Closing the Gap 8.22.18

By August 22, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 33 Day 3

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:

Eph. 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Reflect:

Once again, this passage demonstrates the balance of both full reliance on God’s power and, also, full personal effort and discipline.  God’s grace need not be at odds with human effort. It is his grace that empowers our efforts to follow him. We are to “be strong in the Lord and in his power.”  We are to “put on his armor.” We are to “stand firm.” We are to “take up the shield of faith” and the “helmet of salvation” and the “sword of the Spirit.” We are to pray all kinds of prayers and stay alert.  All of these instructions indicate activity, not passivity. It shows that a relationship with God, like other relationships, requires proactivity from both parties. God is ever-active in his pursuit of us and we must be the same in our pursuit of him.  In anything that requires balance, there are two ways to “fall off the wall.” In this spiritual battle we are engaged in, we can fail through believing God’s operational power in our lives doesn’t require anything from us. It is true that justification is all God’s work in us, but it is not true that growth in Christlikeness and engagement in the battle requires nothing from us.  If we fail to understand the need for full engagement with God and the battle using all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, then we will fail in the battle. On the other hand, if we come to believe ongoing victory depends on our efforts and fail to rely fully on God’s power, then we will also fail in the battle. Our strength will never be enough. Do not try to make this into a math problem.  It does not and will not work that way. It is 100 percent the grace and power of God. It is 100 percent full effort and engagement on our part. What doesn’t work on paper does work in the real world. You must learn to lean into the wind that blows in your life. Do you find yourself overreliant on your own efforts? Reflect deeply on his grace and power and put your full confidence in him. Do you find yourself living passively, waiting for God to do for you what he has told you to do?  Rouse yourself! Be strong in his mighty power and stand firm.

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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