Week 7 Day 3
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.
Hebrews 11:13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
Peter urged his friends to live as aliens and strangers in this world by turning against the sinful desires that would war against their souls. These desires are not just the “big sins,” the things that are overt in the destruction they bring. These desires can be subtle, more covert. In fact, they most often are. They can be the desire for more, for better, or just for other than what I have. The drive of the sensual to control and direct our lives causes us to live for pleasure rather than for larger, longer-lasting “good.” We can trade what we know for what we feel and become slaves to our own desires. The desires of the flesh make us petty in our relationships, easily offended, easily angered…quick to write people off and throw relationships away. There is no neutral space. No neutral thought, song, movie, book, day, or experience. All that happens in, to, and around us is shaping us into certain kinds of people. There is enormous shaping pressure coming from the culture we live in and the sinful desires that live in us. These pressures are waging “war” against our souls. They attempt to misshape us into their broken image while God intends for us to be shaped into the image of Christ. For many Christians the focus of the “war” is centered on cultural forces arrayed against them. Externals become the most important battle space. Media, sexual trends, the courts, the schools, the shifts in family structures all look to be the “real fight.” But if we miss the fact that the most important war is internal not external, then we will surely lose the war against our souls. “Above all else guard your heart,” says the Proverb, “because out of it flow all the issues of your life.” To live as a stranger and alien here is not primarily about a “culture war”; it is about a “soul war.” You must continually pay attention to what you are allowing to shape you on the inside. This has a negative component (“avoid” certain things that misshape you) and a positive component (“pursue” things the shape you). Close the gap today regarding your perspective on your “alien status.” See the war for your soul as being winnable. It is a fight that will continue until you die, but it is a fight you can become more skilled at if you only will give yourself to that task.
(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.