Daily Devotion for September 24, 2010
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.
To Know God
O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.
For Strength and Peace
O Thou who art my quietness, my deep repose,
My rest from strife of tongues, my holy hill,
Fair is Thy pavilion, where I hold me still.
Back let them fall from me, my clamorous foes,
From crowding things of sense I flee, in Thee I hide.
Until this tyranny be overpast,
Thy hand will hold me fast;
What though the tumult of the storm increase,
Grant to Thy servant strength, O Lord, and bless with peace.
All through this day, O Lord, by the power of your quickening Spirit, let me touch the lives of others for good, whether through the word I speak, the prayer I speak, or the life I live.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question
In what verse do we find the famous quote, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”?
1 John 2:16 (ESV)
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Romans 2:17-24 (ESV)
ut if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?
While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Notes on the Scripture
Well this is easy enough to understand! Substitute “Christ” for “God” and “Christian” for “Jew,” and this could be a lecture to all who call themselves Christian in the world today. When you hear Christ defamed, it is usually based on the hypocrisy of people calling themselves Christians.
We certainly do not want to cause Christ’s name to be blasphemed; and yet, none of us is perfect. If we identify ourselves as Christians, we run the risk of blasphemy, because others might discover we do not fully keep the commandments we espouse. And yet, Christ told us not to hide our light under a basket, but to put it on a stand. That is, to show His light forth to the world. What are we to do?
First and foremost, we must develop and deepen our own faith on a daily basis. As we saw in Romans 1, sin is punishment for lack of faith. Temptation to sin is terribly strong, but there is no temptation so great that faith cannot overcome it. As our faith deepens, our ability to resist temptation grows stronger.
One mistake many people make, who hold themselves to high standards but fall short, is trying to hide their mistakes. Forgiveness comes only through confession. Trying to cover up sin while espousing Christian principles—intentional hypocrisy—has damaged the name of Christ as much as the sin itself. To cover up sin is to seek the glory of men, not the glory of God. We do it only so that others will think better of us. When we hide our misdeeds, we show that we fear the judgment of men more than the judgment of God.
Christ told us in Matthew 5 to be reconciled with our brother before we come to His altar. But how can we be reconciled to our brother, when we have sinned against him and hidden it?
And what if we are the only victim of our sin? What if we have been looking at pornography, or have been filled with jealousy and anger because our friend has been bragging about her expensive new house, or constantly judge and curse other drivers when we are in traffic?
Often the hardest part of being forgiven for sin is admitting it to ourselves. Rationalization of our conduct is a talent we learn early and practice often. We blame the near-naked woman for our lust, our boasting neighbor for our jealousy, the guy who cut us off in traffic for our anger. We say, “everybody does it.” We tell ourselves, “I am a Christian but I have to live in the real world.”
So, certainly, the first step to avoiding hypocrisy is to examine our conduct every day and to admit our fault to ourselves and God. We will be freely forgiven, so why not?