Closing the Gap 8.31.18

By August 31, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 34 “The next generation” Day 5

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:

2 Tim. 2:1-7 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

Reflect:

“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”  Cursory is a word that means, “hurried, superficial.” A cursory reading of Scripture will lead to a cursory life, a life marked by hurry and superficiality.  The antidote to this is the discipline of reflection. To reflect means to think deeply and personally about something. If we want the Lord to give insight into his word and our lives, then we must do the hard work of reflection.  The challenge of reflection is to see what is actually there and not impose what is in our minds back on the passage. To reflect on Scripture is to “read out” what is there, not to “read in” what is not there. We tend to have undue confidence in ourselves and in our own humility.  So, of course, we would never “read in to” Scripture. We believe that we sincerely want to know what is true about our lives and how we can close the gap in key areas. While this is no doubt true to a point, it is also true that we are all prone to self-protective ideas and a self-serving bias.  Do not think yourself beyond seeing in Scripture and in your own life what you want to see there, rather than what you need to see there. If you are to be a mentor for the next generation, you must be an honest one. If you serve as a “trail guide” for those who are following, you must guide with integrity.  You can know what is behind you and pass on that vital experience. You can use that experience guided by wisdom to understand what might be in front of you. But you must never become too busy or too proud for reflection, regardless of how much experience you have gained. Reflect deeply and consistently on what God has said and whether your life is aligning with the truth.  You have time for reflection because you are already reflecting all day, every day. Even when your mind is occupied with the work you are doing, there is still “space” in your mind for various kinds of reflections. It is important that, as you live your life, you learn to reflect on truth as it applies to both what you are doing at the moment and what you are doing on the whole.  As you live as a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer, reflect. Think deeply and the Lord will give you insight. That insight is not just for you; it is also for you to pass on to others. Not in a proud way or domineering way, but in a humble, helpful way. Be a reflective trail guide, for the glory of God and for the good of others.

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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