And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Romans 12:1-3
Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me .... Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation, and make me willing to obey you .... My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart. Psalm 51:10, 12, 17
The Lord said: Heaven is my throne; the earth is my footstool. What kind of house could you build for me? In what place will I rest? I have made everything; that’s how it all came to be. I, the Lord, have spoken. The people I treasure most are the humble—they depend only on me and tremble when I speak. Isaiah 66:1-2
Since we have a Kingdom nothing can destroy, let us please God by serving him with thankful hearts and with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
We having been looking at Matthew 25:30 this week where it says, “Now, throw that good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!” Many Christians who struggle to feel good about how they are doing at living the Christian life are quite troubled by these words. Here is what we said yesterday about them: “So then, we are those who don’t dismiss the treasure of Jesus and his heavenly kingdom and have become true followers of Jesus who help with the advancement of his heavenly kingdom. We will hear him say someday, “enter into the joy of your Master as good and faithful servants.” We will not hear those words of dire consequence, “Now, throw that good-for-nothing servant far away from me into the outer darkness, where there will be great misery and anguish!” These words are reserved for those who dismiss altogether the treasure of Jesus and his glorious heavenly kingdom.”
While there are consequences associated with not living as fully for God and his kingdom as we should, they are not the dire consequences of Matthew 25:30. The dire consequences of Matthew 25:30 are in reality a description of the ultimate consequence of hell. Those who dismiss altogether the treasure of Jesus and his glorious heavenly kingdom are in reality rejecting Christ. Those who reject Christ and never embrace the Savior of the world in this life, will pass into eternity and go to the place of outer darkness where there is great misery and anguish. Let the words of John 3:16-18 ring in your ears, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 5:24 says “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
This week’s Devotional set is entitled, “Our Heavenly Destiny.” Be assured that all true believers in Christ are redeemed and are destined for heaven someday. This assurance is vital, but “Our Heavenly Destiny” is more than arriving safe in heaven someday. “Our Heavenly Destiny” includes a lifetime of embracing and serving Christ and the true kingdom of heaven while we are here on earth. The rest of today’s Devotional and the Devotionals for Thursday and Friday are devoted to helping us experience “Our Heavenly Destiny” as fully as possible while we are here on earth.
The verses at the start of today’s Devotional are all about surrender. Read them over again. Surrender is one of the three words we are focusing on this week to help us gain a full understanding of what it means to be a new person with a new life. The other two are identity and vocation. Yesterday we equated surrender with commitment. When we commit ourselves to God we are surrendering to him. But no one can be perfectly surrendered to God. It is a life-long commitment and pursuit. So in reality the surrendered person is not one who is perfectly surrendered but one who has made the commitment to always pursue being surrendered to God as fully as possible. This distinction is important for two reasons. First, if we view surrender as something absolute, total, and perfect, we will give up on it as unattainable. Second, when we view surrender as a pursuit, then the initial commitment we made to pursue surrender becomes a milestone in our lives to which we can look back in those times when our surrender is lacking and this helps us to go forward restored and renewed in our pursuit of surrender.
It is important that we have a solid grasp on what it means to make a commitment to the lifetime pursuit of surrender to God. When we make this commitment we are saying to God: I want you to be in charge of my life. I want to be the new person with the new life that you have in mind for me. I want your will and not my own. I am willing to be anything you want me to be, go anywhere you want me to go, and do anything you want me to do. I am willing to give up anything you want me to give up and to steer clear of anything that does not fit in with your will for my life. Perhaps the real question for us is: can we trust God with our lives. If we can trust God, then it would seem that surrendering our lives to him makes all the sense in the world.
Living for God’s kingdom is a high calling and God is devoted to seeing that calling fulfilled in our lives day by day. Responding and yielding to God in surrender is the pathway to our actually living lives as good and faithful stewards of the kingdom of heaven. Making the commitment to the lifetime of surrender that we have been talking about today is the response God is looking for from us. Perhaps you have never made the commitment to pursue a lifetime of surrender to God or perhaps you find yourself at a spot where the commitment you have made is severely lacking. Either way, now is a great moment to come before the Lord in full commitment to a lifetime of surrendering to him.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, Thank you for the gift of heaven and eternal life and the assurance that I am yours forever. Here I am, take my life and all that I am and make everything new and right. Help me not to be afraid of anything that might happen as a result of surrendering to you. Help me to let go of everything. Help me to take hold of you completely. I release myself into your arms of love for the blessed life in you that I need and long for. Amen!
Posted on Wed, March 27, 2019
by Ken Hart