Devotional for February 10, 2021

Greetings in Christ,

  We all like consistency in our lives.  The problem with being consistent it eventually becomes something automatic or reoccurring which becomes a routine done without any thought involved in the process.  We all have done it at some time in our lives and do it almost every day.  It may be something simple as locking a door before we go to bed.  We get comfortable in the bed and our mind begins to think did we lock the door.  We get up to check the door only to find we actually locked the door.  We have locked the door on an automatic process which we do on a consistent basis without a thought process to trigger our mind we actually did lock the door.

  We get caught up doing things repeatedly every day in our lives without really thinking about it.  It is who we are as humans, but somewhere in our minds we have the idea we will get different results.  Perhaps we believe if we keep doing the same thing over and over we will achieve better results because we can improve our actions with repetition.  We apply this to our spiritual lives as we set ourselves into a pattern of doing our devotions, praying, or going to church.  We think if we read our Bible more, pray longer, or attend church more it will make us better people spiritually.  The sad part is it does not change the results.

  It is like planting a tomato plant in the garden.  We can dig in the ground and plant the tomato plant.  We can water it, fertilize it, and make sure it has plenty of sun light, but it may not be the healthiest plant as it grows.  On the other hand, if we plant the tomato plant, water it, fertilize it, and make sure it has sunlight, but drive a stake in the ground and support it as it grows it may grow better.  We can take it one step further by pruning the suckers off the plant to ensure it will not grow to be all plant, but rather produce more fruit so we will have a better tomato plant.  By staking the tomato plant we get it off the ground and reduce the chances of disease to affect the plant.  We prune the suckers by eliminating unneeded growth so the plant will produce more fruit.  We could plant the tomato plant and expect different results every year we plant the tomato plant, but if we desire better results we have to do something different to get more fruit from the plant.

  We have a tendency to get caught up in being consistent in our spiritual life.  We are doing things the same way every day expecting different results.  We need to change up our method in order to get different results.  Sometimes God wants to stake us up, and prune our suckers in order for us to produce more fruit.  Do we listen to His desires and let Him work in our lives?

  “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”  Hebrews 12:1-6

  Those who have gone before us have set the course, but also allowed God to guide them in their journey.  They have allowed God to stand them up and prune away unneeded growth in their lives so they can produce the fruit He needed them to produce, but they were not the only ones who wanted different results.  God changed His method of approach as well.

  “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.  For I will not contend forever, nor will I be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before Me, and the breath of those whom I have made.  Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, and he went on turning away, in the way of his heart.  I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, creating the praise of the lips.”  Isaiah 57:15-19

  We can do the same thing over and over, but if we want different results we need to do something different.  We need something to change in our spiritual growth.  God can change things up for us, and it is His desire for us to want growth in our spiritual lives, but we must allow things to change to get different results.  God proved this by changing His method of approach to His creation.  Are we willing to change our approach in reaching out to Him?

  “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”  Psalm 34:1-3

  “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!  O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want.  The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.  Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Who is the man who desires life and loves length of days that he may see good?  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”  Psalm 34:8-14

  “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.  Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.  For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.  Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.”  Psalm 96:1-6

  Lord may we desire You to keep things fresh and anew in our spiritual lives.  May we allow You to prune us so we can produce fruit for You.  Amen

  Blessings,

  Mark Johnson
  Psalm 34, 93, 96; Isaiah 57:14-21; Hebrews 12:1-6; John 7:37-46

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