Part of our identity as believers of Jesus Christ is good works. Doing good works on our own is exhausting and frankly, not possible for long. God gives us the means to “abound in every good work.” That is only possible through His grace. As I study God’s Word and seek to live it, I learn more about how God’s grace works. This is a life long pursuit.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to focus on Your grace. I want to live the sufficiency that brings. Thank You for providing.
We can get so caught up in our own identity, that we miss a better option. This passage talks about circumcision which was a big deal to the Jews in Bible times. They were more interested in the fact of their circumcision than in the cross of Christ which made circumcision unnecessary.
Today, the variety of choices for identity are overwhelming. That is why we need to narrow our choices down by looking at what the Bible says. We can rejoice in what God has done as we read and understand God’s Word. A better identity is waiting. Let’s pursue it together.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for providing a better identity through Jesus’ death on the cross. Thank You for providing a way to that identity through the instruction in the Bible. Please help us to pursue it.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
I love this passage of Scripture. It reminds children of God that we have confidence in going to our Heavenly Father. Verse 23 is my favorite part – I need to hold fast and God is faithful. I know there are many times I don’t feel as though I can hold without wavering. Yet my loving, heavenly Father is faithful – unwavering.
One help God has provided is other believers. Verses 24-25 tell us what we are to do for each other. God knows we cannot be faithful without other believers. We need to be a network of strength for each other. The end of verse 25 tells us that we need to encourage one another more as time goes on. We need to read and study God’s Word and encourage each other with what we have learned. The more difficult life gets, the more we need to band together – holding each other up.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for giving us instruction in Your Word. Please help us to hold fast and encourage each other to do the same. Please draw us nearer to You each day.
Our hearts are considered the seat of our emotions, intellect and will. Proverbs tells us to “keep our heart with all vigilance”. Emotions are powerful and can lead us astray without proper use of the intellect and will. Our society pushes allowing our emotions to lead. God knew this would happen and gave us guidance in His Word. The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom to help us lead our emotions appropriately.
Managing our emotions is challenging, but a worthwhile pursuit. Living the way God tells us is always worth the effort.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wisdom You give. Please guide us to be vigilant with our hearts. We need Your help to direct our emotions, intellect and will towards Your ways.
Our anxieties are often a part of our identity. We can feel humiliated by them. However, 1 Peter 5:6-7 tells us that we need to “humble ourselves” and “cast our anxieties on God”. According to Thomas Constable, Peter is encouraging the believers to submit to God’s hand in their suffering. God uses difficulties to perfect us.
In the United States, we don’t experience suffering the way New Testament believers did under Nero. Stories of what Nero did to Christians are terrible. While we don’t face extreme persecution, we still have troubles in life. This passage applies to us today just as much as in Peter’s day.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cast our anxieties on You. We need Your care in trials. Please help us to humble ourselves under Your power until “the proper time.” We need You now.