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
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:8-10)
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 (and the whole letter if you have about 14 minutes)
What does it mean to be mature?What image comes to mind? Keep that question in mind as your read Philippians 3:15-21 today.
Here’s a little help.The word here for “mature” is teleioi. It has the idea of having grown into the fullness of being who God made you to be, of wanting everything that God has for you. Picture that. Maybe it’s a series of images piecing together a life from first toddling steps to riding a bike to striding across a graduation stage and into a career, a family, a life. Maybe we would summarize it as “stepping into all of who God made you to be, and delighting in it.” So our first image might be a foot stepping forward into the life and onto the path God has stretched out for you.
Here’s something else to know. Paul uses a bit of a play on words to parallel those who are mature and stepping into their life in Christ (v.15) and those who “walk as enemies of the cross of Christ” (v.18) whose “destiny (telos) is destruction” (v.19). So there is a telos (end, or destiny) for those maturing in Christ and a telos for those who step away from all of who God made them to be.
Our image of maturity is expanded. It turns out that you can have steps and missteps in this journey. There are good paths and dead-end streets. Things to hold onto for dear life, and things to let fall from your grip lest they drag you under.
But there’s one more telos in store for us as we read our passage this week. We might read past it but it’s there. There is a telos, or destiny for “our lowly bodies” and for “all things” (v.21), and it is simply this: our bodies and all things will be “transformed” (v. 21).
So what does it mean to be mature? Putting all of these things together, it means, at the very least, that “straining toward the goal” of living a life worthy of the gospel is a matter of being attentive to where you are planting your feet and which direction they are leading you.
Questions to Ponder: `Are you headed into what God says is good for you, or toward what he says will unravel and destroy you? Are you stumbling down dead-end alleys, or striding along narrow but sure paths? Your answers to these questions will reveal where you are on the journey. Take note. Take courage, and step forward onto God’s highway.
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.
“Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8:33-34)