by: Micki Gowdy
Take 10 @ 10:00: Our Friday devotional.
The last couple of weeks we focused on God's grace and the means of grace (practices that bring us closer to God). Today our topic for discussion is transforming our lives. We are called to makes disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Before we can transform the world, though, we must first transform ourselves.
Transformation begins by understanding that God has a plan for your life, and that plan calls for you to grow up. When I say that, I am not talking about getting older, getting married, having children, buying a first car or house, or any of those types of things. I mean we are to grow up or mature spiritually. Spiritual maturity is about one's heart being transformed to become more and more like Jesus. Jesus is our model - and we should want to be come more like him. What does that look like? Look up Matthew 22:37-40; Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18. Mature Christians love God so completely and love their neighbors as themselves so fully that everything they think, say, and do is motivated by love.
1. I invite you to begin this devotional by listening to a favorite hymn that reminds you of Jesus' love and the love we are to have for others. Here is my suggestion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDKfPgJNCP0.
2. Read these two Bible passages: Romans 12:9-18 and Galatians 5:16-26.
3. In Romans 12, Paul instructs Christians to live in a completely loving, selfless, and humble way. Do you believe it is possible to live this way? How do we get to this level? How would you? Paul's instructions include several examples of showing love toward those we many not be inclined to love: strangers, people who harass us, people who have "no status." Who are these people today and how can we/you show love to them?
4. Paul's list of "selfish desires" in Galatians 5 include some that not probably not temptations for you, but others may be. Which vices seem most prevalent in our culture today? Which are realistic challenges for you?
5. Think about the "fruit of the Spirit" as outlined in Gal. 5:22-23. How do you think cultivation of these "fruits" can help in overcoming whatever temptation you are dealing with right now? How can cultivation of these "fruits" mature your spiritual life? Which need the most cultivating?
Transformation of the heart seems useless if not directed outward to fulfill a purpose. Next week we will continue looking at transformation. Have a wonderful week and God bless!
(These devotionals are adapted from The Wesleyan Way: A Life that Matters, written by UMC Bishop Scott Jones).