A 365 Day Devotional Journal
Scripture: Malachi 3:2-3; Matthew 3:11-12; James 4:4-8; 1 John 2:15-16.
In the southern part of British Columbia, Canada, is a fellowship that goes by the name of Christ our Life Christian Ministries. They are not big in the sense of being well known or in numbers, but as their title goes, Christ is their life.
I was recently made aware of this fellowship of believers through another site while listening to sermons of preachers who have gone on to be with the Lord. The original music coming from Christ our Life has a raw quality to it, but it is apparent to everyone I’ve shared the songs with that the Holy Spirit is all over it. Many of their songs contain simple chord progressions yet express a refreshing nakedness, a kind of soul-baring so rarely seen today.
Listening to their music today made me realize something. Until I am truly desperate for God to come to me with His Holy Fire, until I allow Him to consume me, to burn out of me all that is not of Him, until I am willing to die to this life, such worship like this won’t visit me.
My prayer for my family and my church is that we will not require a visit of devastating proportions to bring us into a place of brokenness before God and humble relationship with each other, with all of the people in our home and all of the people in our church.
Until I consider the thoughts and feelings of others – all of them – as of more importance than my own, until I am willing to die for the unlovely both in the street and in my church, I am not to that place of brokenness before God. I think sometimes we get it backwards in our walk with God. We think that we must first love the lost, and the church family will sort itself out.
In some ways we find it easier to love those we do not know, easier to overlook their flaws. After all, Jesus commands us to make disciples of all nations. But it is with those we know, if only slightly, that we seem to struggle the most. How can we do the work of an evangelist well if we are biting and devouring one another, if we only accept a few into our elitist group? This is fractured church family life at its best, and all we will do is raise up more believers who are just like us. Then we will have to account to God for what we’ve done.
Athol Dickson writes about the paradox of love in his book, The Gospel According to Moses: What my Jewish Friends Taught me about Jesus:
“If I try to love God with all my heart and soul and mind to the exclusion of everything else, I exclude love of my neighbor and risk viewing her as a distraction, a thing that interferes with my devotion to God. This is the mistake of pious hermits and those of us who prefer churches or synagogues to soup kitchens. But if I center all my attention on loving my neighbor as myself and forget about loving God, I find it impossible to maintain that neighborly love because I am no longer connected to the Source of love itself. This is the mistake of secular humanists. True love must flow from God through me to everyone else. I am merely the conduit.”1
Is it, perhaps, that we have actually allowed secular humanism to infiltrate both our hearts and our church that such issues are occurring with increasing regularity? That is my conclusion.
We are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus in several weeks. I can think of no better way to celebrate HIM than to be able to sing words like these from a heart full of brokenness and thanksgiving for the great gift God has given to us in Jesus…FIRE OF GOD Father cleanse these filthy hands I long for brokenness for all my sin and shame The tears You’ve wept outnumber the sands With every sin I know I break Your heart again Chorus Help me to understand Your pain When I conform to this world, and blaspheme Your holy name Help me to understand Your Word If I’m a friend of this world it’s hatred towards my God Fire of God, burn in me, consume all my wickedness So I will not love this world So I will not be a friend of this world any longer So I will not be a friend of this world any longer Father break my prideful heart I come before You humbly, so I can stand And wash my dirty feet I’ve wandered from Your path and walked on unholy land.¹
Read: Malachi 3:2-3; Matthew 3:11-12; James 4:4-8; 1 John 2:15-16. Journal your private thoughts.
Father God, make me a living sacrifice. I choose to forsake all. I choose to lay down everything so that I may take up my cross and follow You. Let not the sacrifice of Your son be in vain. For the sake of Jesus, and for the kingdom’s, amen.
1Quote from p. 72, The Gospel According to Moses: What My Jewish Friends Taught Me about Jesus. Copyright © 2003, Dickson, Athol. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2003. Print.
²”Fire of God.” Living Sacrifice. Copyright © 2010. Christ Our Life Christian Ministries. Abbotsford, B.C. Canada. http://www.christourlife.ca/index.html The song was too large to upload to this post but you may listen to it here: http://www.christourlife.ca/New%20Worship%20CD/03%20Fire%20Of%20God.mp3
Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise