Closing the Gap 11.19.18

By November 19, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 46 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:

Matt. 18:15 If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.

Prov. 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

Prov. 19:8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.

Reflect:

It is common to “feel” loved when others tell us what we want them to tell us.  The truth is, we are “being” loved when others tell us what we need them to tell us.  Jesus is love and he often told people things that might not be considered loving, but of course they always were.  Even a strong rebuke or harsh critique from the Lord was an attempt to turn people away from the very attitudes and actions that were going to destroy them.  Giving and receiving correction is essential to a life well lived. Even if a person was completely self-serving and cared nothing about God or others, that person – if they had all the facts – would live in line with God’s will and ways.  Because God’s ways work. Of course, it would not be possible to live in line with God’s will and ways without a heart change, but even if one were to apply the “brute facts” of the truth to life, they would still fare better than one who did not.  The person who has learned to lean into correction, to stay open to improvement and direction from others, will prosper in many ways. The one who is proud, insecure, unwilling to be corrected, will not prosper – whether spiritually, vocationally, or relationally.  We are all a work in progress. No one has “arrived.” Since we are all “arriving,” we must learn to literally love correction. The sad fact is, we most often have learned to hate it. We hate it because it shows us where we are wrong. But if we are wrong, shouldn’t we want to be right?  We hate it because it shows us we are not perfect. But don’t we know that already? Why would we so persistently run from that obvious reality? We hate it because it shows us we are weak and needy. But since we are weak and needy, wouldn’t it be wise to embrace that which will develop us and make us stronger?  To get wisdom, even in the form of correction, is to love your own soul. It is good for you, immediately and eternally good for you. It is the friend of your soul who offers you words that may feel unloving, but are in fact like the careful cuts of a surgeon’s knife. They are wounds that serve, heal, and show love.  He is no friend of your soul who offers you flattering and sugary words that confirm what is not good or true in your life. This “friend” who throws “kisses” your way is self-serving. They need you to like them more than they want to show you love. Be kind to the flatterer, but do not embrace their flattering ways. Learn to respect and appreciate those God has put in your life who are willing to show you love with “faithful wounds.”  Not because they are foolish and randomly brandish a “word-knife,” but because they love you and even though they would rather not do so, they are willing to tell you the hard truth when it is in your best interests. This is the person to respect, embrace, and treasure. This person is showing you real love.

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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