Are we crucified with Christ?

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“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Is this true of us? Have we crucified the desires of our sinful flesh and nailed them up along with our failures and mistakes? Are we also then living by faith in Christ’s finished work rather than our own righteousness? Is our good deeds also Christ living and working in us or the efforts of the flesh? One way we will find out for sure–our own efforts will fail in a glorious fireball, crash and burn. But his work lasts and endures even in the midst of the fires of trial and tribulation. It’s in the hard times, when our strength is spent and we have nothing left of ourselves, that we learn what he’s really done in us–or rather how much we have allowed him to do in us.

Lord, we come with open hearts before you today. We thank you for loving us and giving yourself for us, so we might be set free from the bondage of sin. We pray our flesh’s sinful nature with its wicked desires would be nailed to your cross, and that it would be Christ who lives and reigns in us. Increase our faith; we put our trust in You. Open our eyes to the way you would have us go and strengthen us to choose to follow you. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

 

Full Armor of God Commentary #1,0627,003

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“ Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

I was really reluctant to write a devotional based on today’s verse of the day. Tons of commentaries have been done on this passage, and entire books written on the armor of God.

We can apply the same lens we’ve held up before to the scripture: what God commands us to do, he will empower us to do. View this as a blessing and a promise and allow the verse to strengthen you rather than beat you up for feeling weak. And lets strip out the lovely metaphors that have been dissected at length elsewhere.  For protection and strength to stand against the enemy:

  • Know the truth and be truthful
  • Be righteous (i.e stop sinning and walk in the spirit, not the flesh)
  • Know the gospel so you’ll be prepared to act when God calls on you.
  • Have Faith
  • Pray and Study the Bible

The list is a bit simpler and straightforward than we thought, isn’t it?

Lord, we thank you for your truth, we thank you for your righteousness, we thank you for grace and forgiveness, and the finished work of the cross. Increase our faith, increase our knowledge of the truth. Grant us the will and the hunger today to study your word. Show us how we can carve more time out of our busy schedules for the spiritual preparation we need to stand against that onslaught of the evil one. Increase our dedication and discipline. If there is any pet sin in our lives opening us up for attack, reveal it to us, take away the desire for it, and enable us, by your grace, to be so repulsed by it, we will lean on your grace to cleanse us of this evil and turn away from it. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Numbers Don’t Matter to God

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“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,” (Deuteronomy 7:9)

Why do we know this? Verses 6-8 tells us we are his treasured possession, chosen out of all the world. He reminds us, in choosing the nation of Israel to be his (a nation whom we are joined to through the blood of His son) he choose not a nation great in numbers, but the fewest of all peoples. It doesn’t matter how small and insignificant you are to God. What matters is that we love him and trust him and seek to obey him.

Numbers matter to men, but not to God. What matters to God is faithfulness. So no fretting about statistics and job performance today. Just take his hand and humbly walk with him.

Lord, let us never forget what matters to you. I pray we would love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with you. Thank you for your faithfulness, thank you for your steadfast love.  Thank you for keeping your covenants and promises. Help us to more perfectly reflect you in these areas today. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Not all afflictions come from sin

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“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.” (Job 23:10-11)

In Job 22, Eliaz told Job, that to have suffered so greatly, he must have done something horribly wrong and accuses him of a whole list of wicked deeds. He tells him to agree with God who had judged him, repent, and he will be at peace and good will come to him. (Which would be good advice, if Job was actually suffering the wages of sin.)

In Job 23, our hero responds by lamenting, wishing he could appeal his case to God, and expresses confidence God would acquit him if he could. Then, in verses eight and nine, he says of God:

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.”

So, now, in context, Job is saying–I do not see him working, I do not feel his presence, but he knows right where I am and will get me through this. He expresses faith in God while defending himself against Eliaz’s charges in Job 22. It is popular in some Christian circles to say affliction equals sin. And sin can lead to affliction. But that is not always the case.

Sometimes God allows affliction and trials in his saints lives through no fault of their own, for his own purposes. Let us seek the faith and patience of Job.

Lord, thank you for your word. Grant us the peace of a clear conscience in the midst of trials and affliction. I pray we would hold fast to you and to your promises even when we cannot see you at work or feel your presence. We love you, Lord. We are choosing to trust and obey you today. Strengthen us to do your will. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.