Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 59:16)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Merciful God, who pardons all who truly repent and turn to you, we humbly confess our sins and ask for your mercy. We have not loved you with a pure heart, nor have we loved our neighbor as ourselves. We have not done justice, loved kindness, or walked humbly with you, our God.
Have mercy on us, O God, and cleanse us from our sin. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right Spirit within us. Restore to us the joy of Your salvation, and sustain us with your bountiful Spirit through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
This reading plan will help you to develop the habit of being in God’s Word each morning and evening. Come to this time with expectation. Expect God to reveal himself to you. Expect that he delights in you being there, even when you’ve wandered away. Growing a spiritual habit is a slow, patient process. So be kind to yourself as you grow!
Readings are hyperlinked. Simply hover over the passage or click Morning/Evening Reading (email version).
Praying the Psalms: Read slowly. Take note of words and phrases. Bring them before the Lord in prayer and personalize the passage as you pray.
NT Context: Mark wastes no time in getting down to business—a single-sentence introduction, and not a digression to be found from beginning to end. An event has taken place that radically changes the way we look at and experience the world, and he can’t wait to tell us about it. There’s an air of breathless excitement in nearly every sentence he writes. Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
OT Context: First, God. God is the subject of life. God is foundational for living. If we don’t have a sense of the primacy of God, we will never get it right, get life right, get our lives right. Not God at the margins; not God as an option; not God on the weekends. God at center and circumference; God first and last; God, God, God. Genesis gets us off on the right foot. Genesis pulls us into a sense of reality that is God-shaped and God-filled. It gives us a vocabulary for speaking accurately and comprehensively about our lives, where we come from and where we are going, what we think and what we do, the people we live with and how to get along with them, the troubles we find ourselves in and the blessings that keep arriving. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) from Sunday’s sermon. Use it to reflect upon the ways Christ has been working in your life this week. Makes a great midday reflection, or group discussion guide. Follow along with our Philippians Reading Plan + Study Guide as we all read Philippians every day this summer.
Read: Philippians 3:15-21 (esp. v.18-21)
Paul again returns to his use of “citizen” language. The Philippian church was to be a colony of heaven in this influential Roman colony. Paul prioritizes their heavenly citizenship here and places it in direct competition with the Roman citizenship.
There’s no dual citizenship here. Writing in the 2nd Century, Diognetus says, Christians “live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country.”
This is Paul’s point. Those who become self-seeking (v.18-19) no longer live as though they are only passing through. Their appetites for possession, power, status, and influence begin to control them rather than Christ.
Christians, Paul is saying, know where their loyalties lie: “in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus” (3:20). Paul is actually describing Christians as having “counter-citizenship.”This would have been revolutionary to the church in the Roman colony of Philippi who so prized their Roman citizenship. It should be revolutionary and instructive to us today as well in how we view our citizenship.
Christ will return one day and “transform our lowly bodyto be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” On that day, we won’t squabble over who achieved what level of success, or envy the house, the car, the wife of anyone. Awaiting his arrival meansthat our hearts are set on him, rather than these acquiring these earthy, and fading, things.
We won’t care whether or not we “live our best life” because Christ will transform our lowly bodies to be like his resurrected body. We will step into the renewed creation that has once again been fully subjected to God’s rule with each day growing to be better than the last. With a future like this, who has time to set their mind on earthly things?
Questions to Ponder:
How has your heavenly citizenship influenced the way you thought, acted, and spoke this week?
Evening Prayer of Examen
Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. (Psalm 16:8-9)