Daily Devotion for January 13, 2017
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Gordon Mote, who was born blind, gives thanks for his blessings. With Jason Crabb.
Light My Path
I come to you, my God, asking that your Spirit guide me in prayer. Lead me to complete devotion in my moments spent with you, Lord, for your Son has told us to come to you and I want to do so, not halfway, but with my full heart.
I know from Him that prayer is for the good of all. For you, because it is your commandment; for myself, because you love me as no other and want to fill me with goodness; for other people, for I want to love them in ways that are not in my nature and can only do if your power shines fully through my existence.
You have sent us your Holy Spirit; let me know Him in all times and in all places and in every cell of my being. When I am confused, the Spirit will bring me wisdom; when I am angry, peace; when I am afraid, comfort. When I have puffed myself up with pride, the Spirit will gently dissolve my self-deception, so that fear and greed and foolishness will melt away and I will know you, and the security and peace of the only truth on earth: the love of Christ. Let this be, Lord, I pray. Light my path.
Prayer for the Holy Spirit's Guidance
Send your Holy Spirit to deepen my worship life.
Open my heart to the gifts and cultures which surround my church.
Open my heart to the people who are different from me.
In Jesus' name, I pray.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions today, and always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
What Will We End Up With?
Galatians 5:22-23 (Daily Prayer Bible)
Fruits of the Spirit - Generosity (Galatians #81)
22-23 The Spirit, on the other hand, produces fruit: . . . unselfishness . . . . In this, the Law and the Spirit agree, because the Law does not forbid such things.
About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.
It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.
The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible..
Notes on the Scripture
Today’s fruit of the spirit is usually translated “goodness,” because the Greek word comes from the stem meaning “good.” But although this is an obvious translation, it is not very accurate. Certainly “goodness” must be a fruit of the spirit, something that grows and increases in us as we live in the Spirit more fully; however, it simply isn't the best translation of what Paul meant here.
“Generosity” would be closer — and more specific — than “goodness,” but it is not terribly accurate either. The closest approximation to what a Greek reader would have understood, here, is “a positive moral quality characterized especially by the interest in the welfare of others.” So, what differentiates this fruit of the spirit from others is that it emphasizes a person’s decreasing concentration on his own welfare, and his increasing concentration of the welfare of others.
We are obsessed with our own welfare. By nature, it is 100%. We naturally act almost absolutely for our own benefit. Even a mother sacrificing her life for a child might be seen as genetic self-preservation. The very root of hypocrisy is to use the appearance of unselfishness for the purpose of bolstering our own reputation, gaining political power over a group, etc.
ne of the most salient differences between Christ and the Jewish authorities (Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, etc.) — and really, the difference between Christianity and the Judaism of the day — is that Christ taught the importance of motive, as opposed to the Hebrews’ focus on outward conduct. The Sermon on the Mount is full of examples; one could say that the primary theme of Matthew 5-7 is that outward conformance with moral laws is insufficient for salvation.
[Jesus] said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And [Jesus] said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:26-28)
So this is what Paul is echoing in Galatians 5: Christ’s commandment that we love our neighbor as ourselves. Specific corollaries of the virtue have ingrained themselves in our society. Some non-Christians certainly give enormous amounts of time and money to the good of others.
But Christ is more concerned about the change in our individual hearts than in public charity. It is not so much the physical welfare of the recipient of charity that Christianity treats, as the spiritual welfare of the giver. And we see, in this difference, the chasm between Communism — which is aggressively atheistic but claims the good of the poor as its primary virtue — and Christianity.
In practical terms, if you look at any atheistic socialist government, the dynamic increasingly becomes more one of the poor demanding more money for themselves. The unselfishness of heart, which is Paul’s aim in today’s passage, tends to shrink. One would be hard-pressed to find a nation of more utterly self-interested people than the former U.S.S.R.
Let us all conform our hearts to Paul’s message. Christ suffered torture and death for other people; and not necessarily what we would call good people! He had no self-interest in His terrible and painful ordeal. It was love, and specifically an attitude of complete unselfishness, that He demonstrated. Not only was this a sacrifice necessary for our salvation; it was also a demonstration, a model for how our own hearts should be reformed by faith, in spirit.