Month: December 2023

Old Yeast

Old Yeast

“Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)

Examining Our Hearts

During the Passover feast, God commanded His people to remove all leaven from their homes.

Yeast causes bread to rise, picturing how sin swells up and permeates our lives.

This yearly ritual reminded Israelites to examine their hearts and take sin seriously.

As believers in Jesus, we also must regularly inspect our lives and root out “old leaven” – attitudes and behaviors that displease God.

Christ’s sacrifice frees us from sin’s power, making us new creations. However, we still struggle with remnants of our old nature that lead us astray if left unchecked.

Pride, greed, lust, bitterness, and selfishness can puff us up like yeast if not confronted and confessed.

Getting rid of sinful leaven requires brutal honesty. We must ask God to reveal blind spots and things sabotaging our spiritual growth.

While painful, facing the truth positions our hearts to be purified and transformed by the Holy Spirit’s cleansing fire.

Removing sin restores the sweet fellowship with Jesus that yeast corrodes.

Crumbs of Compromise

It only takes a small amount of yeast to leaven an entire lump of dough. Similarly, “little” sins or compromises spread and damage our whole lives if tolerated.

Believers often excuse gossip, white lies, inappropriate media, anger, or addictions as harmless. But these behaviors grieving the Spirit, have profound consequences if left unchecked.

Rationalizing and downplaying sins gives the enemy footholds. As issues accumulate over time, we become desensitized until flagrant wickedness seems normal.

Yeast is insidious and penetrating. The only solution is to sincerely confess specific sins and turn away from them.

We must remove even small bits of leaven to remain unleavened bread.

Living holy requires vigilance. Regularly evaluating our lives identifies areas needing God’s cleansing fire.

Even after cleansing, we must guard our hearts since sin crouches at the door.

Staying unleavened means promptly repenting when we stumble. God uses our trials to reveal and refine away sinful impurities.

Becoming New

Christ sacrificed Himself as the ultimate Passover Lamb to free us from sin and death.

Now saved by grace, we have a new unleavened identity in Him. Our old selves died on the cross so that we might live free in the Spirit.

However, living into our new natures requires intentionally removing the old leaven of wickedness.

As we increasingly yield control to the Spirit, He empowers us to reject temptations and walk in holiness.

Staying unleavened is only possible through relying on Christ’s strength. Our part is submitting our wills completely to Him.

God is pleased when we actively participate in the process of sanctification. Regular self-examination and repentance keep our lives pure and unleavened for Jesus’ glory.

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Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration
Becoming Spiritual Adults

Becoming Spiritual Adults

“Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly–mere infants in Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:1

Leaving Behind Childish Ways

When we first come to faith in Christ, we are like newborn babies – dependent, helpless, and lacking understanding.

Just as a baby needs milk and care from its mother, a new believer needs basic spiritual nourishment and discipleship to grow.

However, we are not meant to remain in this infant state forever. The goal is to mature into spiritual adults who live by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately, some believers get stuck in perpetual infancy. They never move beyond elementary teachings about God and live according to their fleshly impulses rather than the leading of the Spirit.

The Corinthian church struggled with this issue. Paul rebuked them for being worldly and acting like infants in Christ.

They were still feeding on milk when they should have been digesting solid food and living by the Spirit’s power.

To become spiritual adults, we must make a conscious effort to grow up in our faith. This requires dedicating ourselves to prayer, Bible study, fellowship, serving, and living out what we learn.

As we yield to the Spirit daily, He will transform us to be more like Jesus. Our actions and attitudes will become more Christlike.

We will gain spiritual wisdom and discernment to navigate life’s challenges. God wants us to keep maturing until we reach full maturity in Him.

Laying the Groundwork

A strong foundation is essential for any building to stand firm and tall. In the same way, our spiritual growth requires a solid basis upon which God can build our faith and Christlike character.

This groundwork includes understanding core doctrines like the Trinity, the deity of Christ, salvation by grace, and the authority of Scripture.

Knowing biblical truths about who God is and how He operates in the world anchors us when trials come.

Understanding theology helps prevent us from being deceived by false teachings and distorted views of God.

It equips us to discern truth from error and to recognize divine principles that transcend culture and circumstances.

The more rooted we are in sound doctrine, the more we are able to apply God’s Word wisely in practical areas of life.

Our beliefs directly impact our behavior. Building on solid theological groundwork enables us to grow upward into maturity.

Pressing Onward and Upward

Reaching higher levels of spiritual growth requires consistency and perseverance.

We must make seeking God a daily priority, not just a Sunday routine.

Intimacy with Christ comes through regularly praying, studying the Bible, and practicing what we learn. As we walk closely with Jesus day by day, His Spirit transforms us increasingly into His likeness.

It’s important to recognize that the path to maturity has ups and downs. We won’t completely arrive until reaching heaven. But through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can keep progressing.

When we stumble and regress to childish ways, God will lovingly discipline us and get us back on track if we let Him. His goal is for us to develop the mind of Christ and walk as Jesus did.

Pressing onward requires godly friends and mentors to encourage us, confess sins, answer questions, and model mature faith.

Their wisdom and accountability push us to go deeper with Christ. We must humble ourselves to learn from those further along.

Spiritual growth is a community project. Together, we help one another become mature disciples led by the Holy Spirit.

Living Out Our Faith

The ultimate proof of spiritual maturity is how we live.

If we claim faith but our behavior remains unchanged, something is off.

As we grow in Christ, our values, priorities, words, and deeds will align more with God’s kingdom and righteousness. The Holy Spirit transforms us from within so that our external lives radiate Jesus.

Mature believers live with integrity. They bridle their tongue, control inappropriate desires, and treat people with Christlike love.

Spiritual adults are quick to forgive, slow to anger, and invested in serving others.

They make decisions prayerfully based on biblical principles. Times of hardship reveal the depth of their spiritual roots and trust in God’s sovereignty.

Our lives should match the gospel we profess. The process of becoming spiritually mature equips us to represent Jesus well to a watching world.

If you like these daily devotionals; you may be interested in our daily
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Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration
Making Peace

Making Peace

    “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

Peace is an elusive commodity in our world.

Turn on the news and you’ll be bombarded with stories of strife and discord: wars, protests, political clashes, interpersonal conflicts.

Maintaining peace with others can seem like an impossible aspiration when there are so many forces working against it.

Yet as followers of Christ, we are called to “make every effort” to live at peace (Hebrews 12:14). This directive in Romans 12 makes clear our responsibility.

Peacemaking must begin with us, regardless of others’ attitudes and actions. We are to do all we can to promote peace.

Removing Barriers

Making peace requires examining our own hearts.

Do we harbor bitterness, nurse grudges, gossip, or cast judgment on others?

These destroy relationships and grieve the Holy Spirit. God wants us to take responsibility for removing inner barriers that hinder peace.

As we surrender past hurts to the Lord and walk in forgiveness, it clears away debris that chokes relationships.

Praying blessings over those who have wronged us cultivates empathy and softens hardened hearts.

And asking God to refine our speech and filter our words prevents many conflicts from igniting in the first place.

Depositing Seeds of Peace

Once inner walls come down through dealing with our own hearts, we can turn outward and actively deposit seeds of peace.

This starts with modeling qualities that defuse tension like patience, kindness, and self-control.

Taming our tongue and not returning insult for insult deprives quarrels of oxygen.

Lovingly confronting issues in their early stages, before they intensify, can prevent ruptured relationships.

Seeking to truly understand others’ perspectives rather than forcing our opinions fosters mutual edification.

God’s Peace in Us

Of course, living at peace is not fully up to us. We will encounter people who are difficult, divisive or downright antagonistic.

As much as it depends on us, we should pursue peace while trusting God with results that are out of our control.

And we can take comfort that God’s peace in our hearts is not contingent on perfect relationships.

By drawing near to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we tap into a wellspring of serenity that transcends circumstances.

His Spirit calms anxious thoughts, soothing relational tensions. Even when surrounded by hostility and chaos, we can know God’s peace guarding our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7).

Agents of Reconciliation

God calls peacemakers His children and tasks us with spreading peace in our spheres of influence (Matthew 5:9).

As ambassadors of reconciliation, we bring the ministry entrusted to us – one conversation, act of forgiveness, gesture of goodwill at a time (2 Corinthians 5:18-19).

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Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration
Overcoming Evil with Good

Overcoming Evil with Good

    “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” Romans 12:17

When someone wrongs us, our instinctive reaction is to strike back – to give them a taste of their own medicine.

If we’re insulted, we insult them back. If we’re mistreated, we seek to even the score. We tell ourselves we’re just standing up for what’s right and not letting them get away with it.

But while retaliation can provide a fleeting sense of satisfaction, it fails to heal the hurt we feel.

Trading evil for evil only breeds more animosity and discord.

Paul exhorts us to break free from reactionary retaliation. As followers of Christ, we’re called to take the high road and not mirror the wrong behavior of others.

Overcoming Evil

How do we overcome evil with good?

First, we refrain from reacting in kind. Rather than being controlled by evil events, we ask God for strength to control our response.

This requires tapping into God’s power to rein in our tongue, temper, and thoughts. We refrain from angry outbursts, bitter speech, or plotting revenge.

Instead, we bless those who hurt us through prayer and acts of kindness.

Luke 6:28

Second, we do what is right and honorable in God’s eyes. This means speaking truth with love, readily forgiving injuries, and trying to be at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).

We extend mercy not to condone wrongdoing but to point others to the transforming grace that’s changed our own hearts.

Breaking the Cycle

Each act of retaliation, no matter how slight, fuels a cycle of ongoing tit-for-tat. But by absorbing the blow without returning it, we interrupt the downward spiral.

Like detonating a bomb in mid-air, responding to evil with good defuses volatile situations.

It often pricks the conscience of our offender, prompting them to self-reflect. And it testifies that the love of Christ can overcome hatred and conflict.

Of course, not repaying evil for evil does not mean staying in abusive situations.

We may need to maintain firm boundaries or utilize the law to protect ourselves and others from harm. But even then, we do so without harboring bitterness.

Power of Good

Battling evil with evil unleashes more forces of destruction into the world. Battling evil with good unleashes the power of God.

When we let go of anger and embrace love, we are never overcome by evil.

God infuses each act of mercy and forgiveness with redemptive potential. By relying on His strength, evil can be overcome each time we choose good.

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Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration
Search Me, O God

Search Me, O God

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

In Psalm 139, David expresses awe at how intimately God knows us. The Lord scrutinizes our paths, our lying down, and our rising up. His hand is always upon us.

He discerns our thoughts from afar, knowing them fully before a word is on our tongue.

David says there is nowhere he could flee from God’s spirit and presence. Both height and depth are open before the Lord’s eyes.

Such omniscience could be terrifying – after all, nothing is hidden from God’s sight. But David does not find it oppressive.

Rather, he is comforted that God’s comprehensive knowledge of him is coupled with faithful love. The God who sees all is also the God who formed and knit us together in the womb.

Ask God to Search Your Hearts

Since God already sees all, David invites Him to keep searching deeply within.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart.”

Psalm 139:23

He welcomes the Lord’s examination because he knows it will lead to purity and restoration. Though God is fully aware of the contents of our hearts, He desires that we consciously open ourselves up to His refining work.

Asking God to search our hearts requires humility and courage.

Do we really want Him to dig up the sinful thoughts and motives we easily justify or ignore?

Are we ready to have Him chip away at prideful self-reliance and expose our deepest hurts and fears?

But the courageous prayer for God to search our hearts always results in blessings.

Offensive Ways

David specifically asks God to reveal any “offensive way” in him. The Hebrew word translated “offensive” connotes rebellion and wrongdoing.

These are the sins of both commission and omission – the wrong things we do as well as the good we fail to do.

When we harbor lies, nurse grudges, indulge in impurity, or operate out of selfish ambition, it grieves God’s Spirit. Defensive walls start rising up in our hearts, severing intimacy with Him.

But as the Lord graciously exposes the offensive ways in us, He extends mercy.

The wonder of the Cross is that Christ bore God’s wrath for our rebellion so we could be forgiven and cleansed.

When we confess and turn from offensive ways, the barriers separating us from God come tumbling down. Sweet fellowship with Him is restored.

The Way Everlasting

The fruit of God’s searching is “the way everlasting” – the path of righteousness that leads to eternal life.

As God excavates the offensive ways in us, He fills those empty spaces with more of His light and truth.

Sin’s stranglehold is broken; virtue and godliness take root. Our thoughts become more aligned with His thoughts; our desires are refined.

Walking in the way everlasting brings tremendous freedom and joy. The false selves we construct always end up enslaving us. But God wants to excavate our mess and shape our true identity as His beloved children.

Though the refining process can be painful, the destination of deeper intimacy with Christ makes it infinitely worthwhile.

If you like these daily devotionals; you may be interested in our daily
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Posted by onthesolidrock in Daily Inspiration, Faith