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.
High and powerful God,
every day I fall short of living up to your law.
Why do I so easily fall into temptation and live in reckless disobedience?
I’m weak, God, and I need Jesus. 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).
Pray Psalm 30 | Read 2 Corinthians 12
- 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 Second Letter to the Corinthians was written during a difficult period in his relation with the church at Corinth. Some members of the church had evidently made strong attacks against Paul, but he shows his deep longing for reconciliation and expresses his great joy when this is brought about.” Meditate on the passage, noting a few words or a phrase that stood out. Take them to God in prayer.
Pray Psalm 31 | Read Deuteronomy 9
- OT Context: “The book of Deuteronomy is organized as a series of addresses given by Moses to the people of Israel in the land of Moab, where they had stopped at the end of the long wilderness journey and were about to enter and occupy Canaan…The great theme of the book is that God has saved and blessed his chosen people, whom he loves; so his people are to remember this, and love and obey him, so that they may have life and continued blessing. The key verses of the book are 6:4–6, and contain the words that Jesus called the greatest of all commandments, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?
Each day this devo will tread along a variety of paths connected to the week’s theme in Knowing God. Consider this your invitation to come along for the ride as we head into the wilds of coming to know and experience God’s person and grace.
Read: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Yesterday we discovered something that you can build a life upon: namely, the covenant love that is at the heart of how God is able to be rightly jealous for us as his people. “He is our God,” as the Psalm puts it, “and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep of his care” (Ps. 95:7). We belong to him. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Speaking of belonging, our “belonging to God” is actually one of the first things Christians come to discover in their faith. It is, in fact, what the first question of the New City Catechism* is all about!
It asks: “What is our only hope in life and death?”
The response, as you’ve now guess, is that we belong to him. But not only that, “we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 6:19-20; Rom. 14:7-9; 1 Cor. 3:23).
God’s covenant love means that he has a claim upon us. Tim Keller puts it this way,
“God sent his Son to save us by grace and to adopt us into his family. So now, because of that grace, in our gratitude, we want to resemble our Father. We want the family resemblance. We want to look like our Savior. We want to please our Father.”
Think of it this way: If God is our heavenly Father, then it wouldn’t be right for us to look for fatherly direction from anyone else, right? Jesus warns about this in John 8:39-47, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here…Why can’t you understand a word I say? Here’s why: you can’t handle it. You’re from your father, the Devil, and all you want to do is please him.”
It’s more than just a sick burn. Jesus is saying is that if you love taking spiritual direction from anyone but your heavenly Father, then you’re probably part of a of a different, more Slytherin-like, fork-tongued spiritual family.
As God’s children, we no longer live to please ourselves. We give up our right to be self-sufficient people (not that we ever were outside of our own minds) and rely wholly on God’s Word to direct us in what pleases God and loves our neighbor.
And to be blunt, if God is jealous for us, for our loving obedience of him, then it’s because he knows what’s best for us, what will truly heal us, and make us into the people he created us to be. Tim Keller summarizes it well,
“How can you come to grips with someone who has given himself utterly for you without you giving yourself utterly for him? Jesus gave himself wholly for us. So now, we must give ourselves wholly to him.” It’s simply what a true encounter with God’s covenant love creates.
Reflect: When do you find it easy to “belong to God”? When is it most difficult?
*Catechism (in a nut shell) = a short Q&A summary of the main things Christians believe.
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)