Daily Devotionals: Sept. 15 - Sept.18
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
This week's devotionals are written by students! If you are interested in writing a devotional for RUF please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sept. 15 - Prepared by Pete Johnson
Paul writes a letter to the church that he started in Corinth a few years prior after hearing of the strife and division that was threatening the integrity of his friends. After Paul left, the people of Corinth became spiritually arrogant, sexually immoral, and simply misunderstood basic Christian teachings. Paul wrote this letter to restore balance to the church, and he did so with straightforward advice. Chapter 12 talks about spiritual gifts and the body of Christ. Chapter 13 offers uplifting words about love.
Read 1 Corinthians 12-13 (it’s only 44 verses!)
What spiritual gift(s) might you possess? And if you need help finding out your gift...
❖ Look to Romans 12:6-8; Eph 4:11-12; 1Pe 4:10-11 for guidance
❖ Go to God in prayer, because God the Holy Spirit chooses our gifts (1Co 12:11) and is willing and able to reveal them to us.
How can you love better?
❖ Write down one or two ways that you can love people better this week. Who can you be intentional with? Who can you check in on? Who can you eat a meal with?
❖ Serve! We don’t have to know our gifts to get involved in ministry, and it can even help us figure out what they are.
In 1Co 12:12-31, Paul reminds us that all spiritual gifts serve a purpose and are equal in God’s eyes. In these verses, Paul compares the body of the church to the human body, because every part -- whether weak or small -- serves a purpose. We all matter, and we’re all loved by God and have our own ways of glorifying His name. If they are not known to us now, the Lord will reveal our spiritual gifts to us in His perfect timing.
1 Co 13:1-3 ties in well with all of chapter 12, because it points out that using spiritual gifts without genuine love towards others is all in vain. If we have even a hint of selfish ambition or vain conceit (Php 2:3-4) when using our gifts, then they are useless and will not be credited as righteousness. However, when we use our spiritual gifts in loving ways, our gifts are of genuine service to the church. Since love is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), it is love that unifies the church, and our gifts help accomplish the goal of unification. Verses 4-8 offer characteristics of love that help us understand what the word means. True love is genuine, patient, and kind as opposed to envious, boastful, and arrogant. Here’s an acronym that you can use to live out the way of love daily:
❖ Listen to friends and family! Always be present with the person you’re engaging, without a wandering mind but one that shows them you care for them and want to hear from them. Don’t let distractions get in the way of conversations/relationships(James 1:19-20).
❖ Overlook faults in others, and forgive them of wrongs. Don’t be so quick to call people out in judgement for their mistakes, as we are not perfect ourselves (Mt. 7:3-5)
❖ Value others above yourselves, and don’t let busyness get in the way of relationships.
❖ Express your love to others! Make intentional gestures to show love, or go tell someone you love them, you could even go write a letter!
God, there is power in your name. Open my heart and take away my self-absorption, fill me instead with humility and broken-hearted reliance on you. If it is your will, please reveal the spiritual gifts you have laid out for me. I pray that you fill me with the desire to serve you, and that you provide me with opportunities to glorify your name. I pray that you would bring me strength daily and fill me with love and joy that leaks out to those around me. Help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry with everyone I meet, so that they may see what love looks like and be curious as to what makes me different. I pray that your Word will discomfort me as I am too comfortable, so that I can look to you in full dependency. Thank you for the love that you’ve extended to me God, I am so undeserving and have earned nothing. It is out of your grace and mercy that you have restored my soul. God, I love you and I trust in your plan for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Sept. 17 - Prepared by Caroline Cox
In addition, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a safeguard for you.
2 Watch out for the dogs, watch out for the evil workers, watch out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh— 4 although I have reasons for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; 6 regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.
7 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ[a]—the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.
When I ask myself, “Did I have a good day today?” I often find myself holding up what I did to these little measuring sticks- was I productive? Did I go to all of my classes? Do my friends still like me? I use these sticks to measure my self worth up against to see if I am satisfactory for the day. Ultimately this forest of measuring sticks begin to define my life and who I am.
At the beginning of Philippians 3, Paul begins the chapter by saying, “In addition, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write to you again about this is no trouble for me and is a safeguard for you.” Paul is giving them instructions on how to rejoice in the Lord because ultimately, our call in life is to simply rejoice in Christ. What we find our identity in is things we rejoice in. I have to ask myself, when was the last time I genuinely rejoiced in the Lord? It is not an impossible task- in fact Paul even says that it is a safeguard - the safest way to live is a life that rejoices in the Lord. However, I find myself rejoicing in the things of the world- grades, approval, relationships. I rejoice in submitting to the measuring sticks despite constantly falling short. None of these are necessarily bad things. Paul lists off his resume and every single reason he should be admired. And yet he counts it all as rubbish compared to the sheer wonder and awe of knowing Christ. He walked away from that because he knew Jesus. To know Jesus will ultimately lead to rejoicing in him. Every single measuring stick is rubbish compared to knowing Him. Why do I continue to place my confidence in the flesh instead of participating in the highest joy of knowing who the Lord is and rejoicing in Him because of it? We are called to put our identity in Jesus and to live a life in worship filled with a desire to know him- and he destroys every measuring stick I set for myself.
Questions for reflection:
What am I rejoicing in?
What are my measuring sticks?
When was the last time I simply rejoiced in the Lord?
What am I doing to know the Lord better?