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

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Prayer of Confession

God of grace, the gospel is like a key that opens up all of heaven and unlocks dead-bolted human hearts. As you send your church to declare the good news, remind us that we carry a key and not a hammer; convince us that the gentle gospel promises fit the contours of human life, opening minds to know and receive the forgiveness of sins through what Jesus has done. Today, unbolt my heart to accept the grace of Jesus. Amen. (Prayer based on the Heidelberg Catechism, Question 84)

*Prayer borrowed from Philip Reinders’ Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

Reading Plan

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).

Morning Readings:

Pray Psalm 73 | Read 2 Corinthians 2

  • 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.

Evening Readings:

Pray Psalm 74 | Read Ezra 4

  • OT Context: “Ezra led God’s people into an obedient listening to the text of Scripture. Listening and following God’s revelation are the primary ways in which we keep attentively obedient to the living presence of God among us. Ezra made his mark: Worship and Text continue to be foundational for recovering and maintaining identity as the People of God. Reflect on the passage. Who was the original audience, and what was their situation? How is that relevant to you today?

Sermon Devo

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 8:12-17

Yesterday we saw how Christ rescues us from our dead-end romance with our sin. But Paul’s story about us in Christ isn’t over yet: The flesh continues to pursue us. We continue to experience sinful desires because sin, defeated, dwells in us still. Sin’s siren song echoes within our hearts: “I owe it to myself to be happy…did God really say I need to be miserable in this marriage?…this may cost me my marriage but I’ll finally be free to be who I really am!” This is the lure of being a debtor to the flesh “to live according to the flesh.”

But, Paul says, “if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live!” What is Paul showing us? He’s showing us that our daydreams and what ifs and sinful desires are actually life and death decisions. Our salvation is not contingent upon our ability to kill sin in our lives, but our desire to kill sin in our lives is a good indication of our salvation. 

Our desire to “put to death the deeds of the body” is, yes, a matter of joyful obedience to the one who has set us free, but it is also a matter of spiritual fidelity. The metaphor of marriage as an image of the covenant bond between God and his people pervades Scripture, especially the prophets who continually accused God’s people of spiritual promiscuity (idolatry). The stakes are the same here in Romans.

Living according to the flesh not only produces death through the contraction of spiritually transmitted diseases like anger, envy, pride, and a slew of other forms of spiritual illness. 

If this all seems a bit too graphic of a description of the viral nature of living according to the flesh, take a few minutes to read Hosea where God describes himself as the rightful husband of his people who enjoy their dalliances with other deities. But there in Hosea we find the same gospel hope as we’ve seen in Romans. Hosea goes out and redeems his wife from the red district just as God redeem us in Christ out of “living according to the flesh.” 

This is what Paul means when he says that we are debtors who must “put to death” sin in our lives. We’re like Hosea’s wife Gomer: in Christ we are rescued out of our spiritual adultery, brought back to our senses and our first love, and called to live faithfully with our God. We owe him a debt of gratitude. But it’s not a debt we are meant to pay off. It’s a gift so immense, so lavish that we are to delight in the simple, mind-blowing reality that we are loved so extravagantly, so prodigally (to quote a Tim Keller book title) by the Lover of our souls. 

REFLECT: Tomorrow we will look at how God takes us from being orphans to children of the living God, but for now let’s remain in wonder at God’s steadfast love for us. Ask God to help you to see the fullness of his prodigal mercy and love for you. 

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.

Benediction

“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (Ephesians 6:24)

© 2014 - OPC|Milford