WRITING A DEVOTIONAL
WRITING A DEVOTIONAL
Back in 2003 after having spent the year before reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance" I took her suggestion to heart and wrote my own daily devotional. Each day I took a line or two from one of the various spiritual authors from the last three centuries I was reading and wrote my own thoughts on the subject. I then looked for a scripture that illustrated the truth that had been revealed to me. What follows is the result.
"Our greatest bondage is to have our own way; our greatest freedom is to let God have His way." Warren Wiersbe
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
“You may be broken now because something in life has passed you by. If so, let your ‘ointment of spikenard very precious” be spilled on Jesus as a love-offering.” Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 8/28
Eugenia is talking about the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. In order to do this she had to break the alabaster box. This is the brokenness that allows the ointment to come forth. But in order for our tears to become a love offering we have to get up close to Jesus. This is the only way our suffering can be used by God. I see the woman’s tears as something she “couldn’t help” while using her hair to dry his feet was an act of service on her part. What is even more amazing to me was it came quite naturally. It wasn’t something she had planned out. She never could have foreseen the need to dry his feet because she had not planned her tears. The tears were the response to her brokenness. This is a good picture for me. God is showing me that most of my energy has been used up in my attempt to discern if it's the right thing to do or not! Instead, it is my willingness to be broken that God uses as He sees fit, and once He does, my acts of service come quite naturally. There is no mental burden in doing something that is obvious, if God is in it. I see another lesson in this story that parallels my life. I’ve been cutting my hair shorter and shorter over these hot and humid summer months--and now I have no “hair” with which to dry Jesus’ feet. Not only must we be willing to be broken for Jesus, we must not “cut off” the resources God has given us to serve Him.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
“If we were gifted with eyes that could see the unseen kingdom of evil, I believe we would discover that a terror and faintness have fallen upon all the forces of hell, and that they see, in every man and woman of faith, a sure and triumphant conqueror.” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 8/29
Yes, this would make a difference in my life. I believe I would live a triumphant Christian life. So as I think about it and admit that I don’t live this kind of life I have to ask myself, why? I believe the truth of what Hannah says so why don’t I experience a victorious life? If I were gifted with these special eyes to be able to see the unseen, then certainly any disobedience on my part would be flat out rebellion and therefore evil. But I cannot see with my eyes. However, before I wish for these special eyes I must see something of the utmost importance. In our entertainment world today the film industry is able to deceive us in miraculous ways. Images can be computer-generated that make us think we are seeing the real thing. Even before all this technology film could take us into a make-believe world with a splice here and a splice there. So, just because I might be able to see the unseen kingdom is no guarantee that what I’m seeing is real. Satan is a master of disguises--how could I ever be sure of what I was seeing. I understand why faith is the only answer. My faith in God is what will enable me to see all I need to see. I can put my trust in my faith if it is in God, the creator of all. All I need believe is that God loves me, and I will be able to follow His direction around and through all that terrifies me. But I also see now that part of seeing is first admitting that I am terrified.
“For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15, 16
Monday, August 29, 2011
“As you respond to God’s invitations, don’t be caught by surprise when adversaries try to thwart what you are doing. If you concentrate on your opponents, you will be sidetracked from God’s activity.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 8/28
We could easily read this and think of some great “project” God has called us to. It would be fairly easy to enter into the task with our eyes wide open, on the lookout for any opposition lying in wait to sidetrack us. But what about the little day-to-day things that are taken for granted like “love your neighbor” especially when your closest neighbor is someone right in your household. It is often very easy to make excuses to ourselves why we can’t love the people closest to us. Is this not the greatest activity God has given us? I think back to when my children were very young and often “thwarted” my attempts to be a “good mother”. I’m ashamed to say I did not respond in love. I was often angry. In my mind being a good mother meant making sure my children cooperated so that I could do my job of teaching them all the things they needed to learn while running an efficient household. I feel the greatest thing I can teach them now is that love isn't something you earn. God has shown this kind of love for me by laying down His life for me when I didn't deserve it. He is continually showing me grace despite the fact I continue to fall short daily in loving Him. If I would wake up to this, I know I wouldn’t get sidetracked from God’s greatest activity--sharing His love.
“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God;” 1 John 3:1a
Sunday, August 28, 2011
“Our friend may love us and tell us so and give us continual proof, but unless we believe in their love we shall never really perceive it or possess it. Faith is necessary to the possession of human love, and faith is equally necessary for the possession of divine love.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 8/27
Hannah’s words this morning are showing me just how intrinsic my lack of trust is. Perhaps it is due to the chaotic childhood I had. I could not depend on any of the adults in my life. My father was an alcoholic who would have periods of soberness. My mother gave all her attention to him and my younger brother. Besides all that, we moved often. Except for 10th and 11th grades, I was in a different school every year after fourth grade. It’s obvious I learned early on to depend only on myself. Even though I came to Christ by age eight, I was never discipled and therefore did not understand the role of the Holy Spirit. It was not until I was 28 that I began to become aware of Him in me and found out that He was Who would change me into His likeness—not me. Then I spent the next 20 years learning to give back this control to Him. The last five years have been my rebellion years. I can see I’m making progress! It’s obvious that Self knows its time is nearly up. I feel on the brink of giving my life entirely to God and I’m excited. I just hope it doesn’t take another 20 years to complete it!
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13
Saturday, August 27, 2011
“But faith laughed at all such prudential considerations, and, confidently resting on God’s word, gave a shout of victory, while yet to the eye of sense that victory seemed impossible. Long centuries afterwards the Holy Spirit thus records this triumph of faith in Hebrews: ‘By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they had been encircled for seven days.’” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 8/27
As I read Hannah’s account of the Hebrews’ faith I thought about my porch swing. When we moved into this house 22 years ago it had a front porch slab, but no roof covering it. Because the house faced west the porch was too hot to sit on in the afternoon. It was my hope to one day cover the porch, but because it was shaped like a trapezoid we wondered if that would ever be possible. I knew, however, if we were successful I’d have to have a porch swing just like my grandmother’s house had. So after a few years of struggling to make house payments and no hope of ever being able to pay for a porch roof I gave up on the idea until I saw a porch swing drastically marked down. I immediately bought it and brought it home. Within the year my husband’s sales job produced an unexpected windfall. We found a builder who figured out how to attach a roof to that odd-shaped porch, and we not only built that porch roof but also enlarged a bedroom to accommodate our growing family. As I am reminded this morning of the faith that built that porch roof I realize there are several more “porch swings” waiting for me to go out and “purchase” so that the Lord can fulfill the desires of my heart.
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Friday, August 26, 2011
“Is this not asking too much of us? When our own load is heavy with new sorrow or trouble, can God expect us to ‘bear. . . one another’s burdens’ (Galatians 6:5) and also bear our own too? Wouldn’t it be only fair for us to expect someone else to bear ours as we are expected to bear theirs?” Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 8/26
This demanding of our “rights” begins when we are children. We’ll wail, “It isn’t fair!” when our siblings or friends get to do something and we don’t. In an attempt to avoid argument or to assuage guilty feelings our parents will cave in. Then later in life we will declare it isn’t fair that someone doing the same job is getting paid more. It doesn’t matter to us that they have more experience or may even be a better worker. In our marriages it isn’t “fair” when one person does more than their “share” of the work. And on it goes. Yet, when it comes to God’s salvation, as Eugenia later pointed out, we totally overlook the unfairness of sinless Jesus’ suffering and dying for our sins, and accept it as though it's our right. No wonder so many of us never go on to righteousness. We are still in the business of making sure we are getting what we think is due us. We close our eyes to the needs around us because we are so intent on getting our own needs met. Freedom in Christ is to give up this burden of demanding our rights and all that goes with that. Instead, we are to be carefree in the Lord! And in doing so not only will our eyes be opened but our hearts.
“Take what belongs to you, and go; I choose to give to this last as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” Matthew 20:14, 15
Thursday, August 25, 2011
“Many Christians love God’s will in the abstract but carry great burdens in connection with it. From this there is deliverance in the wonderful life of faith, for in this life no burdens are carried, no anxieties felt. The Lord is our Burden-bearer, and on Him we must lay every care.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 8/25
We must lay every care.....for me this means I must even lay the burden of my continual attempt to lay my burdens at Jesus’ feet! This may sound strange to some of you, but for me it is a real burden. You’d think it would just be a matter of setting something down--but this is a burden in itself if it does not come easily. I guess that is the burden of an overly responsible person. Just when I think I’ve given everything over to the Lord the responsible side of me begins to question my decision with very logical statements. The last thing a responsible person wants to be is irresponsible and how can I be sure that’s not what I’m being if I give the responsibility to someone else! I see now how I’ve been fighting God all along. But now He’s grabbed both my hands, crossing my arms upon my chest, and has spun me around to look fully into His wonderful face, as He hugs me close to Him.
“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
“If we examine the causes of the rebellious and complaining thoughts that sometimes beset us, we will find that they always begin in discouragement. The truth is that discouragement always involves a kind of speaking against God. It implies some sort of failure on his part to act the way we think he should.” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 8/24
I was feeling discouraged today. It seemed to come out of the blue. It was over something that has been a problem for some time but I thought I was dealing with it just fine. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks and it took me hours to regain my composure. Looking back over the days leading up to today I can see some important signs that I ignored--signs that discouragement was lying in wait for me. One was an expectation I had that wasn’t met. I tucked it away rather than giving it to God. Then, because I was on vacation, I got behind on writing these devotionals. I’ve come to depend on them to keep me daily on-course. Writing always helps to solidify what I’m learning better than just thinking about it. But if I really listen to what Hannah is saying I see an underlying belief that is like an undercurrent in my life--always lying in wait to grab me by the ankle and pull me under. An undercurrent that is deadly. She says that my discouragement is really all about the fact that I believe that God has failed to do not only what I want but also what I think He should do. Lord, I confess this desire of mine to call the shots in my life. May my heart be humbled in reverence to Your almightiness.
“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the LORD, but this is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
“If I recognize myself as a sinner, how can I not be discouraged? To this I answer that the Holy Spirit does not convict us of sin in order to discourage us, but to encourage us. His work is to show us our sin, not that we may lie down in despair under its power, but that we may get rid of it.” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 8/23
Hannah likens it to a good mother who points out the faults of her children so that they can correct them. Today, according to my children, this is lecturing and somewhere along the way lecturing came to be a bad thing. This I do not understand because I’ve always wanted to correct my faults before anyone else noticed them! Perhaps this is what my children are telling me--they don’t like for their faults to be noticed. I could agree with this if I felt they were planning to do something about these faults, but they don’t give me this impression. Instead, it seems they just don’t like their faults being brought to THEIR attention. But, if I’m to be honest, I must admit I’m guilty of the same thing when it comes to God. How often do I end up suffering consequences of my faulty thinking or actions before I finally make the connection? God has pointed out all my faults to me in His word if I would just read it with that in mind. If instead of saying to myself, “Boy, I’m glad I’m not like THAT sinner,” I were to ask God to show me my sins, I’m sure more of my faults would be uncovered. Then rather than become discouraged, I should be encouraged because God has promised me all the help I need.
“In the world you have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b
Monday, August 22, 2011
“The world will be no better for people who can recite chunks from Woolman’s Journal, even if they try to apply them to personal and social problems, unless they have drunk from the spring which was the inspiration of Woolman’s life. ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God’ is not a counsel of ‘other-worldliness’, but a simple suggestion that you may as well get your bearings if you intend to reach the harbor.” Reginald Reynolds, 1958, Daily Readings from Quaker Writings, 8/22
Mr. Reynolds makes a critical point. As I’ve studied the lives of leaders of several spiritual revivals, including the Quakers, I find none of the resulting denominations to resemble the original movement. This is because the next generation was guilty of trying to apply the teachings of the leader to their lives rather than going to the source that enabled the leader to be who he was. These spiritual “giants” were all people who sought the Kingdom of God first. Their followers, however, sought the results of seeking the Kingdom of God. They wanted the power or the peace their earthly leader possessed rather than God Himself. Even today within our churches we continue to follow after our leaders rather than God Himself. We profess Jesus Christ as our Savior but do not possess Him as our Life. Until we get this straight the Church will continue to be weakened and ineffective. But I must follow my own advice and take my eyes off the Church and instead place them squarely on Jesus Christ.
“....let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b, 2
Sunday, August 21, 2011
“...I read the last two chapters on pouring out everything to God as a love-offering. Suddenly I saw that when I do this, I can accept anything. It is no longer in my hands, but in His.” Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 8/22
Some people let things roll off them, but not me. Everything, whether good or bad, seems to find a place to reside within me. I hold onto things. You’d think I grew up in the Depression the way I “save” everything. So this idea of pouring things out as a love offering is something I need. A love offering is always given voluntarily and pouring it out puts the picture in my mind of emptying out the container. This is exactly what Eugenia is talking about. The only way I can accept the things that come into my life is to give them back to God. Even the good things need to be given back to God. Otherwise, I am in danger of taking credit for them or feel I deserve them in some way. Then if I lose them I feel deprived or mistreated. But she is talking about the difficult things--the things I don’t want to accept in the first place. I can expend a lot of energy trying to keep these things out of my hands, but it doesn’t work that way. I have to accept it as mine before it’s mine to give to God. Taking ownership allows it to be my love offering.
“And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26:27, 28
Saturday, August 20, 2011
“Jesus told His disciples that faith could move mountains and that whatever they asked in His name in faith would be done. These astounding assertions from the lips of our Lord himself contain a deeper truth than the church has yet comprehended.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 8/19
And 100 years later we still do not comprehend it. This is the scenario I’ve seen far too often in prayer groups. We ask God to heal/protect/provide as though we don’t believe He would otherwise. Then when we aren’t healed, protected, or provided for we think we either didn’t have enough faith or that God didn’t come through for us. Then we read the verse Hannah speaks of and blithely chalk it up to symbolism rather than a literal interpretation. This is very damaging to one’s spiritual life. We carry around seeds of doubt that keep sprouting at inopportune times wreaking havoc in our emotional life. How much better it would be to take God’s word at face value. I believe Jesus when He says we have not because we ask not or that we ask amiss. Rather than asking for something that God has already promised which is to be with us always, we should be asking God for more faith to believe these promises and to live accordingly. Then seeds of faith will be planted.
“And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.” 1 John 5:14, 15
Friday, August 19, 2011
“When [God] calls, He supplies the means to answer His call. If we are looking too intently at our work for Him, we can easily miss His Presence beside us. And this brings great suffering.” Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 8/19
I experienced this suffering while taking care of my mother. I’d felt called to bring her into my home even though she required constant care by me. I knew that God would be with me. But after several months I began to experience the suffering that Eugenia refers to when I found that I couldn’t help my mother accept her illness. Everything I did for her had no positive result. She was still unhappy and suffering physically in addition to her mental suffering. I felt overwhelmed and a failure. It was only a few weeks before she died that I was able to hand it all over to the Lord and experience peace not only about my part in helping my mother but in accepting her impending death. It’s been eight years since that experience, and even though I still find myself judging success by the outcome, I’m in a better position to be honest before God and allow His Hand upon my shoulder to direct me in the way in which He desires me to go; and that way is one of relationship. This is the process that He desires from me--to leave the outcome to Him while I look only to having a real and intimate relationship with Him moment by moment.
“Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
Thursday, August 18, 2011
“God wants us to trust Him daily with our needs. This trust does not make us poor planners or careless with our futures, unprepared to face what may come. Rather, it keeps our relationship with the Lord in its proper perspective as He reminds us daily of our dependence upon Him.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 8/18
This is why we’re to pray for our daily bread. Christ is also known as the Bread of Life and the Living Water. This morning I was reading Jeremiah 1:13: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that hold no water.” I have not forsaken the Lord, but I have hewed out my own cisterns in an attempt to “collect” this Living Water. This scripture in Jeremiah has shown me that just like the Israelites could not collect more than a day’s worth of manna, I cannot store up Living Water. It is these cisterns that are getting in the way of my needs being met by God--they cannot hold Living Water. It was at this point God showed me that my cisterns represented my attempts to control His life in me and the only way I’m to ever experience Him as Living Water and Daily Bread is to give up this attempt at control and take the attitude of what will be will be. But this is not a giving up as in defeat. This is my Victory!
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.” 1 John 5:4
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
“Pride is devastatingly subtle. Check your motives when you cringe in the background [when someone compliments you]. Could it be because you unconsciously long to call attention to yourself? If we run ourselves down as Christians, we are not only running down the redeemed of Jesus Christ, we are still pointing to ourselves!” Eugenia Price, S.P.S. 8/17
Eugenia has uncovered another lie of the ego--to tear yourself down is a sign of humility. As she points out we are only bringing attention to ourselves and in the process implicating Jesus Christ! If we are indeed new creatures and it is Christ that lives in us and no longer us who lives, any compliment given to us should be received as Christ would receive it--with compassion. Why do I say “with compassion”? Because compassion is what keeps the compliment from reaching our fleshly egos which is more than ready to tempt us into either claiming the compliment for ourselves or rejecting it in order to bring even more attention to ourselves. Compassion focuses on the other person. Perhaps the compliment was given because that person is envious or may be attempting to use flattery to get us to do more. Compassion would allow us to see through this without condemnation. If the compliment is given in all genuineness, compassion will receive it for the glory of God because in our hearts we know the compliment was meant for Him and we need not point that out to anyone because we are about our Father’s business, not our own.
“I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” John 5:43, 44
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
“Nothing hinders us more in our Christian lives than to keep our eyes fixed on ourselves, trying to search out evidences of our own goodness and fitness for the mercy of the Lord or tokens of our growth in grace. If we think we find any, at once we are frightened at the danger of pride; and if we do not find any, we are plunged into the depths of discouragement.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 8/16
So what ways do I keep my eyes fixed on myself? Every time I wonder what someone thinks of me; when I feel someone has taken advantage of me; when I don’t like the way I look; the times I notice someone doing something in a way I wouldn’t do it. I think that last one is a new revelation to me. I’ve never stopped to realize how noting what someone is doing differently could reflect the fact that I’ve fixed my eyes on myself. We humans tend to constantly compare ourselves to others. We “check people out” to see how we look as compared to them: what kind of car we drive, how big or nice our house is, our clothes, our jobs, even our children. But my habit of noticing and then often being critical of the way people do things is also focusing on myself. I’m noticing for the purpose of comparing and this forces me to look even further at myself. It produces either pride or discouragement, both of which only serve to take my eyes off Christ. Instead, I must ♬turn [my] eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.♬ (Helen H. Lemmel, 1922)
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Matthew 6:22, 23a
Monday, August 15, 2011
“Has a wall been raised between you and someone you love due to a ‘stand’ you feel you just had to take?....Are we perhaps suffering this current loneliness because our motives were not clear? Did we perhaps become moved with condemnation instead of compassion?” Eugenia Price, S.P.S. 8/15
Eugenia has cleared up something for me. The Lord has put me on the receiving end of the condemnation that Eugenia speaks of in order to help me understand that I am guilty of having done the same thing to others. It really helps to “walk in another’s shoes” for a while to gain a better understanding. This is what Christ did for us--not because He needed the experience in order to understand--but instead so that we would know that He does understand. We are left without an argument on this point! What has been made clear to me is that if my stand for what is right lacks compassion for the person who is in the wrong I am going to condemn them in my heart. I may not call it that--I may call it “hurt” or “confusion” or even “anger”, but the effect is still the same--to condemn. I’m picturing a dilapidated building with a sign nailed to the door “Condemned!” Without stating it, the sign is saying “Stay Out!” Compassion, on the other hand, has “Welcome!” written all over it. A heart filled with compassion when it takes a stand for what is right will overlook the wrong done. It will have “second chance” written all over it. This is what God has offered us and we, therefore, need to offer others.
“Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” James 5:11
Sunday, August 14, 2011
“It is of vital importance to the children of God that they understand that God’s strength can be made perfect only in human weakness. For in the spiritual life the natural man never can feel strong in himself, and if we think we ought to, we will be continually troubled.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 8/14
The key word in the above for me is “only”. Even though I tend to be an either/or person in most things, for some reason, when it comes to my weaknesses, I prefer to pick and choose what best caterers to my whim at the moment! I will be content with being weak and letting God’s power come through me when it fits my mood! If I’m feeling like I don’t want to be vulnerable, I will draw on my human strength when I feel it’s taking God too long to help me. Unfortunately for my flesh, but fortunately for my spirit, I am continually troubled. If I weren’t, I’d not run to God eventually. If being strong in the flesh were something I could sustain and it continued to “work for me”, then I’d never be inclined to recline on the Lord. This is why we should not desire and therefore seek after fame and fortune. These entities often enable us to grow stronger in the flesh thus preventing us from ever discovering just how loving and trustworthy our God is. Lord, may I never lose my sense of need that continually fuels my desire to rest in your love.
“but He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9
Saturday, August 13, 2011
“Jesus did not say that the world will know Him by our miracles, by our grand testimonies, or by our vast Bible knowledge. The world will know Him by the love that Christians show to one another.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 8/13
Ouch! What made Blackaby’s devotional today personal was his statement, “We expect more of Christians, and we feel betrayed when they fail us.....We must set aside the self-centered attitude that leads to impatience and criticism of others.” I can fool myself into thinking I love my fellow Christians until one of them disappointments me. Why do I need other Christians to have less faults than I have? Am I afraid that if they aren’t perfect how can I ever be? Aren’t I looking at flesh rather than Christ when I do this? And why can’t I set aside this habit--this self-centered attitude? As I ask these questions I’m wondering if the fact that my earthly father’s poor example is the driving force behind my need for others to prove to me that following Christ wholeheartedly is possible. Yes, it’s very encouraging to look to the saints who have gone before and seen their success, but I mustn’t base my own Christian journey on what others have or have not done. I’m not to compare myself to anyone but Christ. I need to keep my eyes only on Christ and my heart open to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35