June 16, 2015 (1 Kings 17-19; Colossians 2)
From the Life Journal of Adam Proux:
Scripture: “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” (Colossians 2:23 NLT)
Observation: Religious leaders often times enjoy placing heavy burdens on those they desire to rule over. This simple, yet effective, tactic has brought many under subjection and led many astray. Paul was making the Colossian church aware of these elementary tactics and encouraged them to understand the importance of living right before God for the right reasons. We do not earn God’s approval by observing rituals created by man, nor do we gain His acceptance by any pious works of righteousness we produce. Only through Christ Jesus are we made holy and acceptable to God. Only by His blood sacrifice are we justified and washed clean. Only by The Holy Spirit are we able to conquer the evil desires within us and rightly live in a manner that is pleasing to God.
Application: We all have a desire to be successful somewhere within us. And this desire for success makes it easy to fall into the trap of legalism. When we are successful, in our own eyes, at staying true to a listed set of do’s and don’ts we get a false sense of accomplishment that sooths our prideful ego. At this very critical moment in our lives our focus shifts away from Christ and instead directs our hope and confidence to our own abilities. Soon we begin to measure and compare ourselves to others instead of Christ. This leads to self-righteousness because we quickly learn how to spot someone that is not living up to our high standards. All the while we go along thinking God is pleased with us because we don’t live like those heathen sinners, yet we fail to recognize that we are being led by our evil desires instead of The Holy Spirit. Strong devotion, self-denial, and bodily discipline produce good fruit when they are a result of a clean heart completely submitted to Christ.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for this wonderful day you have provided for us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that reminds me to measure and compare myself to Christ only. Help me live better today than I did yesterday for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen!