Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.
If you want to have a decreasing frequency of sin in your life and an increasing amount of spiritual growth, you must acknowledge your responsibility. Don’t blame your circumstances, your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your boss, your employees, or your pastor. Don’t even blame the devil. Your sin is your fault. Certainly the world’s system can contribute to the problem, but sin ultimately occurs as an act of the will—and you are responsible for it.
Perhaps one of the best examples of someone who learned how to take responsibility was the prodigal son. When he returned home to his loving father, he said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son” (Luke 15:21). He was even willing to be treated as a humble laborer because he knew he didn’t deserve anything (v. 19). That is the right attitude of one who confesses sin.
|February 13||Evidences of God’s Power|
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know … what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”
God’s power is seen in creation, preservation, redemption, and resurrection.
Think of all the energy we get from the sun, and multiply that by the innumerable stars in space. But God by His great power created all the stars with no effort whatsoever: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host” (Ps. 33:6). He just spoke, and they were made.
God’s power also preserves the universe. Christ “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3), and “in Him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Chaos would result unless His sustaining hands were directing the orderliness of creation (Ps. 104; Jer. 31:35–36).
God’s power was beautifully demonstrated at the cross. Satan was subdued, death was conquered, and the penalty for our sins was paid. The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes” (Rom. 1:16). When we were saved, God made each of us “a new creature” (2 Cor. 5:17). Not only that, but “He who began a good work in [us] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God’s power saved us and gives us strength to live lives pleasing to Him.
The power of God is also made evident in resurrection. Did you know that someday God is going to resurrect every human being who ever lived? The righteous will be raised to eternal life, and the unrighteous to eternal damnation (John 5:28–29; Rev. 20:11–15). Billions of people, long dead, will be resurrected. What tremendous power!
Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for the power He has shown in His beautiful creation. ✧ Thank God that by His power He made you into a new creation and will someday raise you to eternal life.
For Further Study: Psalm 33 is a song of praise to God for His power and sovereignty. Examine what it teaches about God’s power, and read it as your own prayer of praise.
THE DEEPER LIFE
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.
I almost shrink from hearing the expression, “the deeper life,” because so many people want to talk about it as a topic—but no one seems to want to know and love God for Himself!
God is the deeper life! Jesus Christ Himself is the deeper life, and as I plunge on into the knowledge of the triune God, my heart moves on into the blessedness of His fellowship. This means that there is less of me and more of God—thus my spiritual life deepens, and I am strengthened in the knowledge of His will.
I think this is what Paul meant when he penned that great desire, “That I may know him!” He was expressing more than the desire for acquaintance—he was yearning to be drawn into the full knowledge of fellowship with God which has been provided in the plan of redemption. ITB017-018
Lord, I want to know You more, that I might enter into lasting fellowship with You. May that be my deep desire and not just a topic for spiritual discussion. Amen. 
The Way to Humility
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:3
Achieving humility doesn’t mean merely putting yourself down. Because of sin, you are already spiritually down, whether you know it or not; humility just recognizes this truth. Furthermore, this recognition comes only from God, which is why asceticism, self-denial, and other human efforts are so futile in seeking humility.
Yet even though genuine humility results from God’s sovereign, saving work, He still commands it of men and women (cf. Matt. 18:4; 23:12; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5). Therefore it is always helpful to remember some basic steps to take from our side of the divine equation.
First, we must take our eyes off ourselves and look to God—through study of the Word, time in prayer, and sincerely desiring to be close to Him. Second, we must starve our flesh by removing the things on which it feeds. This means removing those things that promote pride. Third, and most important, we must simply ask for it. God alone can help us keep our lives in balanced perspective, and He will respond when we seek humility with all our hearts. David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10). He desired to be steadfastly humble, and knew only God could grant such a request. The Father stands ready to answer this prayer long before we even utter it—humility is that important.
|Fashion your own prayer today, deliberately confessing your tendency toward pride, acknowledging your inability to conjure up true humility within yourself, and asking for the Lord’s enablement in pursuing a life of genuine, godly perspective. He will love hearing this prayer from you.|
OUR HIGHEST HAPPINESS
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Let me call it to your attention that the happiness of all moral creatures lies in the giving of obedience to God, the Creator.
The psalmist cries out in Psalm 103:20: “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”
The angels in heaven find their complete freedom and highest happiness in obeying the commandments of God. They do not find it a tyranny—they find it a delight!
Here is something that we should know and realize: Heaven is a place of surrender to the whole will of God, and it is heaven because it is such a place.
I thank God that heaven is the world of God’s obedient children. Whatever else we may say of its pearly gates, golden streets and jasper walls, heaven is heaven because children of the Most High God find they are in their normal sphere as obedient moral beings.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your patience with me as I learn to obey You more fully in my daily walk with You.
|February 13||The Joy of Anticipation|
“I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it” (Phil. 1:6).
God always finishes what He starts.
All who love Christ desire to be like Him in spiritual perfection and absolute holiness. We want to please Him in every respect. However, that noble pursuit is often met with frustration and discouragement as human frailties and sin block our pathway.
Paul’s cry in Romans 7 is ours as well: “That which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. … I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. … Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (vv. 15, 21, 24). His answer resonates with confidence and relief: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v. 25).
Paul was convinced that God always completes the good work of salvation He begins in every new believer—a work that progressively conforms us to the image of His Son (2 Cor. 3:18). That might seem like a painfully slow process at times, but be assured He will complete it. All whom He justifies will be glorified (Rom. 8:29–30).
In the meantime, you have an active role to play in the process. Paul called it “work[ing] out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). You must discipline yourself for holiness through prayer, Bible study, obedience, and accountability to other believers. All the resources you need are at your disposal as God Himself works in you to produce “His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Rejoice in knowing that you belong to God and that He is conforming you to the image of His Son. See every event of this day as part of that process. Yield to the Spirit’s prompting, and take heart that God will accomplish His will.
Suggestions for Prayer: Give thanks to God, who is able “to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy” (Jude 24). ✧ Express the desire to discipline yourself for godliness. Ask for wisdom in taking advantage of all the spiritual resources available to you as a believer.
For Further Study: Read Hebrews 10:19–25. ✧ What should be your attitude when approaching God? ✧ What is your responsibility in light of God’s promises?
DIVINE LOVE: NECESSITY FOR THE CHURCH ON EARTH
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne…He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
REVELATION 3:21, 22
The kind of Christianity that relies upon the influence of its own human and earthly power makes God sick, for the church of Jesus Christ is a heavenly institution.
For myself, if I could not have the divine power of God, I would walk out and quit the whole religious business. The church that wants God’s power will have something to offer besides social clubs, knitting societies and all of the other side issues.
If any church is to be a church of Christ, the living, organic member of that redeemed Body of which Christ is the Head, then its teachers and its members must strive earnestly and sacrificially with constant prayer to do a number of things.
We must strive to make our beliefs and practices New Testament in their content. We must teach and believe New Testament truths, with nothing dragged in from the outside.
We must keep our little field of God’s planting healthy, and there is only one way to do that: keep true to the Word of God! We must constantly go back to the grass roots and get the Word into the church.
We must live to gear ourselves into things eternal and to live the life of heaven here upon the earth, empowered by the Spirit of God with that same power that came on the earliest believers. We must put loyalty to Christ first at any cost. Anything less than that really is not a Christian church!
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 56). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.
 MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 52). Chicago: Moody Publishers.
 Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 56). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.