Closing the Gap 12.31.18

By December 31, 2018 Daily Devotional

Week 52 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:

Galatians 5:1-6 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Reflect:

If you are a follower of Christ you must be careful to not retreat back into an “earning” mode. When people try to earn God’s favor they tend to pick and choose how they will do so. The externals, the things that are relatively easy for them to do become their choice of ways to earn God’s favor. However if a person really wanted to try and earn relationship with God (an impossible feat) they would have to be perfect in every way. The good news is that Christ has set us free to live in freedom. This sounds redundant. What else would freedom be except to live free? Many people have been set free from a former bondage but do not live in freedom. A prisoner may be out of his cell but in his heart and mind still locked up behind mental and emotional bars. He is free in one sense but not in another, even more important sense. Christians have been set free from earning God’s favor, but they must choose to live fully in that freedom. We cannot earn but we can try. When we try to live in an earning posture towards God we are choosing to live in a jail cell. The door to the cell is unlocked and open; we can walk out if we want to. There is no jailer there guarding the door, there is not judge or judgment to sentence us there. If we sit in this cell we do so because we have put ourselves there. As you contemplate a life of closing the gap on faith and love do not turn this opportunity into earning. God offers you a life of his abundance. Jesus said…”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) His life of abundance must be “lived in”, that is it must be pursued and embraced into our hearts and lives. Since this abundant life is a real thing, not some vaguely religious semi-real thing, we must actually, practically move into it with our wills. The ongoing challenge humans face is to mistake receiving what is offered freely by choice and effort with earning. Love freely offered, whether from another person or from God, requires ongoing action and attitudes to enjoy that love. Do not confuse these actions and efforts with earning they are not the same. The actions are motivated by gratitude and devotion, they are the choices of a person who has been accepted and wants to experience and express this acceptance more fully. The “earner” is trying to be or feel accepted and their actions are driven by insecurity and fear. The actions may look similar but the attitudes and the final effect on the soul are quite different. Reject anything that smacks of earning, earning is an affront to love. Choose actions and attitudes that will move you farther into joy this action is the close friend of 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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