January 31, 2017: Daily Devotional Guide Collection

January 31

Eager for Service

So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

Romans 1:15

 

Are you happy and eager to fulfill the responsibility God has committed to your care? As you can tell from today’s verse, that was Paul’s attitude. He was consumed with doing the work of the ministry. His personal life was never the issue. Life had only one purpose for him, and that was doing the will of God. He was always eager to preach.

Paul was like a racehorse in the gate or a sprinter in the blocks—waiting to gain the victory. God had to hold him back once in a while because he was so ready to go. Are you as eager? Is that the kind of service you render, or does someone have to prod you along with all their might just to get you involved? If your service to Christ comes from your whole heart, then you will be eager.[1]


January 31 What Matters Most

“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”

Ephesians 4:1

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Compared to walking worthy of Christ, nothing else is really important.

Let’s review what Paul has taught us from Ephesians 4:1–6. God has chosen and called us to be part of His family, and He expects us to act like His children. He wants us to walk worthy of Christ and be unified.

To follow God’s will in this, we must, with His help, deal with our sin and develop godly virtues. Our lives must first be marked by “all humility” (v. 2). We become humble when we see ourselves as unworthy sinners and see the greatness of God and Christ. Pride will always be a temptation, but we can resist it if we remember that we have nothing to be proud about; every good thing we have is from God. He alone deserves the glory; we can take no credit.

Humility produces “gentleness,” which is power under control. Gentle people willingly submit to God and others. They may become angry over what dishonors God, but they are forgiving to those who hurt them.

“Patience” flows from gentleness. A patient person endures negative circumstances, copes with difficult people, and accepts God’s plan for everything.

We must “love” others with a forbearing love. Christian love is selfless, and forbearance keeps us from gossiping about the failures of others and causes us to love our enemies.

“Unity” (v. 3) is the goal of the worthy walk, and only diligent believers who pursue these virtues of the worthy walk will contribute to such unity. Because we have one Body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Father, we should behave as a unified people. Then we will have the effective testimony God wants for us.

Only one thing really matters from the moment you become a Christian until the day you see Jesus—that you walk worthy of Him. What you own, what you know, and what you do for a living are not all that important.

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Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God to give you the resolve to walk worthy every day.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 11 and perhaps some related Old Testament passages, and note what was representative of the main characters’ walks with the Lord.[2]


JANUARY 31

TO PUSH INTO THE PRESENCE

When he came down from the mount… Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

—Exodus 34:29

Such worship as Faber knew (and he is but one of a great company which no man can number) can never come from a mere doctrinal knowledge of God. Hearts that are “fit to break” with love for the Godhead are those who have been in the Presence and have looked with opened eye upon the majesty of Deity. Men of the breaking hearts had a quality about them not known to nor understood by common men. They habitually spoke with spiritual authority. They had been in the presence of God and they reported what they saw there.

They were prophets, not scribes, for the scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells what he has seen. The distinction is not an imaginary one. Between the scribe who has read and the prophet who has seen there is a difference as wide as the sea. We are overrun today with orthodox scribes, but the prophets, where are they? The hard voice of the scribe sounds over evangelicalism, but the Church waits for the tender voice of the saint who has penetrated the veil and has gazed with inward eye upon the wonder that is God. And yet, thus to penetrate, to push in sensitive living experience into the holy Presence, is a privilege open to every child of God. POG040-041

Take me into the Presence, Lord, that I might tell others what I have seen and be a prophet for today, not merely another scribe. Amen. [3]


January 31

Jesus Summons Peter and Andrew

Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother.—Matt. 4:18a

When Jesus called His first disciples, such as Peter and Andrew, He was gathering together the original group of evangelists to help fulfill His Great Commission. The Lord had the sovereign prerogative to carry out the Great Commission by Himself, but that was not His plan. Instead, He wanted to have partners in ministry. His plan was to use disciples to make other disciples. Jesus would teach them other things and mandate other responsibilities, but His first call to the disciples was for them to be “fishers of men.”

Jesus’ decision to select twelve apostles follows the pattern God established many centuries earlier. The Father always chose His most significant partners in ministry, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and all the prophets. He chose Israel as an entire nation of ministry partners—“a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:6). So it is no wonder that Christ told the disciples, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain” (John 15:16; cf. 6:70; 13:18; Rom. 16:5).

Our Lord commands that all His followers be evangelistic fishermen. The command “follow Me” in the Greek literally means “come here.” The original text also has the term “after,” which indicates the place we must come to: “Your place is following after Me!” This is His chosen place and posture for you.

ASK YOURSELF
If we truly knew the gravity of this, we would never get over our amazement that the God of the universe has chosen to live in relationship with us. What goes missing from your life when you forget that you have been personally called by God to your kingdom tasks and priorities?[4]

JANUARY 31

A DIVINE VOICE CALLS

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

Genesis 3:9

 

There is a divine voice that continues to call. It is the voice of the Creator God, and it is entreating us. Just as the shepherd went everywhere searching for his sheep, just as the woman in the parable went everywhere searching for her coin, so there is a divine search with many variations of the voice that entreats us, calling us back.

If we were not lost, there would be no Father’s voice calling us to return, calling us back. So, I say again that we have not been given up.

Think of the Genesis account: Adam fleeing from the face of God, hiding among the trees of the garden. It was then that the sound of God’s gentle voice was heard, saying “[Adam,] where are you?”

I would remind you that His seeking voice has never died out. The echo of that voice is sounding throughout the widening years. It has never ceased to echo and reecho from peak to peak, from generation to generation, from race to race, and continent to continent, and off to islands and back to the continent again. Throughout all of man’s years, “Adam, where are you?” has been the faithful call.

 

I pray earnestly, O God, that I may not be found among those with hardened hearts, no longer able to hear Your voice. Please speak to me today…I’m listening.[5]


January 31 Complementing Christ

God exalted Christ “and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22–23).

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The church was designed to complement Christ.

Here Paul uses a graphic analogy to illustrate the relationship of Christ to the church: He is the head; believers are His Body. Paul elaborates that we’re to hold “fast to the head [Christ], from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God” (Col. 2:19; cf. Eph. 4:15–16).

Just as the head controls the human body, so Christ governs His Body, the church (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–31). By His Spirit and His Word He supplies all the resources the church needs to function to His glory. In that way He guarantees that His purposes will be fulfilled.

The church is in fact “the fulness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). The implication is that the incomprehensible, all-sufficient, all-powerful, and utterly supreme Christ is in a sense incomplete—not in His nature, but in the degree to which His glory is seen in the world.

A synonym for “fulness” is “complement.” The church was designed to complement Christ. He is the One who “fills all in all”—the fullness of deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9) and the giver of truth and grace (John 1:14). Yet He chooses to reveal His glory in and through the church. Therefore, until the church is fully glorified, Christ will not be fully complemented.

Does your life complement Christ? Do you “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” (Titus 2:10)? Do you “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)? You have every spiritual resource to do so, so don’t let anything hold you back (Heb. 12:1–2).

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Read Psalm 139:23–24 and pray with David that God will search your heart and reveal any sin that might hinder you from complementing Christ today.

For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 12:1–30. ✧ What spiritual gifts are mentioned in this passage? ✧ How does Paul deal with the misconception that some gifts are more important than others (see vv. 14–30)? ✧ As a member of Christ’s Body, you are gifted by the Spirit to minister to others. Are you doing so?[6]


JANUARY 31

TEACH THE BIBLE WITH HIGH MORAL OBLIGATION

…Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

ROMANS 6:13

Much that passes for New Testament Christianity is little more than objective truth sweetened with song, and made palatable by religious entertainment.

I take the risk of being misunderstood when I say that probably no other portion of the Scriptures can compare with the Pauline Epistles when it comes to making artificial saints. Peter warned that the unlearned and unstable would wrest Paul’s writings to their own destruction, and we have only to visit the average Bible conference and listen to a few lectures to know what he meant!

The ominous thing is that the Pauline doctrines may be taught with complete faithfulness to the letter of the text without making the hearers one whit better. The teacher may and often does so teach the truth as to leave the hearers without a sense of moral obligation.

One reason for the divorce between truth and life may be lack of the Spirit’s illumination. Another surely is the teacher’s unwillingness to get himself into trouble. Any man with fair pulpit gifts can get on with the average congregation if he just “feeds” them and lets them alone. Give them plenty of objective truth and never hint that they are wrong and should be set right, and they will be content!

But the man who preaches truth and applies it to the lives of his hearers will feel the nails and the thorns. He will lead a hard life—but a glorious one![7]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 42). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[3] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[4] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 39). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[5] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[6] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 43). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[7] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

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