Introduction to Closing the Gap on Faith and Love
There is a gap between where we are in our faith in God and our love for others and where we can and should be. We need to close the gap. Closing the gap is not about perfection in every action; it is about a perfect direction. We must live our lives continually reorienting to God. We can and we must live day-by-day closing the gap on our faith and love. God has given us what we need to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ. We must believe change is possible, or it is unlikely we will take the steps necessary to see it become an increasing reality. You can see God’s commands as ongoing evidence of your failure, or you can see them as they are: invitations to join him in his joy. The gap that exists can depress and immobilize you, but it need not. There will always be a gap, but every day is an opportunity to close the gap. If you set out to move towards God in faith and towards others in love, then you will see the gap close more and more; in the process itself you will experience the faithfulness of God, and your life will make his glory known to others.
Devotional Week 1 Day 1
Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
What I “ought” to do is often not what I actually do. How many “oughts” have you neglected this past week? We are used to seeing “oughts” as oppressive reminders of our constant failing. “Oughts” are a relentless pressure to do better, be better, do more, and be more. I ought always to thank God for you, but I don’t always. I may judge or critique or ignore or need or want you. I don’t “always” thank God for you, but I ought to. Is this an oppressive, “shame on me” ought to? Or is this an invitational, “you really ought to get in on this!”? This ought is an invitation to grow in love for God and others. It is an opportunity to enjoy and to appreciate and to love others well. It is my opportunity to experience God more fully and more consistently. God’s “oughts” are an invitation to his joy. What God says “ought” to be true for me is the same as what I would want to be true for me if I only saw my life as clearly as he does. Oh, to always want to do what I always ought to do! God please make it more fully so in me…help me close the gap today.
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.