This week in our devotional reflections, we focus on laying aside everything that entangles us and hinders us from following Jesus as His disciples. Such entanglements may even be good things that crowd out space for God. Say a prayer at the outset of the week that you can see your life as clearly and as dearly as He does.
Monday – Philippians 3.3-11. Ironically, one’s good religious heritage and experience can be a hindrance to knowing Christ. That seems to have been the case for Paul. His own Jewish heritage had been a guide for knowing a lot about God, but it also fostered a self-righteous mindset. When he encountered Jesus, he discarded his pride and dependence upon his heritage and personal religious accomplishments as being useless in his standing with God. Can that be the case for us? If so, how?
Tuesday – Hebrews 12.1-13. “If we choose to journey with God carrying unnecessary weights, God will let us do it. But transformation into Christlikeness is much more difficult when we are encumbered. Expect God to continually woo you to cast aside unnecessary distractions, so that nothing pulls you away from living your life with God” (Jan Johnson, Abundant Simplicity). What hindrance or weight might God be asking you to discard?
Wednesday – Luke 10.38-42. In our with Jesus life we can be distracted or weighed down even by good things. Mary and Martha were close friends of Jesus. Hosting Him in their family home, Martha’s good service for Him actually became a distraction for her, while Mary was focused on the main thing—listening to Jesus. Have you ever found yourself frazzled from doing good things for Jesus, when His main desire was to connect with you?
Thursday – 1Timothy 6.17-19. Read this passage slowly. Read it again, asking the Lord to speak to you about your priorities. Imagine what it could be like for you to be rich in good deeds? Take a look at the things you have. Who might need one of those things? How do you feel about giving one of those things away? Try it!
Friday – John 15.9-17. Centuries ago, Gregory of Nyssa wrote of friendship with God, stating, “we consider becoming God’s friend the only thing worthy of honor and desire.” It’s stunning to imagine that God extends us His friendship. In the next ten minutes, what can you do to treasure your friendship with God?
Saturday – Matthew 20.29-34. To us, Jesus’ question, “What do you want me to do for you?” might seem to be unnecessary. However, one of the core issues at the heart of our relationship with God is found in the question, “What do I really want?” (Jan Johnson, Invitation to the Jesus Life) If you find yourself stuck in a rut in your life with God, reflect on your response to this question. Pray for desire to want more in your life with Christ.