“And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.”
2 Corinthians 5:15
One of the reasons Jesus gave his life, was to rescue us from the dead end of living for ourselves. We’re made and saved for so much more than self-love. And it’s in trusting in and living for Christ and for others that we discover more peace and power than selfishness and looking within can offer. Lord, save us from the dead end of selfishness.
“we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with godly sincerity and purity, not by human wisdom but by God’s grace.” 2 Corinthians 1:12
Godly sincerity and purity can also mean simplicity, singleness of mind, purity of motives, graciousness. Insincerity, duplicity, selfish motives, entitlement prevents us from seeing others as Christ would. What insincerities reside in my heart? Do I use people or love people? Am I as gracious toward others weaknesses and faults as I am toward my own? Am I singleminded in my desire for people? Lord, test our motives. Make us pure, sincere, and gracious.
“don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master… nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 MSG
What holds you back? Why do you hesitate? What is the real master of your life? How much time is wasted on temporal things? What would it look like to let it all go and go throw your self into the mission of God? Lord, help us throw off half-hearted ness and hesitation. Help us throw caution to the wind and pursue your mission.
“human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.”
A broken world and brokenness in people often produce anger, but anger never repairs the brokenness. Only the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ can do that. We pursue it not with angry actions and reactions but through prayer, compassion toward others, forgiveness, bold gospel sharing, generosity….
Lord, produce your righteousness in me. Save me from and forgive me for unproductive human anger.
“But the word of God spread and multiplied.” Acts 12:24 #devo
Researchers say that each person infected with Coronavirus can spread it to 3 others. If those 3 each spread it to three and each of those spread it to 3, in 10 cycles, you’re at 59,000!
Would that this were true of believers spreading the gospel as well. God has not placed protective measures in place to stop the spread of our faith. We do that by remaining silent, socially distancing from the lost, and leaving the spread to professionals. The curve has flattened on the growth of churches and we are responsible. If you believe, think of three to infect with the gospel today. You may start a viral movement of transformation.
The Christian life is a race to the bottom. The goal is to serve, not to be served. To sacrifice for others benefit rather than for our own. The goal is not to make a name for ourselves but to serve without recognition. Entitlement has no place in the heart of a disciple. He lives for others with the goal of emulating the sacrifice of Jesus, who while on earth, chose others over himself every chance he had.
God used the negative social movement of Persecution in Acts 8 to accomplish His purpose of getting the gospel message beyond Jerusalem (see Acts 1:8). God can and does use the negative social movements in our day as well. Disasters, disease, wars, etc., scatter people everyday. COVID-19 has scattered church members, giving more time outside church walls. The question is: will we / are we being faithful to accomplish God’s big purpose of spreading the message about Jesus while we’re scattered or to those who have been scattered?
Stephen made a great difference b/c he was “full of the Spirit and wisdom… full of faith and the Holy Spirit… full of grace and power…” Acts 6:3,5,8
Full can also mean covered with or completely occupied with. What covers me? What completely occupies me?
Lord, cover us with your Spirit, Wisdom, with Faith, Grace, and Power for today. Of all the things that can completely occupy me today, help me be occupied completely with your kingdoms resources.
“you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” Jesus, John 13:17.
Maturity, growth, fruitfulness means closing the gap between knowledge and practice and sharing. If you’re stuck or stale in your Christian walk, dissatisfied with your church, bearing little fruit for God. Close the gaps. Put a command of Christ to practice. Share what you know with someone else. It’s more than what you know.
“you will receive power…. you will be my witnesses.” Acts 1:8.
Two great promises: Power and Opportunity to Witness.
Two great tests: Do I have power? Am I a witness?
Two great prayers: Lord, fill me with your power. Lord, make me a witness and give me an opportunity today.