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
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3)
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.
Dear Heavenly Father, we bow ourselves before you and confess that we have too often forgotten that we are your sons and daughters. Sometimes we carry on our lives as if you do not exist, and we fall short of being credible witnesses to you.
We have denied you with silence, passivity, and cowardice. We have betrayed you by our idolatry, disobedience, and selfishness. Instead of following your ways, we have turned to our own ways. Instead of honoring you, we have desired the applause of man.
For these things we ask your forgiveness and your enabling grace. Transform us into courageous ambassadors for Christ. Give us clear minds and open hearts so we may be your witnesses in a lost world. Draw us closer to you and embolden us to be your servants regardless of what we are doing, where we are, or whom we are with. For the sake of Jesus our Savior, 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: Matthew provides the comprehensive context by which we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus. Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers. Nothing could be further from the truth. 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 2:1-11 (esp. vv.9-11)
Okay, one more time, read Philippians 2:1-11. Now ask: What does it mean that Jesus humbled himself? And, what does it mean that God exalted him? Understanding these two themes, humility and exaltation, is essential to applying what Paul teaches in our passage.
Humility. We often read passages like this in isolation, and when we do, we miss out on the richness, the depth, the beauty of what Jesus accomplished through his life, death, and resurrection. Here is one example. When Jesus “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death…” it wasn’t a decision made up on the fly. Revelation 13:8 shows us that in some sense Jesus “wore the servant’s towel from eternity” (a helpful phrase from Kent Hughes). He eternally resolved to redeem us, and so he also eternally resolved to experience the self-humiliation Philippians 2:1-11 describes.
We can reflect his resolve by looking ahead to our own weeks and resolving to humble ourselves, to serve others, and to pour ourselves out and into the lives of others for the sake of the gospel.
Exaltation. Jesus humbled himself for our sakes, and because of this God the Father “super-exalted him.” What’s happening here? God is restoring to Jesus the glory which he had with the Father “before the world existed” (John 17:5)! Not only that, but God bestowed upon Jesus “the name that is above every name.”
What name is this? After all, Jesus has many names: Immanuel, Ancient of Days, the Good Shepherd, the Word, the Light, the Lamb, the Bread of Life, and the Alpha and Omega, to name a few. But here we have the name that is above every name. It is the name that God’s people had called him for thousands of years: Yahweh (Lord, the personal name of the God of Israel)! What an incredible revelation!Jesus is Yahweh, and one day in the future his exaltation will be recognized by every tongue confessing and every knee bowing to his rightful and gracious reign (see Isaiah 45:22-23).
Questions to Ponder:Take breath. This is a lot to take in. Now pause and consider:
How will your week change as you live in light of the fact that Jesus is Yahweh?
What words will you use, knowing that one day your tongue will confess that he is King?
What steps will you take in relationships, knowing that one day you will kneel before him as the true King?
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.
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel. (Luke 2:29-32)