Sanctification is a life-long process. Once we’re saved, if we keep our trust exclusively in Jesus Christ and what He did at the Cross, then we give the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives and transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
2 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
Hebrews 2:1-4 KJV
MARCH 06, 2021 SATURDAY
Some churches today avoid using biblical language to describe what it means to be saved, because the terms can be confusing. However, since God chose these words to convey the greatness of our salvation, we should not overlook them. In order to understand grace, it is essential that we grasp the following concepts:
• Redemption refers to Christ’s payment for sin—in other words, His death purchased us for God.
• Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, in which He gives us divine life and makes us into new creatures.
• Justification is God’s declaration that through our faith in Christ, we are righteous and acquitted of guilt for sin.
• Forgiveness is the removal of our guilt; to accomplish this, Jesus went to the cross in our place and bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24).
• Reconciliation is the restoration of a right relationship with God. No longer His enemies, we’re now His beloved children.
• Sanctification means to be set apart for God. It’s the process by which we grow in holiness and obedience.
The more you understand the depths of your salvation, the greater your awe, gratitude, and love for Jesus will be. So meditate on these truths and the fullness of your salvation, and let them fill your mind and heart today.
I was recently debating with someone about what constitutes sin. The person in question argued that as long as we kept the Ten Commandments, we were righteous and holy. He contended that if he hadn’t broken one of the Ten Commandments in a given day, then he was righteous, holy and sinless before God.
However, if that is the case, then there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to come and die for us on the Cross. If we could do it all on our own, why would we need His sacrifice? Of course, this person also contended that the breaking of the Ten Commandments were the only sins, but that is simply not true.
The Bible makes it very clear that there are many sins outside the Ten Commandments. Unrighteous anger is a sin. Pride is a sin. Jealousy is a sin.
Sins are not simply actions that we commit. They begin in the thoughts and heart of man. Negative, unholy thoughts and emotions are what lead to sinful actions.
None of us are sinless. We can’t do it on our own. That’s why we must accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and keep our faith anchored in Him and what He did for us at the Cross if we wish to have victory over sin.
Does this mean we will never sin again? No, but it does mean if we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our lives, He will help us to not sin, and when we do stumble, we have an advocate with the Father.
Granted, this isn’t a license a sin just thinking we can get forgiveness for it later. We should try our best (with the help of the Holy Spirit, for we can’t do it on our own.).
That’s why we need to ask God to search our hearts and reveal any bitterness and sinful emotions or thoughts we have. Then, we must ask Him to remove them and purify us.
1 Samuel 18:5-16
5 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?
9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.
12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.
13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.
14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.
15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.
16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.
MARCH 03, 2021 WEDNESDAY
Jealousy is an emotion of displeasure over someone else’s good fortune. Constantly comparing ourselves to others leads to discontent, resentment, and bitterness. If these negative emotions remain unchecked, they can poison our relationships. What’s more, they can eventually flare into suspicion, anger, and hostility.
This is what happened to King Saul. His jealousy caused him to distrust David, who had served him faithfully. Saul’s suspicious attitude led to hostility and irrational behavior—so much so that he hurled a spear at David while the young man was playing music (1 Samuel 18:10-12). Instead of being grateful for David’s loyalty and steadfast service, the king repaid him with animosity and death threats. As a result, David was eventually forced to flee and hide in the wilderness (1 Samuel 23:15-26).
Jealousy is not something to be excused or rationalized. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you if any of these symptoms of jealousy are present in your life. If they are, confess them as sin and ask Him to uproot them from your heart. Then focus on God’s faithfulness instead of comparing yourself with others.
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I don’t know about y’all, but I can be impatient. I want things when I want them, and it gets frustrating and discouraging when things don’t happen quick enough. But we should always remember that God knows what’s best. Just because he hasn’t answered our prayers right away or how we wanted Him to doesn’t mean that He didn’t or isn’t going to answer them. I always reiterate this: God ALWAYS answers prayer. It’s just that sometimes the answer is ‘no.’ If you’re asking for something that isn’t within His will for you, He won’t grant the request. It’s kind of like when we were little kids and we would ask our parents for something that they knew wasn’t good for us. They’d tell us ‘no’ and then steer us toward something better. God is our Heavenly Father and loves us far more than our earthly parents ever could. Trust that He has your best interests at heart.
64 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,
2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!
3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.
4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.
God Acts on Our Behalf MARCH 02, 2021 TUESDAY
The Lord is a God of action. Even when He rested after six days of creation, it wasn’t because He was tired and needed to recuperate—His creative activity may have stopped, but He never ceased working. And throughout history He has always been intimately involved in individual lives without ever relaxing control over the universe.
Sometimes, however, it may seem He’s unconcerned about us, because our prayers aren’t answered as quickly as we expect. When that happens, we need to remember it doesn’t mean God has stopped working. He is still actively involved in our lives but often in ways that are not always visible. He orchestrates circumstances, changes people’s hearts, and protects His children from making foolish decisions that could have disastrous consequences. Waiting times are opportunities for growth in character, obedience, faith, and service.
By intentionally choosing to trust and depend on God rather than doubt Him, you are cooperating with His process of spiritual growth. He alone knows what you need and when you need it. Be encouraged, knowing that God has planned good things for those who wait (Isa. 64:4). Even if you don’t get specifically what you requested, your Father’s answer will be for your eternal good and His glory.
It’s important to spend time with God every day. Just like any other relationship, your relationship won’t grow without communication. Reading the Bible for yourself, praying and earnestly seeking God will keep Him forefront in your mind. Sometimes just meditating on God and His Word more makes all our problems seem less daunting. When we keep our eyes on Jesus and what He did for us at the Cross, we’ll be more heavenly minded, and the obstacles in this life won’t seem quite as monumental.
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
Romans 12:1–5 KJV
MARCH 01, 2021 MONDAY
God’s kindness is demonstrated by the fact that He doesn’t leave us in the condition we were in before salvation. Throughout our life, the Lord uses certain tools to shape us into the image of His Son.
God’s Word. We grow in Christ when we spend time reading the Bible, because Scripture is like food that nourishes our soul (Matt. 4:4). Yet sadly, some Christians rely only on the Sunday dinner of the Word served up by a pastor.
Prayer. We learn to depend on the Lord by coming to Him with our needs and concerns as well as our praise and gratitude. As we regularly draw near, our intimacy and love for Him grows. Instead of seeing prayer as a duty, we’ll realize our time with the Lord has become a delight.
The Church. The body of believers is another important factor in our transformation because that’s where we learn to love one another. It’s also where we find encouragement, receive biblical instruction, and experience accountability.
Our culture has no shortage of worldly voices and pressures that fill minds and influence behavior. But when we intentionally schedule time for God, His Word, and His people, He does His transforming work in our life.
We ought to obey God rather than men. In this country, we are fortunate enough to have the freedom to worship God without fear of repercussions. That’s not the case everywhere. Some people literally risk their lives to read the Bible or worship God. How often we take our great freedom for granted. Still, when we do obey God, sometimes we’re ridiculed, scoffed or mocked, but we should obey Him anyway. We should always stand up for God, for he certainly stood up for us when He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to bear the penalty for our sins on the Cross.
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,
23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
FEBRUARY 23, 2021 TUESDAY 23
Yesterday, we studied passionate obedience and how it develops over time. The apostles reached the pinnacle of submission. Without being compelled by fear or the hope of reward, they faced shame, pain, and death. Why? Because they loved Christ too much to stay quiet.
People who receive salvation and then sit back, content that they’ll go to heaven when they die, have missed the point. Salvation isn’t just about heaven; it also allows us to be used for God’s glory here on earth. He lives through us, expressing His life-changing truth so that we can impact others. The only hindrance is the restriction we set on our own usefulness.
Limitations and passionate obedience can’t coexist. Life might seem easier if we choose when to obey God, but that type of existence won’t ever prove totally satisfying. Instead, we will tend to wonder why the Lord doesn’t use us or bless us more.
Passionate obedience begins with commitment. Our dedication may at first be based on the promised reward, which is acceptable because blessing is part of obedience. But as we mature, we’re likely to experience increasingly difficult challenges relative to our submission. And then our devotion also grows until we, too, can rejoice when we suffer for Jesus’ name.
Do you have a passion to obey God? If we truly love God, we should try our best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. However, part of spiritual maturity comes when we start wanting to follow Him in a loving response to His love and grace rather than simply because we know we should or because of fear of the repercussions of not doing so. At the beginning of our salvation, we might be more prompted to obey God for fear of consequences, but as we learn more about God, we’ll begin to want to obey Him out of love for Him and because we’ll begin to see that He truly knows best and that He will never fail us. The most important thing is to put all our trust and faith in Him so that we’ll be willing to follow wherever He may lead.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
FEBRUARY 22, 2021 MONDAY
A passion to obey God doesn’t come naturally. Salvation may spark love and a desire to please Him, but a passionate fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.
Obedience usually begins with a fear of the consequences of disobeying. That is, newer believers can at least enjoy the safety of avoiding repercussions until they develop better reasons to follow God. Thankfully, as we mature and build a scriptural foundation, fear is replaced by both recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His wisdom.
Over time, following the Lord becomes less about consequences for disobeying and more about blessings for obeying. Once we taste His goodness, we learn that obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering results when we demand our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible as well as in day-to-day life, and the more we observe it, the more we realize the Lord’s will is the wisest choice.
All the promised blessings in the world cannot make a believer follow God into some frightening places. But that’s where love for our Father comes in, as it compels us toward obedience no matter what is at stake.
Today’s devotion really hit home for me. It’s true (at least for me anyway) that times of trouble often lead to the most spiritual growth. When my grandma died and then more recently when I’ve been dealing with unknown health issues is when I drew closer to God. It’s sad that sometimes that’s what it takes to draw us closer, but when we’re perfectly happy and content, it can be easy to forget God or not talk to him as much. In our troubles, we find ourselves reaching out to Him more for comfort, and then when His promises are proved faithful by Him pulling us through our trials, we learn to trust Him more.
FEBRUARY 21, 2021 SUNDAY
In looking back at your Christian journey so far, when did you experience the most spiritual growth? For many of us, it was during seasons of great discomfort. Jesus tells us we will encounter difficulties in the world (John 16:33), but that doesn’t mean we should just go about our life with resignation, waiting for something awful to happen.
Instead, we should try to think of waiting as an act of endurance—something that makes us more like Christ. And yet endurance looks different for each of us. Some people may become more active in serving their community, while others need to shift their focus inward—increasing in prayer, seeking wise counsel, and more consciously creating practices of giving thanks. Whatever it is, let us be encouraged to “run … the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Heb. 12:1-2).
THINK ABOUT IT
• Think about your seasons of greatest spiritual growth— or even the experience of coming to faith in Jesus. Was there a specific change or important occurrence in your life? Reflecting like this might help you identify the way God works—and perhaps see your circumstances differently, too.