Today's Lectionary Text
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
Jesus was able to be the once-and-for-all sacrifice for everybody's sins because He lived a sinless life. We hear a lot about how Christians are to live righteously, read Scripture, pray frequently, and avoid sin. These things have their uses but let us never forget the work that God does to change us as we continue to interact with God. It is God who grows wisdom in us, so that we can avoid situations in which we feel a need to sin (James 1:5-6). It is God that grows compassion, peace and love into our characters which repel the power of temptation to sin. If we do face temptation, God makes a way to avoid sinning (1 Cor 10:13). Salvation, conviction, and spiritual growth are God's jobs. Our job is to keep interacting with God, listening to God, trusting God, and obeying God.
The whole point of the cross was to restore relationship between God and each of us. We can fearfully wear ourselves out trying to figure out ways to always do the right thing on top of our other responsibilities; but what God deeply desires is that we seek fellowship with God. God enjoys it when we do! We do not grow the fruit of the Spirit in ourselves by our efforts. God grows the fruit naturally as we interact with God and God works in our lives. First and foremost, interact with God every moment of every day as much as you can.
Certified Lay Servant
Elkhorn Hills UMC
Prayer for Reflection
"Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude 24-25).
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