Embracing Grace: Vertical Growth Brings Linear Change

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 43

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; Psalm 102:25-27; Jeremiah 2:10-12; Daniel 2:20-22; Amos 5:6-15; Romans 12:21

Photo Credit: jonycunha / CC BY-SA 2.0

Like a plant that springs forth from the earth, change is inevitable yet takes time – time to till, time to sow, time to water, time to grow, time to reap. It is part of living the linear life. But God does not want us to be consumed with linear thinking. When we focus our thoughts on Him, when we become heavenly minded, only then can we be of any real, earthly good. It does not do to just go through the motions of godly living. That is religion. But when we, out of a desire to come closer to God, dedicate our little actions, our very thoughts, to the one who created us, then the change comes. This sort of change is evident to everyone else but us, because our focus is fixed on God, not what is going on around us.

To become God-focused, then, is the goal.

I could do all sorts of “things” that on the outside appear to be good things, yet they would not be God things unless out of a heart fixed on him I am humbly led to do them. For example, I could bake cookies and give them to the needy at Christmas, sew quilts for the local shelter, volunteer at the soup kitchen over every Thanksgiving, wear used clothing because I saw no need in wasting money, etc., etc., but if my focus is to be noticed by others for my “godly” behavior, then it is wasted effort. My reward has already been given.

As another example, is it possible to attend black tie fund raisers for the hurting segments of society, be diligent in all ways at church, memorize scripture, home school my children, teach a class at church, commit to seasonal fasts, volunteer at community outreaches and ensure that a good portion of my personal funds go to the local shelters over and above my church tithe, yet still not be right with God? Of course it is. It is all a heart issue.

All these things alone are things of linear value, linear living. As a believer, my greatest concern needs to be vertical first, then linear. My life needs to be concerned with vertical thoughts, vertical change, vertical growth.

Just as a plant grows toward the sun, so must my life grow toward the Son. When my focus is upward, the linear growth also occurs, but it is not noticed by me, for my eyes are on the Father.

Read: 1 Corinthians 15:50-52; Psalm 102:25-27; Jeremiah 2:10-12; Daniel 2:20-22; Amos 5:6-15; Romans 12:21. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, I want to grow closer to you without neglecting the needs of others around me. I want to reach out to those around me without neglecting my relationship with You. Help, Lord, to find balance in focusing on You, trusting as Mary did, that I have found the better part. For Jesus’ sake, and for the kingdom’s, amen.


Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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