Closing the Gap 7.17.18

Week 28 Day 2

Pray:

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.

Read:

Matt. 6:9-13 This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Reflect:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13).  Not everyone has the exact same temptations, but everyone is tempted in the same ways. Everyone is tempted to put self first, to trust self over God, to live for pleasure and not for God, and to make idols and cherish them. Our temptations are common and they cross all cultural boundaries.  In sin, there truly is racial solidarity. This is an unhappy truth about human nature, but it does help to understand this fact for several reasons. First, it might help you to not feel sorry for yourself. Being sorry for sin is a healthy habit/choice, but feeling sorry for yourself is an unhealthy one.  To believe that your struggles are harder than anyone else’s does not prepare you to withstand temptation; in reality, it prepares you to give in to them. A second reason it helps to understand the commonality of our temptations is that we can be “encouraged” by the struggles of others. Not that it is good to gloat over the troubles of others, but we can be helped in our own battles by realizing that other people are just like us.  We are not alone and, in fact, others are successfully doing battle in the very same kinds of struggles we experience, so we can do the same. There is some value in understanding that others are tempted like we are, but there is power in understanding the second part of that verse: “God is faithful”! He will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand it and he will provide a way out for us. You may very well feel like this verse has not proven true in experience; however, our experience of “what is” is not the same as “what could be.”  If you moved through the battlefield of temptations armed with the confidence that God is going to provide a way out – which he will and you can – how would that change how you live? Think about it. If you believe there are temptations out there that are simply too strong to resist, how likely are you to give your full energy to not giving in? But if you believe God is faithful and there is a way out and what is required of you is that you actually take it, what then? If you believe you are able to resist, you are much more likely to actually do so. But think clearly about this “way out.”  It may not be an escalator; it may be a difficult climb up a rock wall, but it is a way out, nonetheless. God is faithful and what remains is for us to be faithful as well.

Pray:

(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.

 

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