An ongoing battle that every Christian faces is the one between the person you were before you met Jesus and the one you are now that you have met Him. Old temptations beckon. Old habits resurface. Old desires rekindle. Old loyalties divide. Old beliefs hinder. Old memories haunt. When you feel this tension, remember that you have a new identity, a new life and a new you because you believe in and belong to Jesus! You have been changed, are being changed and will be changed by His transforming grace. So fight the good fight of faith against sin as you rejoice in this today: that’s not you anymore.
God is actively working behind-the-scenes for you right now to meet your needs in ways that you don’t see. You don’t have the answers; God does. You don’t know the next move; God does. You can’t see how it will work out; God does. Everything you really need will really be supplied. Not maybe. Not probably. Definitely. God will provide for every need. Not some of them. Not most of them. All of them, without exception. Right when you need it, not a second too late. Today, do the work that God has said is for you to do, and believe that He is doing the work that is not for you to do.
Our joy will always be at risk if it is dependent upon things that we look to instead of Jesus because we are always at risk of losing them. The thrill fades away. The moment is over. The thing breaks. The experience disappoints. The person leaves. But Jesus has promised to give us a joy that doesn’t burn out, fade out, check out or sell out so we don’t have to miss out on real and lasting happiness that is only found in Him. Though every other form of happiness will inevitably leave or forsake us, He never will. In Jesus, we are offered a joy that can never be taken from us no matter what else is.
Bad circumstances, bad people and bad news make me want it. The more I survey the landscape of the sinfulness and brokenness we are all a part of, I look forward to our eternal heavenly home that Jesus is preparing for us so we can be with Him forever. A place where there will be no more sorrow, suffering or sin. A place where bad things will be eliminated, good things will be perfected and the best things will be unveiled. Our citizenship is in heaven, and God has put a longing in us for our homeland. When it’s hard here, let’s take heart and remember: He is preparing a place for us, and preparing us for a place.
Imperfect words. Imperfect actions. Imperfect thoughts. Imperfect attitudes. Imperfect motives. Even though we are not who we used to be, we are also not yet who we will become. We are imperfect people. That doesn’t mean we should be indifferent to our sin-produced flaws or complacent in our grace-driven effort to overcome them. We should work hard to act like Jesus on the outside while God works to make us more like Jesus on the inside. But we do this secure in His love, safe in His mercy and strengthened by His power. Today, let us strive for holy living while relying on and resting in His grace.
One of the enemy’s biggest lies is convincing us to live as if this life is all there is. He wants us to prioritize and pursue things that won’t matter for long over things that will matter forever. But everything looks different when you look past the temporary to eternity. This place isn’t our home; we’re heading home. This life won’t last forever; the next life will. This treasure trove will fade away; the ones laid up in heaven have an everlasting shine. Yes, let us enjoy our time on earth and the things of earth as God means for us to do. But, even more, let us think, feel, speak and act as people who have set their sights on eternity.
God has not blessed us with time just so we can use it binge-watching Netflix. He has not blessed us with money just so we can spend it on more comforts. He has not blessed us with abilities and skills just so we can serve our own interests and passions. The generosity of God has been extended to us with blessings of time, talent and treasure that we might both enjoy them ourselves and extend them to bless others. Those of us who are trusting in Jesus have been entrusted with showing the world His heart for them by being His hands and feet and mouth to them. You have been blessed; now go be a blessing.
Chosen means to be selected. Chosen means to be wanted. Chosen means to be included. And there is always a basis for being chosen that explains why any person, place or thing is selected, wanted and included. I’ve been chosen to be on an all-star team, to be a keynote speaker and to be a husband. These were all based on merit. But when God chose me to be in His family, it wasn’t because I deserved it. It was because Jesus took all of my sinfulness and replaced it with all of His righteousness. His merit replaced my demerit. I wasn’t chosen because of my skill, knowledge or charm. I was chosen by grace.
We go to great measures to gain treasures in this world. But trophies, trips, triumphs, titles, toys, things and time spent on earthly pursuits and pleasures with no regard for eternity will undo us in the end. It’s not that these things are inherently wrong, evil or unprofitable; it’s that we often ignore God to pursue them and value them more than we do Him. God has given us all things richly to enjoy, but the point of that enjoyment is to point us to Jesus. To gain all that the world has to offer yet not have Jesus is to have nothing at all. To gain all that Jesus has to offer yet not have the world is to have everything.
God delights to give His children the good things they ask from Him. Why then are there times when we don’t get what we want in life? One reason is simply that we aren’t asking Him for good things. That could mean that we aren’t praying at all, and we don’t get what we ask for because we aren’t asking. That could mean that we are praying, but what we are asking for isn’t good for us to get. Whether it’s the wrong thing, the wrong track, or the wrong time, God loves us too much to say “yes” to all of our requests that we would regret in the end. When He acts differently than we asked, it’s always an upgrade.
This is the jaw-dropping reality of just how much you are worth: Jesus loves you, gave Himself for you and lives in you. Don’t you see? Your worth is not based on who you are; it is based on Whose you are. Your worth is not based on your performance; it is based on His. Your worth is not based on your making a name for yourself; it is based on the Name of the One who lives inside you. If you belong to Jesus, the old you is dead, and the life you now live carries a value that is not found in any personal achievement, accolade or attribute. You don’t have to prove your worth. Jesus already did that.