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
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
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.
CONFESSION Father in heaven, we confess to you this morning that you have sent your Son to declare the coming of your kingdom. And we need your kingdom.Our city needs your kingdom. Our world needs your kingdom. Yet we resist your rule at every point. We are constantly trying to limit your kingship.
We confess that we try to take power from you.We want the control and fear trusting you with our priorities, our schedules, our money, our relationships, our children, our bodies, and our reputations. Forgive us for doubting your goodness.
We confess trying to limit your power. We act like you are a private god who does not exercise authority over every facet of this world, from individuals to institutions. Forgive us for doubting your power.
Father, you have said that your Kingdom makes all things new. Prove it to us. Prove it in us, we pray. Be our Lord; reign with your loving power over us. Meet us where we are and enter our lives, our city and our world. We ask this not because we deserve it, but because Christ has earned it for us on the cross. Amen.
PARDON (try committing this one to memory this week!) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
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.
Today’s Devo comes from a sermon from John Piper. I want us to see how Paul says we are to live “worthily of the Gospel.” Look for these words: standing, striving, fearless.
Read Philippians 1:27-30 (esp. v.28-29)
How to Live Worthily of the Gospel Verses 27–28a: Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents.
In that sentence Paul tells us three marks of living worthily of the gospel:
1. Verse 27: standing firm in one spirit, “Let you manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that … I may hear you stand firm in one spirit …”
2. Verse 27 (the next phrase): striving for the faith of the gospel, “… with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel …”
3. Verse 28: fearlessness in the presence of the enemies, “… not frightened in anything by your opponents …”
How could we put these three marks of living worthily of the gospel into a unified statement? I would say: we are living worthy of the gospel when we are striving for the faith of the gospel with fearlessness and unity. Or: the mark of living worthily of the gospel is a unified, fearless striving for the faith of the gospel.
The word Paul uses for “strive” is sunathleo. You can hear the word athleo in there, from which we get our word athlete. It’s the word used in 2 Timothy 2:5 where Paul says, “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” It’s also used in Philippians 4:3 where Paul tries to get Euodia and Syntyche to be reconciled with each other after their dispute, “I ask you, true yokefellow, help these women, for they have labored side by side with me [that’s the same word] in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
So in its three uses the word is translated “strive,” “labor,” and “compete.” It has in it the effort and discipline and endurance of athletic endeavor. Which I take to mean, then, that one essential way to walk worthy of the gospel is fix your eyes on the goal of spreading the faith of the gospel, and then apply the effort and discipline and endurance of an athlete to reaching that goal.
Questions to Ponder: What might it look like for a church to live this way in their community? Take a few minutes to prayerfully consider how God might be calling you to “stand firm in one spirit with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, not frightened in anything by your opponents”?
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.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)