Daily Devotion for May 14, 2021
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.
Secret Garden, a Norwegian Christian group, is not as well known as they deserve; they wrote and first performed both this song and You Raise Me Up, Josh Groban’s great hit.
Prayer for Patience to Follow Christ
Heavenly Father, grant me the patience today to follow the road you have set out for me, fully trusting in your will. Let my confidence not rest in my own understanding, but in your guiding hand; let my desires not be for my own comfort or pride, but for the joy of your kingdom. For your cross is our hope and our joy, now and unto the day of eternity.
Prayer to the King
Lord Christ, you are my King and I have no other. I will follow the laws of men, where I can do so without offending Your holy ordinances and teachings, for your Bible has taught us to obey the civil authorities. I will pay my taxes and I will render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but they do not have my heart and they do not have my soul. For my King does not sit in a palace of stone; my King does not wear robes trimmed with fur. My King does not make promises he cannot keep. My King cannot be corrupted, will never shame me, will never make excuses. My King will never cover-up his wrongdoing, because my King commits no wrong, hates no man, and would give up His very life for me.
For my King is Jesus Christ the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth, clothed in righteousness, crowned by truth and seated on a throne of eternal glory! And to You and You alone I swear my allegiance, my faith, my hope, my life and my soul, today and as long as I live,
“There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the Sibylline Books. That long dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind.”
~ Winston Churchill
Oh Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your apostles, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you”; I pray that I and your whole church, the body of all faithful people, will know your peace, and live in harmony and unity, one with another, in accordance with your wishes. This I pray to you, who lives and reigns forever.
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.
What Will We End Up With?
Galatians 5:22-23 (Daily Prayer Bible)
Fruits of the Spirit - Generosity (Galatians #84)
22-23 The Spirit, on the other hand, produces fruit: . . . generosity . . . . In this, the Law and the Spirit agree, because the Law does not forbid such things.
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.
One 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.