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It’s a trap every Christian must avoid, even though Satan is so skilled at disguising it.

I’m talking about the trap of seeking personal advantage after God’s mercy is poured through us into another person’s life.

Someone in our circle of influence might turn to us for prayer support and for layperson ministry intercession in some way and God subsequently sends blessing into that person’s life.

Satan will invariably whisper that we should not miss the opportunity to exploit this grace event.

Typically, we ignore his schemes in this respect.

Sometimes, though, our personal circumstances and fears prompt us to ask the blessed person to “help” us with a financial gift or with pulling some strings regarding a job for us or selling us something at a below-market price.

It’s about exploiting the blessed person’s appreciation for God’s grace in a way that boosts our finances or our social standing, or both.

Some of you have not done this. Praise the Lord!

Some of you have done this and perhaps didn’t even discern it. I might fall into this catergory.

Whether intentional or not, whether obvious or subtle, it is still wrong.

We need to be ultra-careful that we don’t behave in any way similar to that described in today’s One-Year Bible reading. Elisha’s servant Gehazi REALLY messed up in this respect. You can read about it in 2 Kings 5.

We should never think “What’s in it for me?” when we see God’s hand pouring mercy into somebody else’s life, in part because of our involvement.

Pastors need to remember this and sometimes they don’t.

Of course, the same can be said for many interceding Christians who are tempted to seek tangible signs of thanks that rightly belong to God.

Please join me in striving to do gracious things for people — trusting the intervening power of God — only because they need it and not because it is a good way to gain a financial or social advantage.

Gehazi paid a very steep price for his selfish greed. God sent leprosy upon him and upon his descendants forever. Wow.

When God moves in the life of another after you’ve interceded with prayer and actual efforts, make sure that the credit and blessing flows into the Kingdom, not into your pocket or into your popularity.

The cost of the forbidden gift is just too high.

As always, I love you

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