If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Oswald Chambers’ classic devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, has been treasured by millions since it was first published by his widow in 1924. In the devotional for February 11, Chambers wrote a simple sentence that has inspired many to live for Christ: “Remember whose you are and whom you serve.”
Many a parent has sent a young adult child off to college, or out into the world, with a similar exhortation. When the road gets rough or the waves get strong, remembering whom we belong to, and thus whom we serve, can be a compass to keep us on the right path. The New Testament says something similar to Christians. We belong to Christ and serve Him as Lord; therefore, we have all the motivation we should need for living in a way that honors Him. Paul put it simply: “Walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1). Christ gave His life for us; walking worthy of Him means living our life for Him every day.
If you are in Christ today, let every thought, word, and deed be worthy of Him.
Remember whose you are and whom you serve.Oswald Chambers
Breaking Bad Habits – Colossians 3:1-15 – Skip Heitzig
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.Ephesians 4:2
After twenty-two years together, I sometimes wonder how my marriage to Merryn works. I’m a writer; Merryn is a statistician. I work with words; she works with numbers. I want beauty; she wants function. We come from different worlds.
Merryn arrives to appointments early; I’m occasionally late. I try new things on the menu; she orders the same. After twenty minutes at an art gallery, I’m just getting started, while Merryn is already in the cafe downstairs wondering how much longer I’ll be. We give each other many opportunities to learn patience!
We do have things in common—a shared sense of humor, a love of travel, and a common faith that helps us pray through options and compromise as needed. With this shared base, our differences even work to our advantage. Merryn has helped me learn to relax, while I’ve helped her grow in discipline. Working with our differences has made us better people.
Paul uses marriage as a metaphor for the church (Ephesians 5:21–33), and with good reason. Like marriage, church brings very different people together, requiring them to develop humility and patience and to “[bear] with one another in love” (4:2). And, as in marriage, a shared base of faith and mutual service helps a church become unified and mature (vv. 11–13).
Differences in relationships can cause great frustration—in the church and in marriage. But managed well, they can help us become more Christlike.
The Lord wants to build strong faith in us so we can stand firm in His mighty power. He does this by placing us in challenging situations that are beyond our strength. If we trust in ourselves, we’ll fail. But we will discover God’s great faithfulness if we imitate David’s example from today’s passage:
• Godly motivation. The young shepherd’s desire was to defend the Lord’s name. In our challenges, we must examine our motives to be certain they’re Christ-centered, not self-focused.
• Recognition of the battle’s nature. David’s struggle in the physical realm was against Goliath. But the real battle was spiritual, and so is ours (Ephesians 6:12).
• Memory of God’s past faithfulness. David’s confidence was based on the Lord’s power that enabled him to protect his sheep from wild animals. Even if you’re a fairly new Christian, you also have a history of God’s faithfulness to strengthen and encourage you.
• Dependence on the Lord. David didn’t rely on traditional armor or weapons; he trusted the power of God to direct a small stone into the head of Goliath.
The One who conquered sin for you will also watch over, strengthen, and care for you in every challenging situation you face. Trust Him.
“And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves.” (Mark 9:7-8)
The transfiguration of Jesus is the greatest miracle during His time on Earth outside of His resurrection. Jesus led His inner circle, Peter, James, and John, to a “high mountain” to pray. While Jesus was praying, He was transfigured (metemorphōthē, English metamorphosis) into a glorified state. Moses and Elijah then appeared “in glory” and spoke with Him of His coming death in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). At this time, Jesus was preparing for His death, and His disciples couldn’t accept it (Mark 8:31-33).
When the three disciples saw Jesus’ glory and who was with Him, Peter suggested building three tabernacles, or booths, like those used in the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43), one each for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah—placing Jesus on the same level as these Old Testament prophets. But a terrifying, Mount Sinai-like “bright” cloud overshadowed the mountaintop, engulfing them (Matthew 17:5). The First Person of the Trinity rebuked Peter for marginalizing His Son by declaring, “This is my beloved Son: hear him” (Mark 9:7). In other words, God called on them to honor His Son. Listen to Him! When the cloud cleared, only one person remained in front of them—the Lord Jesus Christ.
What’s our implication? Every believer is to listen to the Lord Jesus Christ and experience an equally radical “metamorphosis” in our thinking. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed [metemorphōthē] by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). CM
He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. —Galatians 6:8
We have but to submit to [the Holy Spirit] to gain from [Him] an everlasting reward. Deeds done in the Spirit, in obedience to Christ and with the purpose of bringing honor to the Triune God, are seeds of endless blessedness.
The first gift of life is not by works, but by faith in the work of a sufficient Redeemer; but after the miracle of the new birth has been accomplished, the Christian to a large extent carries his future in his hands. If he denies himself and takes up his cross in meek obedience, his deeds will become seeds of life and everlasting glory.
He may forget his deeds of love or think them small and useless, but God is not unmindful. He never forgets.
The sweet harvest of a life well lived will be there to meet the sower after the toil is ended and the heat of the day is past. NCA087
If you would constantly enjoy [God’s] approving smile, let Him see a spirit of single-hearted devotion to Jesus and uncompromising and unqualified obedience to His will.WL041
For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.—Romans 8:29
What is God’s great goal in the universe to which His energies are devoted? We have it in our text for today. The Living Bible puts this best, and I have no hesitation in saying that although it is not regarded as a true translation (it is, rather, a paraphrase), its rendering of Romans 8:29 is one of the most exciting things I have ever read. This is what it says: “For from the very beginning God decided that those who came to him … should become like his Son.” God’s great energy and wisdom, working on behalf of all Christians, is directed to making us like His Son Jesus Christ. Of course this purpose will only be fully realized in the world to come, but while we are here, He is pursuing this same purpose nevertheless.
It is only when we comprehend this that we will be able to understand the purpose that lies behind all our trials and difficulties. Romans 8:28—”We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God”—must be read in connection with Romans 8:29. Because God is committed to making us like His Son, His wisdom goes to work on every trial that comes our way in order to bring from it something that will enrich our character and make us more like Jesus Christ.
Infinite power is ruled by infinite wisdom. He could deliver us and make our lives comfortable, but in a fallen world this is not the best purpose. Understanding this is crucial if we are to live our lives the way God desires.
Father, forgive me that so often my goals are diametrically opposed to Yours. Help me bring my goals in line with Your goals. I shall need Your help to adjust. Whatever happens, keep me ever moving toward becoming more and more like Jesus. Amen.
—that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness . . . so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.—Romans 3:22–26
Because of sin, Adam and Eve fell short of the perfection God intended for them. Because of sin, the Israelites relinquished the glory they could have experienced as God’s holy nation. Because of sin, Judas fell short of the opportunity to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. Sin will corrupt every area of your life that it touches. Sin will cause your marriage to fall short of the promise it held in the beginning. Sin will cause you to fall short as a parent, a church member, a worshiper, or a friend. Every area in your life is susceptible to sin’s destruction.
The wonder of salvation is that God completely dealt with sin. He did what we could not do. Through Christ’s sacrifice, God, by His grace, offered His salvation and canceled the penalty of our sin. By His grace, He takes a life that has fallen short of God’s best and gives it meaning. He provides the opportunity to immediately confess our sin and to be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He mends a broken heart. His grace erases anger and bitterness. He restores severed relationships. He takes a life devastated by sin and makes it whole. He takes our failures and produces something good.
Only God can heal sin’s devastation. Only He can bridge the gap between His glory and your sin (Rom. 3:23). You must trust Him to do so. If you will ask Him, He will free you from the bondage of your sin, reestablish your relationship with Him, and restore you to wholeness.
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him. —Hebrews 12:5
It is very easy to grieve the Spirit of God; we do it by despising the discipline of the Lord, or by becoming discouraged when He rebukes us. If our experience of being set apart from sin and being made holy through the process of sanctification is still very shallow, we tend to mistake the reality of God for something else. And when the Spirit of God gives us a sense of warning or restraint, we are apt to say mistakenly, “Oh, that must be from the devil.”
“Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19), and do not despise Him when He says to you, in effect, “Don’t be blind on this point anymore— you are not as far along spiritually as you thought you were. Until now I have not been able to reveal this to you, but I’m revealing it to you right now.” When the Lord disciplines you like that, let Him have His way with you. Allow Him to put you into a right-standing relationship before God.
“…nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him.” We begin to pout, become irritated with God, and then say, “Oh well, I can’t help it. I prayed and things didn’t turn out right anyway. So I’m simply going to give up on everything.” Just think what would happen if we acted like this in any other area of our lives!
Am I fully prepared to allow God to grip me by His power and do a work in me that is truly worthy of Himself? Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me— sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me. But He has to get me into the state of mind and spirit where I will allow Him to sanctify me completely, whatever the cost (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
If a man cannot prove his religion in the valley, it is not worth anything. Shade of His Hand, 1200 L
Paul Harvey – If I were the devil… 1965 – Updated Video
[The Lord] will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.Deuteronomy 31:8
Annie Johnson Flint was crippled by severe arthritis just a few years after high school. She never walked again and relied on others to help care for her needs. Because of her poetry and hymns, she received many visitors, including a deaconess who felt discouraged about her own ministry. When the visitor returned home, she wrote to Annie, wondering why God allowed such hard things in her life.
In response, Annie sent a poem: “God hath not promised skies always blue, / flower-strewn pathways all our lives through. . . .” She knew from experience that suffering often occurred, but that God would never abandon those He loves. Instead, He promised to give “grace for the trials, help from above, / unfailing sympathy, undying love.” You may recognize that poem as the hymn “What God Hath Promised.”
Moses also suffered and faced strife, but He knew God’s presence was with him. When he passed his leadership of the Israelites to Joshua, he told the younger man to be strong and courageous, because “the Lord your God goes with you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Moses, knowing that the people of Israel would face formidable enemies as they entered and took the promised land, said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (v. 8).
Disciples of Christ will face hardship, but we have God’s Spirit to encourage us. He’ll never leave us.
Ask yourself, Am I willing to pray for God to show me the broken places within my heart?
To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.
Scripture reveals that God designed us for relationship—with Him and one another (Genesis 2:18; Galatians 6:2). Yet each of us brings unique baggage and difficult experiences that can make fellowship challenging. How do we love each other in a healthy way when we all come with emotional scars?
There’s not a lot we can do about the state of someone else’s heart, but we can take responsibility for our own. And a great place to begin is David’s prayer in Psalm 139: “Search me, God, and know my heart; put me to the test and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way” (Psalm 139:23-24). If we genuinely want to improve our relationships, we must be willing to face the truth about our inner life and own what’s ours to address. And the Lord promises that when we bravely ask for His insight, the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32).
Think About It
• Are you ready to pray David’s prayer and face whatever God may reveal? If not, read all of Psalm 139 to remember to Whom you’re talking. Then say, “Lord, prepare me to one day pray David’s words.”