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

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 7

“Christ is the end of all our self-efforts after righteousness, not ‘at the end’, as I used to think, but the actual ending of them....the life of Christ in our souls makes righteousness take possession of us.  We are controlled from within and not from without.”  Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 7/5

I don’t think people realize how important it is to understand this.  I didn’t for years even though I knew it is by the Holy Spirit that we are changed and not by self-effort.  What I didn’t understand was that I am made righteous instantly.  Yes, my behavior may continue to look sinful because of the choices I make that cater to the “old man”.  However, because of Christ in me, I am now already perfect in God’s eyes.  It’s this knowledge that should spur me to stop grieving the Holy Spirit and choose instead to be true to the “new creature” in me.  Because I believed perfection was something I was supposed to work toward until I got to heaven I continued to strive to be perfect.  This fed my need to please people so they would confirm for me that I was “looking good” on the outside at least.  If I didn’t get this confirmation, however, after all my effort, it would lead me into sin in my heart towards people.  It also kept my focus on my self constantly.  Now, when this need to please presents itself I am reminded that God is the only One I should be pleasing.  I am already made perfect so I don’t need to depend on others for my self-worth.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust...You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:44,45,48

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