Tuesday Devotional: 1 Samuel 21

Devotional

bibleRead 1 Samuel 21:1-9

 4But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here…”

Religion requires works that overlook a need for the sake of a score.  The Gospel requires personal sacrifice that creates a heart for the stranger for the sake of Jesus Christ.  In many ways, religion is easier.  We can understand scores.  We can understand a checklist.  What’s difficult for us to comprehend is an open-ended demand for love.  We respond with quantifying questions: “Love who?  How much love?  When should I love?”  This is because our sinful natures are not able to love naturally, increasingly, daily.  Trying to love that way is like holding our breath underwater until we can break the surface and breathe the oxygen we were made for.  But the love of God demands the love of God.  Period.  The first victory is the realization that we are totally incapable of that demand and therefore need God every step of the way.  As much as God wants us to turn to Jesus and rely on him for everything, sin also has a passion for redirecting our attention away from Jesus and back onto ourselves, leaving us more likely to seek our own righteousness through a list  we can follow as opposed to a task that we know we would fail at.

The Gospel always sees a specific need over a specific rule.  Is someone naked?  Give them clothes.  Is someone hungry?  Give them food.  Is someone homeless?  Give them a home.  Is someone sad?  Give them a hug.  These are the standards of Jesus and His Gospel and therefore must be the instinct of a person claiming identity in Christ and calling themselves a Christian.  A Christian does not ask for papers first and then serves second.  A Christian professes faith in the Suffering Servant and is remade in His image.  Not as a leader.  Not as a King.  Not as anything but a servant.  When we realize that our sensitivity to the needs of our fellow brothers and sisters is being overshadowed by our status, our system or our score we must pray that the Holy Spirit convict us of our religiosity and reclaim us in the name of Jesus for the sake of Jesus as a disciple of Jesus.  Actions always speak louder than words, and when our actions glorify ourselves we are no longer servants, no longer disciples and no longer Christians.

 

 

Tuesday Devotional: Revelation 2

Devotional

Read Revelation 2:1-7bible

What does it mean to be a Christian?  What does it mean to have faith in Christ?  What does it mean to go to church?  What does it mean to read the Bible?  What does it mean to serve as Christ served?   What does it mean to desire heaven and fear hell?

What does any of it mean?

Why would a person go through day after day after day consumed by such things?  Is it to stay busy in a world of drifting and laziness?  Is it to find purpose in a life of wandering and ever-changing directions?  Is it to right wrongs that we know deep down exist in order to sleep at night?  Is it submission to an authority figure in our lives that we strive to impress?

Christians do a lot.  Christians are very busy people consumed by their Christian lives, and while this is not necessarily a bad thing, it is a horribly misguided, useless existence if the Christian is caught up in what they can do and not what Jesus Christ can do.  The foundation of Christianity and of every Christian must be the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  And this life, death and resurrection occurred for no other cause than outrageous love.  Therefore, a Christian’s busy-ness must only stem from the love received from Christ and returned to him.  Understanding the relationship between man and God is no different than understanding relationships between people.  A relationship built on activity and productivity is empty and futile without love.  Love between people is not just the product of that relationship, but the fuel that propels the relationship forward.  Similarly, a relationship built on anything other than this received and returned love is not the relationship that God desires.

The debate between faith and works has been waged since the early church and will continue until Christ returns.  In a true relationship, one overwhelmed and overcome by the love freely given us by Jesus Christ, there is no possibility of service void of love.  The love that we received from him on the cross is returned to him in our transformed lives. The selfless nature that operates in ours works devoted service to him as proof of our commitment to loving him with everything we have, because he loved us first.