Reading: Matthew 4:4, Psalm 119:11, James 2:1-13
I’m going to take a slight detour from my normal devotions that I hope are “Full of Hope.”
New Beginnings! That is generally what is on our minds from about December 28th though January 5th – give or take a couple days. The turnover of a new year is something that most of us look forward to. It is a time to reflect on the past mistakes of last year and focus on what you want to change about yourself over the course of the coming year. Most of these have to do with losing weight or exercising more or even doing something productive with a job or family.
As Christians, I think that we should only have 3 New Year’s resolutions a year: the same 2 if we are 10 or 100, young or old, red or pink, catholic or protestant. The resolutions: 1. Read God’s word, 2, Memorize it, 3. Live it out. These are possibly two of the most important resolutions that a Christian can make, and they are the perfect ones to recycle every year. They are so important because they are what being a Christian should embody: a longing to become more Christ-like.
The first one: Reading God’s Word. This should be done on a daily basis. It should be something that every Christian should long to do. It is something that should be the first thing on our minds when we wake up and the last thing on our minds before we go to sleep at night. It should be our first response (or maybe our 2nd after prayer) when a tragedy hits our lives. It should be the driving force behind our actions. We should strive to get as much out of our Bible as possible. It should be the goal of every Christian to make our Bibles fall apart from reading it so much.
The second one: Memorizing God’s Word. This is a command found in Psalms 119:11, “I will hide your words in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Scripture is our sword against the Devil’s attacks. It is our offensive weapon. It is our way of fighting against the Devil’s traps. Memorization of scripture is the backbone of our being able to fight against the Devil. Memorization can also be used to correct our fellow brothers and sisters who are falling in their walk with God. However, the downside is that it is possible to “correct” too much an end up forcing them away from God. Don’t get me wrong, there is a need (and a command) to give correction where needed, but there is a right and a wrong way and time in which to do this.
The third resolution that all Christians should make on New Year’s Day: Practice it. I have no idea how many times a Christian has said something and then done something completely different. It reminds me of the story of a man who spent 3 hours making a speech about the dangers of smoking to a college group. It was the best speech that any of the students had ever heard, and many of them made a commitment to stop smoking. Later that same day, some of the students caught the man smoking in his car. It is so damaging to not practice what you preach.
Prayer: Pray for fellow Christians who are struggling with reading the Bible on a daily basis. Pray for fellow Christians who want to memorize, but can’t. Pray that God will open their mind up so that they will be able to hold his scripture in their heart so that they might not sin against him. Pray for fellow Christians to know when to hold their tongue and when to use it. Pray for fellow Christians to realize how closely their actions are watched by those who are not Christians. Pray for them to act in a Godly way at all times, not just when watched by non-Christians.