Today’s devotion builds on the thoughts from Sunday’s Sermon – Week 1 of “Fan or Follower – Shine Brightly” (LISTEN HERE).
John 10:7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
These two sayings of Jesus are too important to quickly mention and move on as I did in yesterday’s devotion.
The TV Psychologist “Dr. Phil” used to often ask, “How’s that working for you?” The question was usually prompted by a “patient” whining about their life, the challenges, the hardships, but also the habits and activities they were engaging in. As they were whining about it, instead of immediately trying to fix it, Dr. Phil would ask, “How’s that working for you?”
The question gets us to think about what we are currently doing and evaluate if what we are engaging in daily in life is really working for us.
How is life working for you today?
In the “Good Shepherd” chapter of the Bible in John 10, there are many great passages to reflect on. This morning, the phrase of Jesus that catches my attention is this: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
The thief is Satan himself or those that are intentionally or unintentionally working for him. As I look around society and as I interact with it, there are lots of things that are being “stolen” from our lives:
Peace is stolen and replaced with fear. Consider the news you watch and listen too. When was the last time you heard a report that put your mind at ease vs. in a state of anxiety…inflation, the demise of the earth due to global warming, illegal immigration, crime on our streets, gun control and the like. I observe, peace is being stolen from my heart and replaced with fear. How’s this working for you?
Contentment is stolen and replaced with discontent. The bills are greater than the income. Investments are down due to stock market down turn. I can’t buy and do what I used to. I wish I had a different job. I wish I made more, etc. Again, the advertising, consumerism of our culture drives out contentment and replaces it with discontent. How’s this working for you?
Truth is stolen and replaced with lies. Our society is stating lies often enough that culture is believing it as truth…perhaps we are tempted to do the same. Men can have babies? Gender is fluid and chosen? Having sexual attraction for minors is normal? Police are the enemy? Christian America is a threat to our country? Nothing can last when it is built on lies, but when lies are promoted as truth and we begin to believe the lies, we must ask, “How’s that working for us?”
Here’s the encouragement today, first for you. Jesus came to bring fullness of life and is the source of truth. When something isn’t working, it is usually a direct or indirect result of sin and the lies of Satan. Following Jesus is not always easy, but it is the full life and it is the truth-filled life. It is a life where no matter what is happening around us we can always have peace in our hearts, contentment in our lives, and confidence we are living by solid truth.
Second, for the people around you. SHINE BRIGHTLY! Fear is no way to live…you have ultimate peace through Jesus to share with someone who is always conversing from a spirit of fear. Take time to uncover the fear and ask God’s Spirit to replace it with peace. Same for discontentment. You know people whining about life and finances and not having what they want. Take time to listen to hear their concerns. Some may have practical and real solutions, but underneath is an opportunity to replace discontent with a spirit of contentment. Seek opportunities to replace lies with God’s truth. It will not always be accepted or welcomed, but ground yourself in the truth of God’s word and ways and seek the Spirit to bring truth where the world is believing lies.
When following Jesus gives us the fullness and truth of life…how’s that working for us? VERY well!
Apply: What aspects of your life is Satan stealing and destroying? What truth of the Word can replace the lies of Satan?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for not only promising but also giving our lives fullness and filling them with your truth. Give us opportunities to be share life and truth with those whose lives are not working and filled with lies. AMEN.