PJ’s Daily Devotional for Tuesday, February 21, 2017.
Do you like to cook? Do you follow recipes or create your own along the way?
Either way, you know that the finished product depends on getting all the ingredients into dish. If you are missing something, the meal may be good, but it won’t be great! It is the same in the Christian life, so often the enemy of great is good because we have the attitude of “good enough.” But God has the perfect recipe for your life: to be more than good or great; God’s desire for you is abundance with the fullness of His joy!
Paul testifies: “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you and for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-8).
Paul was chosen too! Do you remember his story from Acts 9—he had a personal encounter with the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. It was with supernatural power that Paul heard the gospel and was converted! Read Acts 9:1-19. Our story will sound different then Paul’s, but we each have this in common: “He has chosen you” is as true for you and me as it was for Paul and the early believers in Thessalonica. That is the good news of God’s love and grace!
All throughout the New Testament, we experience God’s work in people’s lives to bring them to salvation. What happens in our lives is not happenstance, it is God’s providential power at work: making good out of evil; creating sacrificial love out of selfishness; and glorifying grace out of godlessness. This is God’s ability to transform our stories through the power of the gospel of Jesus!
Here is the good news: The Holy Spirit is at work today bringing people to Christ “not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” That is God’s recipe for all disciples of Jesus Christ: (1) Word; (2) power; (3) Holy Spirit; (4) full conviction.
- THE WORD! Are you daily studying, meditating upon, and memorizing the living and active Word of God? I encourage you to either join with me in my daily journal of Bible Reading or be on your own journey through the Bible. If you don’t know where to start: read the Gospel of John.
- POWER! We overcome by the power of both the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the word of our testimony. God has sealed and filled His people with “dynamite” power. Are you walking in the fullness of your testimony? Maybe you haven’t experienced the power of God in your life because you haven’t been exercising it. Exercise it today!
- HOLY SPIRIT! The Holy Spirit is not only the sustainer of all Christian life, but He is also the teacher of God’s Word and the guide of using God’s power. It is through an intimate walk with the Holy Spirit that we learn to activate His presence and peace in us. Are you daily being refreshed in the Holy Spirit and asking God (in prayer!) to activate the One (the Holy Spirit) who is greater in you, than the devil who is in the world?
- FULL CONVICTION! To some up the depths of this word: a fullness of faith that leads to good works! A Hebrews 11:1-6 certainty in Jesus Christ. God will do what God says He will do! All His promises are ours in Jesus Christ, and our lives manifest this reality when we live with a full conviction.
Now, there is a great recipe for living the Christian life. Remember this key point from our reading today: this recipe is not for you alone so you can experience the abundant life with the fullness of joy; this recipe is so that your life becomes a fragrant aroma to others. May it be said of you: “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in [your region of the world and beyond].”
Are you missing any of the ingredients?