…the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. —Galatians 2:20
We should battle through our moods, feelings, and emotions into absolute devotion to the Lord Jesus. We must break out of our own little world of experience into abandoned devotion to Him. Think who the New Testament says Jesus Christ is, and then think of the despicable meagerness of the miserable faith we exhibit by saying, “I haven’t had this experience or that experience”! Think what faith in Jesus Christ claims and provides— He can present us faultless before the throne of God, inexpressibly pure, absolutely righteous, and profoundly justified. Stand in absolute adoring faith “in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God— and righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” (1 Corinthians 1:30). How dare we talk of making a sacrifice for the Son of God! We are saved from hell and total destruction, and then we talk about making sacrifices!
We must continually focus and firmly place our faith in Jesus Christ— not a “prayer meeting” Jesus Christ, or a “book” Jesus Christ, but the New Testament Jesus Christ, who is God Incarnate, and who ought to strike us dead at His feet. Our faith must be in the One from whom our salvation springs. Jesus Christ wants our absolute, unrestrained devotion to Himself. We can never experience Jesus Christ, or selfishly bind Him in the confines of our own hearts. Our faith must be built on strong determined confidence in Him.
It is because of our trusting in experience that we see the steadfast impatience of the Holy Spirit against unbelief. All of our fears are sinful, and we create our own fears by refusing to nourish ourselves in our faith. How can anyone who is identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear! Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief.
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
The main characteristic which is the proof of the indwelling Spirit is an amazing tenderness in personal dealing, and a blazing truthfulness with regard to God’s Word. Disciples Indeed, 386 R
The Life I Now Live, Galatians 2:20 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12
Amanda works as a visiting nurse who rotates among several nursing homes—often bringing her eleven-year-old daughter Ruby to work. For something to do, Ruby began asking residents, “If you could have any three things, what would you want?” and recording their answers in her notebook. Surprisingly, many of their wishes were for little things—Vienna sausages, chocolate pie, cheese, avocados. So Ruby set up a GoFundMe to help her provide for their simple wishes. And when she delivers the goodies, she doles out hugs. She says, “It lifts you. It really does.”
When we show compassion and kindness like Ruby’s, we reflect our God who “is gracious and compassionate . . . and rich in love” (Psalm 145:8). That’s why the apostle Paul urged us, as God’s people, to “clothe [our]selves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Because God has shown great compassion to us, we naturally long to share His compassion with others. And as we do so intentionally, we “clothe” ourselves in it.
Paul goes on to tell us: “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (v. 14). And he reminds us that we are to “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 17), remembering that all good things come from God. When we’re kind to others, our spirits are lifted.
Difficult times are opportunities to praise our faithful Father.
To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the scriptures referenced throughout.
As Christians, we have the opportunity to experience deep and abiding joy. It’s a blessing we receive because of our relationship with Jesus Christ, knowing that He’s at work in every detail of our life. But that doesn’t mean our days are problem-free.
Think back to Peter as he walked on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:22-33). The disciples’ vessel had been battered all night, leaving them exhausted and fearful, but despite all that, Peter had the courage to call to His Lord and step out onto turbulent waters. It was only when he took his eyes off Jesus that the disciple began to sink. But even then, the Savior refused to abandon His beloved friend. Instead, He “took hold of him” and brought Peter back to safety.
The same is true for us whenever we are facing adversity. (See Psalm 126:1-6.) If we are conscious of the Lord’s continuous presence with us, we can express gratitude no matter what, because God will provide a way through the challenge.
Think about it
What is your “default setting” in times of adversity? Is it fear, anger, or despair—or do you view hard times as a chance to rely on and rejoice in God’s provision?
“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)
Many people have mistakenly rejected or neglected the Old Testament on the basis that it speaks about a vindictive God of judgment in contrast to the New Testament God of love manifest in Jesus Christ. This perspective, however, is completely wrong.
One day a lawyer asked Jesus, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40).
Both of these commandments were recorded, of course, in the Old Testament. The first one in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 is perhaps the most revered of all passages to the Jews: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” The second great commandment is the one in our text for the day. This law is buried deep in the Pentateuch, in the unlikely heart of the book of Leviticus. In the New Testament it is even called “the royal law” (James 2:8).
Thus, the great underlying theme of the Old Testament is love—love for God and love for others—and this truth is stressed by Christ Himself in the New Testament. Even greater is God’s eternal love that was ours from before the world and that will never end. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jeremiah 31:3). HMM
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. —1 Corinthians 13:1
We naturally shy away from superlatives and from comparisons which praise one virtue at the expense of another, yet I wonder whether there is on earth anything as exquisitely lovely as a brilliant mind aglow with the love of God.
Such a mind sheds a mild and healing ray which can actually be felt by those who come near it. Virtue goes forth from it and blesses those who merely touch the hem of its garment. One has, for instance, but to read The Celestial Country by Bernard of Cluny to understand what I mean. There a sensitive and shining intellect warm with the fire of the inliving Spirit writes with a vast and tender sympathy of those longings for immortality….
This same feeling of near-inspiration is experienced also in the letters of Samuel Rutherford, in the Te Deum, in many of the hymns of Watts and Wesley and occasionally in a work of some lesser-known saint whose limited gifts may have been for one joyous moment made incandescent by the fire of the indwelling Spirit. POM104-106
Those who love the divine character necessarily desire to promote the divine glory. DTC069
How much worse punishment do you think one will deserve who has … insulted the Spirit?—Hebrews 10:29
One of the devices Satan uses to keep some Christians from experiencing all the fullness of the Spirit is to persuade them that the obsessive or unclean thoughts they might have in connection with the Holy Spirit are direct “blasphemy” against the Spirit. Such thoughts are usually due to deep emotional and psychological problems and not deliberate disobedience against the Holy Spirit. They can be forgiven.
Another verse that seems to cause problems for some Christians is the one before us today. In the days of the early church, there were some Jews who, after embracing Christianity, decided to abandon it and return to their old religion: Judaism. Before being readmitted to the faith of their fathers, they were required to renounce the Christian gospel by figuratively trampling on the blood of Christ, at the same time saying words to this effect: “I renounce the blood of Jesus as unworthy and ineffectual.”
In the religion of the Jews, trampling on the blood was a sign of contempt. What greater insolence, then, to the Christian faith than to tread under foot the blood of the Son of God, and openly state that it was ineffectual and unworthy. Such an act, said the writer to the Hebrews, not only insulted the Holy Spirit, but outraged Him (Heb 10:29). Such an action is seldom committed in modern times. Take it from me, most upsets in connection with the Holy Spirit are caused by the Spirit of grace calling us to repentance and forgiveness.
O Father, release me, I pray, from all Satan’s attempts to influence my thinking, and enable me to enjoy, from this day forward, the freedom of “life in the Spirit.” For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.—1 Thessalonians 4:13
Christians do not grieve as the world grieves. The world experiences sorrow without hope. The Christian also has sorrow, but the Christian’s sorrow is accompanied by hope.
In Jesus’ day, a funeral was a time for an impassioned demonstration of grief. It was a sign of respect for the deceased to wail loudly at a funeral. A person grieving the loss of a loved one had no power to change what had happened. There was probably no time in human experience where people felt more helpless or vulnerable than at a funeral.
Jesus, too, wept at the funeral of a close friend, but His sorrow did not come from a lack of hope (John 11:35). Jesus knew that soon Lazarus would be alive again. He also knew that at His second coming, Lazarus and all of Jesus’ followers would be resurrected from death to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Jesus wept because He saw the hopelessness felt by the people He loved. His friends had the Resurrection and the Life right in their midst, yet they were grieving! (John 11:25).
When Jesus conquered death, He forever changed the way Christians view death. Christians still experience the sorrow of losing someone we love, but we have hope because we know that God can bring good out of any situation (Rom. 8:28). We have hope in the knowledge that nothing, not even death, can separate us from God’s love (Rom. 8:38–39). We have hope because Jesus will bring us to join Him in heaven so that we might enjoy eternity in unhindered fellowship with Him (John 14:3).
Even though you are a Christian, you cannot escape life’s sorrows. But you can temper your grief with the hope that Christ is risen, for He is your hope and your comfort.