or you are lacking spiritual love; whether or not you are lazy and irresponsible, doing only the things that you'd like to do and neglecting the works that you really don't want to do.
If you really serve your parents, you will try to call them as often as possible, though you cannot visit them very often.
Doing some works for God, if you cannot meet your husband or children when they get back home, you can leave a note containing your warm love and thankful heart for them.
Even though you cannot be with them in person, you can pray and think of the ways to let your children feel the love of the mother and to encourage your husband. Then, God will give you the wisdom.
It does not mean you should stick to fleshly affections and love your family more than God.
You might be so busy doing very important duties, but if you are really trying to be faithful in all God's house, you will pay attention to all the aspects that you have to fulfill.
While you have to do ten things for them, you might be able to do only a couple, and so you will do them with all your heart and love.
Then, the others will feel your genuine heart, and thus they will not become resentful and Satan cannot accuse you of anything either.
Therefore, in order to cultivate true goodness, you should check whether or not you are justifying yourself even though your thoughts are self-centered and you are following your own benefit.
Dear devotees,
The second aspect that you have to cast away to cultivate goodness before God is arrogance.
Arrogance comes in a very sneaky way.
Your heart is lifted without yourself realizing it.
It was the case with Saul.
Saul was just an ordinary man, and he never thought he could become the king.
But as he continued to be served as the king, his heart was being lifted without him realizing it.
He considered the throne only his, and he became accustomed to misusing the power.
Even prophet Samuel, who anointed Saul as the king became afraid of Saul.
When Saul was trying to kill the good man David, and when he did such an evil act of destroying the whole city of priests, nobody could stop him.
If anybody said anything opposing his opinions, he poured out vicious curses even toward his own son.
At first, he felt embarrassed to be anointed as the king and he hid himself, but he changed so much later.
Is there any of you who think you are not arrogant like a king, or you wouldn't have anything to be proud of in front of others?
But, before you are sanctified and go into spirit, arrogance can be revealed in you at any time.
Suppose you are checking yourself, and you love and trust the Father, the Lord, and the shepherd.
You attend all the worship services, do not cease to pray, and you attend other meetings, too.
You've listened to the truth for a long time, you were diligent in all your duties, and you know what to do in your given jobs.
But you are not actually casting away envy, jealousy, hard-feelings, and judging and condemning others.
You suppress those feelings with your manners, and they are not easily revealed, so you don't realize that you are slow in circumcising your heart.
You just think you have great faith thinking of your diligence and dedication that you have offered until now.
But when you receive your measure of faith that was lower than what you expected, you may have become disappointed.
You may have some uncomfortable feelings comparing yourself with others, thinking they are not better than you.
In some cases, some of you think your opinion is better just because you are the leader, you are older, and you have more experience.
Even though many people give you the same kind of advice, you just think you are right just because your measure of faith is higher than theirs.
If arrogance sets in as above, you do not listen to your subordinates or people around you.
Of course, you say with your lips that you want to hear other opinions and that you are open to advice.
But people around you have learned through experience that if they do give you advice, their feelings will be hurt, so they just keep their comments to themselves.
This way, you do not realize the faulty character in you, and you think you have done nothing evil. That is why you cannot change yourself.
Arrogance is revealed not only towards your subordinates or people around you but also in the form of breaking the order.
For example, suppose you are preparing for a mission group event. The secretary asks you to decorate the place for the event, with a specific request to use pink cloth.
You think it is too difficult to get pink cloth and it is much easier to get white cloths, so you suggest to her that white would be better.
But the secretary tells you, "White is good, but please go with pink this time."
Now you go to the president of the mission group.
You say, "President, I am doing the decorating for the event. I think it would be the best to use white cloth. They are cheaper and I can get them right away. Can I go ahead with the white cloth?"
You hide the fact that the secretary asked you to use pink cloth, and you try to pass your opinion through a higher authority.
You are not only violating the order but also you are being cunningly deceitful to get your opinion accepted.
You do what you want being so arrogant, but you say you did nothing wrong.
You just think you got the permission from the president who is higher than the secretary, so there was no disobedience involved, and you did your job well.
But even though you work so hard this way, God cannot say you possess goodness.
1 Peter 5:5 second part says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
Philippians 2:3 says, "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;"
I hope you will be able to check yourself to cultivate a lowly and humble mind.
Dear devotees,
The third aspect that you have to cast away to cultivate goodness in God's sight, is to mistakenly think your own fervor as a fervor for God.
If your fervor is truly for God, you will do what pleases God all the time.
You will not just work diligently but you will work hard while circumcising your heart.
You will pursue peace and seek the benefit of others with love all the time.
But those who have their own fervor have good sense of responsibility and passion, but they depart from the will of God while they are working.
Let me give you an example.
Suppose a president is newly elected for a mission group, and she is not good at administrative work.
The secretary has more experience, and she teaches the president what to do.
Nevertheless, the president is still not able to handle the administration, so the secretary does all the work by herself.
If the secretary takes care of the things well on behalf of the president, it is something good.
But this secretary has some uncomfortable feelings while doing the work.
She thinks, "The president doesn't know what to do at all! All this work should be done by her, and even if I do all of it for her, she wouldn't even realize that I am doing her job! If I keep on doing her job then she will just rely on me, and I have so many other things to do!" The secretary now cannot do the job with joy.
Sometimes, she just does things at her own discretion without reporting it to the president.
Or, she might make detailed reports, but she manages to express her pride or her uncomfortable feelings in doing the president's job.
While she is doing the job, if other workers in different areas do not work in a way she wants, her feelings are agitated again.
She has uncomfortable feelings thinking, "This is not a personal favor for me. It is the work to be done for God! They say they love God but why can't they be responsible for such a small thing? I have asked her to do this for a long time, so why is she delaying things?"
So, she speaks with frustration or she hurts the feelings of others with her words.
Nevertheless, she thinks she has to do the work of God, and she is doing more than what is entrusted to her, so she is doing her duty as a secretary very well.
She covers her shortcomings with her zeal thinking, "People begin to work only when I raise my voice. I don't want to act like an authoritarian, but somebody has to do this job."
In this kind of case, if another person points out that she is breaking peace and order, she just stops working completely and steps back.
She doesn't realize her evil but she becomes resentful thinking, "I have been so faithful, and this is how they treat me!" Now her zeal cools down.
It means she was not diligent for the kingdom of God with a truthful heart, but it was a fervor that came out from her personality.
I urge you to check yourself as to whether or not you are working hard with your own fervor or with your love for God, so that you can cultivate true goodness.


Dear devotees, and other members, you know very well about the goodness of Ruth.
She did not forsake her old and lonely mother-in-law Naomi, and she came to a foreign country to serve her mother.
But when Naomi was leaving, her sister-in-law Orpah was with them, too.
Naomi said she could not do anything for them if they followed her, so she strongly urged her daughters-in-law to go their own ways.
Ruth followed her mother-in-law until the end, but Orpah left after having suffered.
She must have had many thoughts like, "I am sorry for my mother, and it hurts my feelings, but it's not that I did not want to go with her, but she was so strongly urging me to stop following her. I cannot be of great help even if I went, and nothing is waiting for me in the future."
Orpah did try to fulfill her duty and she did want to choose goodness, but eventually she followed after her own benefits.
Even though she did not act in evil, she cannot be recognized to be 'good' in the sight of God.
Suppose Orpah did follow Naomi having such a heart, and if there were more difficulties than she thought there would be, she would have eventually complained against her mother-in-law and acted unbecomingly towards her.
She might have left her mother later, too.
The goodness that God wants from you is not the goodness that you have within your own limits.
He wants true and perfect goodness like that of Ruth.
I hope you will keep this message in mind to become the perfect light that has no darkness at all and to cultivate goodness that has no evil at all.
In doing so, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will become fair and beautiful children of God who are like beautiful gemstones!

2013-05-21 Posted
2013-05-27 Updated

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