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
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Pet. 1:3)
Prayer of Confession
Lord God, I pray that my capacity to know and experience life might be magnified in Christ. By your grace set the eyes of my heart on Jesus, giving me a widened imagination to see everything from your perspective, to live in faith, and to love my Savior. Amen. (Pray based on Canons of Dort, Questions 3/4.13)
*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
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).
Pray Psalm 51| Read 1 Corinthians 7
- 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: “Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is a classic of pastoral response: affectionate, firm, clear, and unswerving in the conviction that God among them, revealed in Jesus and present in his Holy Spirit, continued to be the central issue in their lives, regardless of how much of a mess they had made of things.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 52 | Read 2 Chronicles 29
- OT Context: “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines…This story makes it clear that it was not God’s idea that the Hebrews have a king, but since they insisted, he let them have their way. But God never abdicated his sovereignty to any of the Hebrew kings; the idea was that they would represent his sovereignty, not that he would delegate his sovereignty to them. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
We are in our Spring series in Romans 8. Each day we will dig into a different aspect of this incomparable chapter and see how it alters the way we live “in Christ!”
Read: Romans 8:5-11
Yesterday, we made some observations about our passage. What stood out to you? What questions did you have?
Here’s what I noticed: The word live.
“…those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…”
“…those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit…”
It’s a perfect parallel. Two kinds of living producing two distinct ends: death or life and peace. Paul is clearly not mincing words. Minding the things of the flesh, or minding the things of the Spirit is a life or death choice.
But what does it mean to “mind the things of the Spirit”? It cannot be a technique of some sort where we can employ to work ourselves into a specific spiritual state to be “receptive” to the things of God, or anything like that. If it were, then we’re talking about something that we can control, a way to have God at our beck and call, like a divine butler of sorts.
No, as Tim Keller puts it, “You can’t just pick up the Holy Spirit like a scissors or like a screwdriver and start to use the Holy Spirit.”
Instead what Paul is saying is this: What you set your mind to is the thing which has captured your imagination, it’s what preoccupies you, the thing you obsess about, it is that thing which your mind turns to when you daydream. In a way whatever most fills your mind is that thing to which you are actually religiously devoted. Put one final way: whatever you’ve set your mind to is the thing you are actually living for.
Paul is saying that you can either try to make yourself alive (self-actualize, as they used to say), or you can be made alive by someone outside yourself. The problem with trying to make yourself alive, as Paul has said again and again leading up to this passage is that, well, we simply don’t have the voltage in whatever we’re using to spiritual defibrillate us (money, status, success, admiration, you name it).
To extend the metaphor a bit further, even when we are all charged up by, say, getting what we most desire, it’s never enough to make us fully alive. Sure we might get what feels like a few beats out of our old, dead hearts, there’s no animating power. We lack the ability to bring ourselves back from spiritual death. Which is why Paul says that living according to the flesh is death.
Ah, but those who have been made alive by the Spirit of God. Now there’s a different story. They experience life and peace. And we’ll spend the rest of the week looking into the wonders of what it means to be made alive by the Spirit!
REFLECT: What things do you use to try to make yourself feel alive? How does that compare to the life and peace that come in the gospel?
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.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)