I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.(2 Peter 3:1-2)
It’s the official first week of the New Year and I am sure, just like it was mentioned in last week’s devotional, that we have prepared goals and are determined to make changes that we want to achieve and sustain in this coming year.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact it can be exciting! However, I want us to keep in mind that what we set as goals and changes will be in vain if we don’t remember certain truths that remain constant whether or not we achieve what we’ve set out to achieve.
As we forge ahead this year, remembering these truths doesn’t just bring to mind what has taken place but it sustains us and empowers us to move through navigating each day. So, don’t forget to remember:
God is Holy
“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with Him…” (Isaiah 40:18)
Why do I bring this up? Because this is where it starts. If we don’t constantly remember that God is Holy- set apart, unique, none like Him, none will ever be like Him (1 Samuel 2:2) – then our faith journey will be one of confusion. God’s Holiness is what has opened the door for our salvation, justification and sanctification. A Holy God sought after unholy people to redeem us into His Holiness by the perfect sacrifice of His Son Jesus. His Holiness is what shows His love that He would open the door for our ability to stand blameless before Him (2 Cor. 5:21). And when we remember this glorious truth, worship is the response. And what good would it do us to chase after all of our goals and neglect the one thing we are created for—worshipping our good, good Father?
The Gospel is Daily
We know “Christ died, was buried and He rose on the third day…”(1 Cor. 15:3) We can probably recite that in our sleep but it’s not for mindless reciting—it’s for believing and living out the truths of God’s power (Romans 1:16) every single day. The Gospel is more than a verse in the Bible- it’s the reason why we can have relationship with God. It’s the reason for our Hope. It’s the starting point and the sustaining path for our walk (1 Cor. 15:1-2) And if we aren’t remembering the gospel daily, then we will be susceptible to the plight of the enemy because His goal is to deceive into thinking that we don’t need to rehearse and rejoice in the gospel daily.
God’s Word is mandatory, not an option:
“It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
My heart has been to spur us to not just good works but to love God’s Word. There is nothing we know of God that doesn’t come from His Word and that is the place where we will continue knowing Him. Knowing His plans. Knowing His works. Knowing His purposes. Knowing how to endure and so much more.
Sisters, God’s Word isn’t an accessory to our faith. It’s ammunition (Ephesians 6:10-20). It is what sustains our journey because it’s how we know the One who gave us this path to walk on. It’s the truths that build our foundation. And if we aren’t committed to getting into His Word, we are in essence saying, “enemy, have your way with me because I have no armor to fight you.”
We are called to fight this good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12) not with our knowledge or intellect or feelings but with the truth of God’s Word. So, don’t let it be an option to get in His Word this year. And WITHIN will continue to spur you on in this.
My performance won’t earn me anything before God
We will fight this deception until the day we see glory because the enemy’s main tactic is the one he used back in Genesis 3: “Did God really say…?”
He will keep saying, “Did God really say that there is nothing you can do to earn His love? Did God really say that you don’t have to “do more” to be seen favorable in His eyes?”
Sisters, nothing, and I mean nothing we do has given us the position we have in Christ (Titus 3:5) It’s hard for us to truly believe that because our nature fights to do in order to be. God’s kingdom is upside down. There is nothing on that list of “to-do’s for 2020” that will earn you anything in God. This is not to say that if you’ve put “pray more” that it will not strengthen your relationship with the Lord. What I am saying is that your praying more doesn’t change your identity as God’s child. It’s secure yet it changes you.
Remember this year that when you find yourself thinking along those lines that it’s a lie from the father of lies. My prayer for us is that as we grow and rest in the transforming knowledge of God, by His Spirit, we will be spurred to love Him through our obedience to His commands but not to pursue His commands to be loved more by Him. There is a difference.
Don’t cheapen God’s Grace
With the above being said, God’s grace isn’t just a nice word—it’s power. Therefore, don’t cheapen it by thinking you are able to do what you want (Romans 6). His grace not just saves us but it keeps us and empowers us to say yes to Him and no to anything that is not of Him. (Colossians 1:22, Titus 2:11) Let’s not diminish the power of His Grace but let’s seek to live in it and by it that we would be marked by the witness of the fruit we bear through Him (Romans 12:3-21).
He is in the Joys as well as the Suffering
The reality is that much joy and suffering await us in this lifetime. The tendency is to think that God is more in the joy than the suffering. May we be encouraged to know that God is in both (2 Cor. 6:10). He sustains us in both. And may our hearts be so anchored in Christ that when we experience both, we will know the Sovereignty of God through them (James 1:4) We will experience the divine comfort as much as the divine joy—He doesn’t change. His purposes are revealed in both.
You can’t do this walk alone
Do you want to know one of the major ways God is kind to us? He gave us His church to be loved, protected and shepherded by. I’ve said this before but we don’t get saved unto ourselves but we get saved into the family of God. He purposely builds His church for His glory and our good. We can’t do this walk of faith alone as much as we think we can. Hebrews 10 commands us to not neglect the assembling of the saints and Hebrews 3:13 is very clear what happens when we think we can—we are susceptible to deception and hardening of sin. Isolation is the enemy’s playground. So, this year, if you haven’t found a local church, would you seek the Lord to lead you to a body so you can be cared for the way God intended?
This is not our home
Oh, my dear sisters, this is the glorious truth that we must cling to tightly. We are but sojourners just passing through. This is not our home. And each day, we are one day closer to heaven. Don't be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good--the good of the gospel we stand on and in daily.
Make the most of the time He has given us (Ephesians 5:15)) by making much of Him but know that He is leading us to greater glory (Romans 8:18). There is coming a day when we will stand before our Maker and we will be made perfect forever. Until that day—He keeps us and sustains us through this fallen world (Jude 1:24).
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 Samuel 2:2
1 Timothy 6:12
1 Cor. 15:1-3
Titus 2:11, 3:5
Questions to Reflect on: