The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Month: March, 2017

Lent Devotional: John 13:1-20

John 13:1-20 (click here)
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” (John 13:3-5 and 12-15)

Reflection
We grasp, scrape, and strive to have and keep whatever we want in life. We come into this life with closed fists and that is how we continue to live.

Yet here is Jesus… who has literally had all things given into his hands by God himself. And it is that very knowledge that motivates Christ not to live close-fisted, but open-handed. The truth that he owns all and is the Son of God over all is the very thing that leads him to kneel and wash the feet of his disciples.

How does that work?

It actually makes perfect sense if you think about it. All things had been given into Jesus’ hand… so he didn’t have to grasp, scrape, and strive for anything… it was all his. He didn’t have to live with closed fists in order to cling and keep what was his… all was secured by God his Father. His inheritance wasn’t going anywhere.

His relationship were secure. God was his Father… he came from him and was returning to him. His future was secure. Knowing this truth leads to complete and total freedom! Christ could live totally and completely sacrificially… with open hands… for he had no need to grasp for anything…

…neither do we.

Through Christ, we have been made sons and daughters of God. All things are ours (1 Corinthians 3:21-23). We don’t have to live grasping, scraping, and striving to gain and keep the things this world has to offer… no… our inheritance is secured by an unshakeable relationship with our Father… the sovereign God over all!

Such knowledge empowers us to live with open hands… sacrificing our lives for others… because in the end it’s not really sacrifice… even death isn’t a sacrifice… it’s gain!

And so, because we know, like Christ, that all things are ours and we will dwell with God our Father forever, Jesus can and does call us to be a community that mirrors his sacrificial love. A community that knees to wash the feet of one another and the world… a cruciform community.

 
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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Lent Devotional: Luke 10:25-36

Luke 10:25-36 (click here)
…desiring to justify himself, [he] said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

Reflection
Law-keeping, list-checking, legalism.

I’m an addicted to the high legalism offers through the drug of self-justification.

If Jesus will just give me the list, show me the boxes that need to be checked then I can make quick work of this “holiness” thing. This was the desire of the lawyer in Luke 10. He knew the requirements of the law… to love God and neighbor… but that second one seemed a bit too vague. He needed to make sure he had or could check off that box. He needed to be able to justify himself. So he asked Jesus to define, draw a box around the meaning of “neighbor.”

But Jesus refuses to make “loving your neighbor” an item on our “to do” list.

So… through one of his most famous parables, Jesus does what only he can do… he blows up our categories, resets the way we see the world, and puts our “to do” list through the paper shredder.

The “Good Samaritan” is annihilates the notion that the law of God is merely about list keeping and box checking. Jesus shows us that the law is aimed at the heart. Loving your neighbor is not merely a command to which your external actions should conform… it is a call that requires your heart’s affections to transform!

You cannot draw a box around compassion. You cannot make love a line item to be completed. You cannot check “loving your neighbor” off a list.

We need to be saved from our law-keeping, list-checking, legalism. We need to be rescued from our addiction to self-justification. We do not need Jesus to define “neighbor…” we need Jesus to be our savior!

And I have good news… Gospel news…

Christ died and rose for our justification, our transformation, and our ultimate glorification.

Have the affections of your heart been transformed by Jesus? Do we hear the call of Christ to love God and neighbor as another item to be placed on our “to do” list so? Do we hear that as something that has limits, a finish line, a box that can be checked and marked as completed?

Or…

Does Christ’s call stir up love in our transformed heart? Does it sound like a call, not to a task to be accomplished, but to a totally new way to live? Is our relationship with Jesus about merely conforming our external actions to a new set of rules… or is it about the transforming and transferring of our internal affections to a new ruler… to Jesus?

The good news of the Gospel doesn’t call us to be a law-keeping, list-checking, legalistic community… no… it calls us to be a Christ-empowered, compassion-driven, cruciform community.

*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Mark 2:1-12

Mark 2:1-12 (click here)
And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:3-5)

Reflection
How many times have you almost give up?

How many times have you almost lost faith?

How many times?

In my own life, the fight for faith has all too often seemed like a losing battle… and I know that I would surely be lost were it not for God’s gracious gift of community. In the darkness, when my faith cannot see, I’m surrounded by brothers and sisters who fight for me. Persevering in the faith is a community project. The fight of faith is one for an army… not merely individual soldiers.

In Mark 2, how many times had this paralytic almost given up? How many times had his friends almost lost faith? How many times? Yet, they fought the fight together. They made their way to Jesus together. They burrowed through that roof together. They lowered their friend to the feet of Jesus together…

And when Jesus saw THEIR faith… the faith of this paralytic and his friends… the faith of this community… the faith they had likely fought to sustain… Jesus saw THEIR faith… and sins were forgiven… limbs were restored… salvation was accomplished… by the grace of Jesus through faith.

I’m not sure if you feel like giving up right now…

I’m not sure if you are losing faith…

I’m not sure…

BUT, I am sure that God has given you a gracious gift in the cruciform community called the church. You are not alone in this fight of faith… you are not alone in your perseverance… you are not alone.

In the darkness, when your faith cannot see, you are surrounded by brothers and sisters who fight for you! Don’t isolate yourself and go at this alone. Perseverance is a community project… let the community be your army in the fight of faith! We are prepared to carry you to Jesus, burrow through any barrier, and lay you at his feet.

 
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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