Closing the Gap 10.29.18

By October 29, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 43 Day 1

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:

Phil. 2:3-8 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

John 13:14-17 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Reflect:

We must pursue nothing.  A life of nothing done from selfish ambition is our goal.  Doing nothing out of selfish ambition seems like a high bar to clear.  Nothing? Not a thing? This, of course, is not a New Testament grade card where you must get 100% in order to get an “A.”  It’s not about grades; it’s about hearts. Of course, perfection is the direction we are to head, where else would we go? Can you imagine if Paul wrote, “Don’t do everything out of selfish ambition, try for fifty-fifty.”  This is how man-made religion would approach putting the interests of others ahead of your own. It would turn into a scorecard. Somewhere around 70% would be a passing grade. But it would be graded on a scale, so if you look around and see people who are much more selfish than you are, then you could turn that 70% into a perfect score.  Or you could go well below 50% and still pass. But if this is the approach, then what has happened to the heart? It has become a scorekeeper, not a lover of God and others. This kind of heart tends to give itself more credit than it deserves and others less than they do. This kind of heart can and does even make serving others about self.  Do you see, then? The standard is “nothing out of selfish ambition,” because that is the heart of Jesus. To aim for something less than this would be to aim for something less than Jesus. Of course, we will never reach perfection in every action and attitude, but we must have as our goal to become like Christ. In addition, we must believe this is actually possible and then pursue every means available to ensure that it does happen in increasing fashion.  “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God” (Heb. 3:12). We must “see to it” that we do not turn away from God in disbelief. This proactive belief in God is to be manifest in real life choices. We do not just hope that what God has called us to actually happen some day; we are to see that it does. Pursue “nothing”…this is the only realistic goal.

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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