Friday, January 5, 2024

Devotion isn't a Resolution

Devotion isn't a Resolution 
by David Brenneman 

Is Jesus the Leader of your life?
Are you a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ?  
Is growing in popularity more important to you than growing in Christ? 
Are you one of those New Year's resolution makers who dump them a few days or weeks into the new year because you failed at them?

Why not return to your commitment instead?   Your commitment to following Jesus is to be far and away more important than yourself.  Deny yourself, take up your own cross each day and follow Me.  Extremely little confusion there on what that can and does mean.

How much time do you put into recreation that honestly belongs to Jesus that should return to Jesus?  There's a time and place for recreation, but all too often we go overboard and do not consider it as such. 

Are you at all trying to grow in Christ?  It's not that complicated a question. 

Are you storing up treasure in Heaven?  What treasure gets stored in Heaven?  People.  The first life we impact is our own for Christ, the second is family and friends, third being everyone else.   These are the treasures of Heaven.  People are the only creatures from this world that enter into Heaven. Spirit beings after we die either as believers go to Heaven immediately or as unbelievers who go to Hell immediately.  There are no store rooms in Heaven for earthly wares.  No closets of favorite clothes.  No garages for favorite cars.

Our impact on ourselves and others for Christ are what we give an account of before Jesus.  

If you place anything of this world higher than your relationship with will be removed.   The Bible says that He is a jealous God.  One of His names is Jealous.  Adam and Eve had an unhindered, unobstructed, relationship with Jesus before the fall.  That short period of time was the only time a taste of Heaven appeared on Earth.  No shame, no wrath, was ever on the table.  No committed sins ever needing atonement.  Pure, unobstructed, joy and peace between God and Man.

Your relationship with Jesus should be growing.  You should be always more interested in what Jesus has to say, and has for you to do, than your own self interests.  

Personally, I am at a place in my life where I have lost track of how many times I have read through my Bible.  I can't seem to memorize Scripture, but I still keep at reading it.  When needed, somehow the Spirit brings it to mind. Reputable men of God should be of great importance to us.  
They certainly are to me.  My local Pastor is one, several others are as well.  

Jesus does have a great plan for each and every single Believer.   The temptation is to rewrite the play book after He’s only shown us what we need to know in this moment.  Jesus isn't going to show you your entire life ahead of time because, quite frankly, you can't handle the truth.  You're not ready, not able, not mature enough, to handle it yet.  It's not your physical age that's the issue, it's where you are spiritually.  Your stage of spiritual growth. 

Devoted followers of Christ are simply intentional about the things that the Spirit says are important.  Being devoted to Jesus is going to have highs and lows. Going to have peaks and valleys. Going to have joyous times and times that are indeed the valley of the shadow of death to us.  The point being He leads, we follow.  Our hand is in His, not His hand in ours. 

So you fell down in your attempt at devotion to Jesus.  Ask for His forgiveness, He will set you back on your feet, clean you up, and you're back on your way with Jesus again.  It happens. We read of Paul talking about his struggles with his sin nature.  Paul, Peter, all the Apostles had daily struggles with temptation and sin.  We're certainly in good company. 

Start small, but stay committed to reading your Bible.  It's God's love letters to you.  We know enough about love letters from those we care about to take in everything about them.  We do so because it's important to the relationship. 

Help books, online or in person sermons, are absolutely no replacement for your Bible.  It won't matter if you've read hundreds in your lifetime, what WILL matter is if you have read the only one Jesus left for you to read and were being resolute in trying to follow it.

365 day Bible plans are everywhere.  None are cumbersome.  All give you an amount to read each day.  Your Bible is the only book you will ever read where the Author is always present when you read it. So ask questions.  He loves it when we do. 

Take whatever is in the way of you following Jesus as you should and cast it aside before it's taken from your life.  The One who lived and died for you ought to always be more important than any person, place or thing.

Don't get discouraged by your view of life.  Jesus sees the whole picture of you, not just the view you have now.  He’s got much better plans for you than your mind can handle.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

It's time...

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

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