Day Two: “Doing the Stuff: Submit to God, Flee and Resist”

1 Corinthians 10: 14 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

What if we sense we are going down the wrong path—toward something not good at all?

It may begin with life’s trials.  And, in not delighting to walk in the Spirit—shown by a lack of genuine worship and prayer, coupled with obstinate neglect of the Word and Church—our lives may succumb to temptations.

Then, sins; sinful thoughts and habits.  And, even more.

Prolonged patterns of behavior, and reluctant but strangely willing rejection of all that is good, truthful and beautiful. And, we, like the prodigal son, run from the Father.

We soon sense we are on the edge of a precipice; and, there are even skirmishes with the sinister.

Like the story we read earlier in chapter 10, we feel our bodies in danger of being “scattered in the wilderness”.

What do we do?  How do we get out?

How do we come back to love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control?  How do we feel the embrace of our Father again?

The verses from 1 Corinthians and James give the clearest answer:

Submit to God.  Flee from idolatry.  Resist the devil (and he will flee from you).

If you sense any of the above today—from giving into temptations, and so on.

Then, Submit to God, Flee and Resist!

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, thank you that we were washed, sanctified and justified in your name (1 Corinthians 6:11).  Fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we may live powerfully, truthfully and beautifully for you.  We will submit and obey you and you only!  In Christ Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Here is a vintage video from Pastor John Wimber on “Doing the Stuff”
(3 minutes and 39 seconds) (Click here)

-JK

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Day One: “Just as I am, to Christ the Solid Rock”

1 Corinthians 10:3-4 They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

Isn’t it wonderful that Jesus is the Lord, yesterday, today and forever?

In no uncertain terms, Apostle Paul declares that “the rock that accompanied” the Israelites in the time of Exodus was Jesus.

And, repeatedly (5 times!) in Deuteronomy 32, the Rock is identified as the LORD God.

3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.

From the beginning of the creation and until now, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NIV/NLT)

So today we pray and sing,

“Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come! I come!”

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”

“Just As I Am” (click here)

“My Hope is Built on Nothing Less (On Christ the Solid Rock)”
(click here)

-JK

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Day Five:  Stand Firm, Then

Galatians 5:1 (NIV) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

“All these major themes of slavery, freedom and the liberating work of Christ are now summed up in the ringing affirmation of 5:1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. That indicative is followed by an imperative, Stand firm, then. This may sound like a dull lesson in grammar, but it is actually central in Pauline ethics. What we must do (the imperative) is always based upon what God has already done (the indicative). Or to put it another way, what God has done gives us the opportunity and power to do what we must do. This indicative-imperative structure is seen here in verse 1 and also in verses 13 and 25. So it provides the structure for the whole chapter: God’s gift of freedom must be defended (v. 1); God’s gift of freedom must not be abused but must be used to serve (v. 13); God’s gift of life by the Spirit must be expressed through the Spirit (v. 25).”
“The yoke of the law is a yoke of slavery, because it places us under the burden of commandments we cannot keep and under curses that we deserve for our disobedience. But God sent his Son to lift this heavy yoke from our shoulders and to take it upon himself … In contrast to the yoke of slavery under the law, his yoke is easy and his burden is light (Mt. 11:30).” [IVP New Testament Commentary Series: Galatians]

Let’s pray for the areas of our lives that we need to stand firm in, that living in freedom, serving others, and walking in the Spirit would be a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light. Let’s worship with the song “Living Hope” (click here), declaring the indicatives as we sing.

– AK

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Day Four: The Strategy of Love

Romans 13:8-9 (NLT) 8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.” These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“In 1520 Martin Luther, the great Reformer in Germany, wrote a treatise called “The Freedom of the Christian.” He began it with this paradox:

A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none.
A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.

Then he explained:
These two theses seem to contradict each other . . . [But] both are Paul’s own statements, who says in 1 Corinthians 9:19, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all,” and in Romans 13:8, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another.” Love, by its very nature, is ready to serve and be subject to him who is loved. So Paul’s strategy is love. It’s exactly what he said in Galatians 5:13, “You were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Use your liberty to love by serving … That’s what Paul—and Jesus—mean by love. [Piper, John (1996). “Becoming All Things to All Men to Save Some”]

Let’s begin to love and serve one another in prayer today. As you worship with the song, “Fierce” (click here), pray over three people today who are in your missional group. Pray that God’s fierce love would chase them down and seek them out.

-AK

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Day Three:  Lose to Win

Philippians 3:7-12 (NIV) 7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 

Paul gives us further insight into his freedom–everything is a loss for Christ’s sake. He loses to gain, he loses to participate, he loses to become, ultimately, he loses to win. The way to win is to lose–or the way you win another person to Christ is to lose yourself in Christ. Are there things about us, our character, our personality, our preferences, our choices, our lifestyles that distort or take away from the gospel message we want to share? Then let’s consider it a loss for the sake of Christ, let’s consider everything a loss, because positionally in Christ, this is already our reality; but may it become more of our experiential reality, that we live out what it means that Christ owns us.

Let’s pray today, “God, may I take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” and begin to lose what gets in the way. Pray also for those in your ministry group that we would lose everything to win everyone. Let’s also worship with the song, “My All in All” (click here).

-AK

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Day Two:  We Can Play

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

“Several years ago when the Duke University men’s basketball team won back-to-back championships, there was a popular T-shirt on campus. The front read, “You can talk the game, but can you play the game?” On the back, above the school logo, in large letters was printed the slogan, “We can play.” That is the challenge that Paul poses to his readers—and to himself:  can we play the game? Rather than just talking about the gospel, we are called to pay the price of sacrifice and discipline in order to play the game rightly and thus to win the prize. The high level of discipline and skill required of competitive athletes provides us with a compelling metaphor that suggests what might be required. That is one reason the Olympic Games remain perpetually fascinating for us: we are captivated by the dedication that these women and men devote to the pursuit of the gold medal. What about our own dedication to the gospel? Is it comparably rigorous, or are we flabby, armchair spectators? The question must be asked. [Hays, Richard B., First Corinthians: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, p. 158]

Response:  Let’s pray that we would go from feeling like ‘we should play’ to ‘we can play’. Let’s pray over specific areas of our lives where there can be an increase of dedication, sacrifice, discipline, and skill. And let’s worship along with ‘Let It Be Jesus’ (click here).

-AK

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Day One: Freedom into Slavery

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV) 19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

“Paul’s rights, his freedoms, are as nothing; what matters is whether people are being won for God, being saved from the corrupting wickedness around and within them, being rescued from darkness and brought into the light. This statement has sometimes been understood as though it meant that Paul was a mere pragmatist, a spin-doctor, twisting his message this way and that to suit different audiences. That’s not what he’s saying. The message remains constant. It is the messenger who must swallow his pride, who must give up his rights, who must change his freedom into slavery.” [N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians, page 117]

As we worship with the song, “My Hearts is Yours” (click here), let’s pray for greater change in ourselves from the wrong freedoms into right slavery that the people God has brought into our lives would be won for God.

-AK

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Day Five: “Living For Him”

1 Corinthians 8:6 (NIV) yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

“Christian thought begins from a confession that binds us specifically to the one God of Israel and declares our personal union with and allegiance to this one God. We exist “for him,” not for our own purposes. To the extent that this confession of the one God echoes the Shema, we should also hear the echo of that text’s call to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5).”[Hays, Richard B., First Corinthians: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, page 140.]

Wanting to love others and go all out for God’s kingdom and building of his church stems from the heart confession that there is but “one God, the Father and Lord, Jesus Christ…from whom all things came and for whom we live.”

Prayer: Let’s confess how we are living for our one God, the Father and Lord Jesus Christ and let’s worship to this song, “Living With A Fire” (click here) by Jesus Culture.

-EK

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Day Four: “Love Trumps”

1 Corinthians 8:1-3, 13 (NIV) Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.

“Knowledge and love are thus contrasted in two ways. First, the net effect of each (knowledge puffs up; love builds up); second, the difference it makes for the one doing the knowing or loving.” [Fee, Gordon D.,The First Epistle to the Corinthians, p.364]

“Love trumps knowledge. The central message of this chapter is a simple one: Love is more important than knowledge. Paul calls for a shift from gnosis to agape as the ordering principle for Christian discernment and conduct.” [Hays, Richard B., First Corinthians: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, p. 145]

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that I no longer need to relate to others in my “knowledge” or pride, but now, I can live in the new way of your love.  Would you fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me with your love so that I can go all out in your love for the building of others, your church. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Let’s also worship along with this song, “Hands to the Heavens” (click here) by Kari Jobe.

-EK

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Day Three: “Less of Me”

1 Corinthians 8:9-12 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

We often go about our daily decisions, actions and lives without second thought of how this might impact one another in the church.  But, our daily lives (or one can say daily “lifestyle”) can be more impactful to others than what we might “say.”  As we can see here, by what others “see” in us or by our example, we can cause harm or even to the extent become a stumbling block, which can destroy their faith.  Let us be careful with how we live our daily lives.  Let us be considerate of how our daily lives matter before the Lord and impact others.

Reflection/Prayer: Are there lifestyle patterns or habits that might be hindering or harmful to others around you?   Let’s stop whatever may be causing harm and confess the ways we may need to change before the Lord.  Let’s pray that there will be “more of Jesus and less of me” as we sing along with this song, “More Like Jesus” (click here) by Kristian Stanfill.

 

-EK

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