Monday, September 14, 2009

Devotions - First Love

Good morning my friends. I pray you had an incredible day of worship yesterday, that your batteries were charged, your wounds healed, and you are set for another week of service. We serve an awesome God. We are moving on to Galatians 3.

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. v. 1

As in so many cases the Galatians started well but now their ending was in jeopardy. As was the case in most of Paul's service, the circumcision group had followed him into Galatia and was working to undo everything that Paul had done. The Galatians had begun well with the truth but were now being convinced of the need to follow the law.

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? vs. 2-3

I don't like being negative in our devotions but I find this to be an ongoing problem in the present day Church as well. We start off well, learning to live in the Spirit, praising the Lord for his grace and the faith he has lent us. Yet, somewhere along the journey we start slipping back into a reliance on living a good life and doing good deeds. It is no longer so much about what Jesus has done for us but about what we are doing for Jesus.

Maybe it is the strain of being a new creation in a fallen world? It can be hard to be surrounded by one perspective while living in another. Where the world is reliant on money we lean heavily on our Lord. Where people work hard to find solutions for themselves we turn to prayer. While people light candles, chant mantras, complete so many hours of service, climb stairs on their knees and a huge list of many other things, we trust in the actions of a man from 2000 years ago. Mind you, not just any man; the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is not good enough to start well, we have to finish strong as well:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. Acts 20:24

We grow weak for a few different reasons. First we allow our passion for Jesus to weaken by neglecting our study of the Word, neglecting prayer and neglecting worship. These things must be done daily to remain fresh in the Spirit every day. This is fellowship with the Spirit. The second thing is neglect of fellowship with believers. We cut ourselves off from the Body or we spend less and less time with other believers. We do not receive encouragement from our brothers and sisters and the walk becomes harder as we feel the pull of the world's system of belief. For some reason it easier for us to live with the burden of "works" than to live in the freedom of the Spirit. There is also the neglect of service. We have been left here because there is work to be done and that work is to be used for the purpose of God. If we are not living in our purpose then we bring confusion to our spirit.

So, in all honesty, where are you in this? After starting well have you continued growing in your relationship with Jesus? Are you just as passionate as the first day you met him? Are you serving strong or are you just getting by? Have you left the Spirit behind and continued with empty actions? Then my friends, repent. Turn back from that direction and face the Lord. It is not too late to finish as strong as you began. Find your passion again. Re-discover the wonder of his grace. Be filled again by the power of the Spirit. Turn back, seek forgiveness, receive his joy, and serve.

If you are still serving, still rejoicing, still passionate about Jesus, still passionate about souls, make sure you do not neglect the fellowship of the Spirit, fellowship with believers and your service in the Lord. Stay strong in these things and you will finish the race strong.

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