September 25 - 30
Monday, September 25 – “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” (Romans 6:13) Here’s where we all get into trouble. We think that it’s okay to follow God in certain aspects of life. But in other aspects of life, we make the choice to follow our own desires. Our reasoning is this: Following God in some areas of life, is way better than not following God in any area of life. Yet, here’s the problem. If you throw a handful of dirt into a pool, you make the whole pool muddy.
Tuesday, September 26 – “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18) Left to your own devices, you’re in trouble. For none of us can or will be good, all on our own. All of us will put ourselves, our needs, and our desires ahead of anyone else or anything else. This isn’t condemnation. This is simply a fact of human existence. Thus, you need to rely on something beyond yourself, something from without, to transform this reality. You know what’s good. You know what’s right and you know what’s wrong. Now you need God’s saving grace, unending love and transformational power, to become more than what you know.
Wednesday, September 27 – “He saved us, not because of righteous things that we have done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5) You don’t do what you do, in order to be saved. You are saved. Thus, you do what you do. You live your life in response to what God has already done, through Jesus. The pressure’s off. You don’t have to be good enough. All you need to do is live your life as someone who has been saved by grace through faith in Jesus. What does that kind of life look like? That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in.
Thursday, September 28 – “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful ways.” (Ephesians 4:22) Were you taught to put off your old self? Sadly, many followers of Jesus have been taught that God is okay with them staying just as they are. Just look the part or be able to play the part on TV. God’s okay with you being who you have always been and doing what you have always done. This isn’t true. God does love you, just the way that you are. But God also loves you enough to not leave you, just the way you are. Faith in Jesus calls all of us to be transformed. To be changed from the inside out.
Friday, September 29 – “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) Some understand these verses to be teaching that a follower of Jesus is called to be a doormat. This isn’t an accurate translation of these verses. Paul was teaching the church in Philippi how to live together, in community. The only way any community will thrive is if the members of the community are in it for the community. As opposed to being in it for themselves. This is true for any relationship, any family, any business, any church, any social organization or even any country. As JFK famously said, during his inaugural address: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Saturday, September 30 – “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) Notice that this verse doesn’t teach that if you walk by the Spirit, you will no longer have desires of the flesh. It simply teaches that if you walk by the Spirit you won’t “gratify the desires of the flesh.” You aren’t called to be perfect. You’re called to overcome. And, you guessed it, you can’t overcome all by yourself. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes into the picture. The Holy Spirit will teach you and guide you. Your job is to simply get good at following the Spirit. As opposed to following the desires of the flesh.