A Mark of the Christian
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
1 John 1:9
The apostle John wrote his first epistle to define the difference between a Christian and an unbeliever. Our verse for today indicates that confession characterizes the former. The next verse says, “If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar” (v. 10). Unregenerate men deny their sin, but Christians take responsibility for it and confess it.
Confession of sin doesn’t take place only at salvation. It continues, as faith does, throughout the life of a believer. A willingness to confess sin is part of the pattern of life that characterizes every believer. That pattern also includes love (1 John 3:14), separation from the world (2:15), and instruction by the Holy Spirit (2:27). Of course there are varying degrees of confession—sometimes we don’t make as full a confession as we should—but a true believer eventually acknowledges his sin.
|February 14||Our Response to God’s Power|
“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength…. They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
Relying on God’s power gives us confidence to live as Christians.
What should be our response to God’s power? First, we should worship Him. Our response should follow what God told Israel: “The Lord, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, and to Him you shall bow yourselves down, and to Him you shall sacrifice” (2 Kings 17:36).
Understanding God’s power should also give us confidence: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). Because of His strength, we can live the Christian life each day with confidence. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Eph. 3:20).
Our eternal hope rests on the power of God. His power saved us and will “raise [us] up on the last day” (John 6:40). That day should be the great hope of the Christian, because whatever troubles we have on earth, our heavenly destiny is still secure.
When I’m tempted to worry, I’m comforted to remember that God’s power is greater than any problem I have. The psalmist says, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from whence shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2). The God who made everything can certainly handle our troubles!
God’s power also gives us spiritual victory. Paul instructs us to “be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (Eph. 6:10). When the adversary comes and you’re on guard, you don’t fight him; you go tell the commander, and he leads the battle. God will bring about the victory because “greater is He who is in [us] than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Satan may be powerful, but he’s no match for God.
Finally, understanding God’s power gives us humility. Peter exhorts us, “Humble yourselves … under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6). Apart from God’s gracious power we are nothing and can do nothing (John 15:5).
Suggestions for Prayer: Thank God for each of these ways He uses His power for our benefit.
For Further Study: Read Psalm 121. In what ways does God demonstrate His power to us?
WE HAVE ALL THE REST
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Again, part of the answer we are looking for is the fact that so many professing Christians just want to get things from God. Anyone can write a book now that will sell—just give it a title like, Seventeen Ways to Get Things from God! You will have immediate sales. Or, write a book called, Fourteen Ways to Have Peace of Mind—and away they go by the ton. Many people seem to be interested in knowing God for what they can get out of Him.
They do not seem to know that God wants to give Himself. He wants to impart Himself with His gifts. Any gift that He would give us would be incomplete if it were separate from the knowledge of God Himself….
I feel that we must repudiate this great, modern wave of seeking God for His benefits. The sovereign God wants to be loved for Himself and honored for Himself, but that is only part of what He wants. The other part is that He wants us to know that when we have Him, we have everything—we have all the rest. Jesus made that plain when He said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). ITB024-025
Lord, I know that in having You I will have everything I could ever need. Just give me Yourself today, Lord, and that’s enough. Amen. 
Recognizing Our Humility, Part 1
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.—Matt. 5:3
The Puritan Thomas Watson, in his book The Beatitudes, discusses many principles to help the believer recognize his or her humility—those spiritual fruits that enable us to determine whether or not humility is actually growing within us. Here are three.
First, if we are truly humble, we will be weaned from ourselves and have no more constant self-preoccupation. Paul expresses it beautifully this way: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Second, if we are really humble we will be lost in the wonder of Jesus Christ. We will contemplate “as in a mirror the glory of the Lord … being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). We’ll look forward to the day when we’ll be just like our Lord.
And third, no matter how bad life’s situations get, we will not complain. We’ll understand that we deserve far worse than anything we experience in this life. When tragedy comes, our first response won’t be, “Why me, Lord?” Instead, we’ll fully appreciate that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
|Could you honestly say you’re detecting growth in these three areas? It’s not “proud” to recognize it, to give God glory for what He’s producing in you by His Spirit. If you’re not seeing this kind of spiritual development, ask yourself what needs to change.|
ACTIVITY IS NOT ENOUGH
And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart…and rest a while.
Those who try to give warnings to the Christian church are never very popular. Still, I must voice the caution that our craze for “activity” brings very few enriching benefits into our Christian circles. Look into the churches, and you will find groups of half-saved, half-sanctified, carnal people who know more about social niceties than they do about the New Testament.
It is a fact that many of our church folks are activists—engaged in many religious journeys—but they do not seem to move up any closer to Jesus in heart and in spirit.
This modern religious emphasis on activity reminds me of the Japanese mice I have seen in the pet store windows. They are called waltzing mice—but they do not waltz. They just run continually!
Many in our churches hope to have a part in “something big and exciting.” But God calls us back—back to the simplicity of the faith; back to the simplicity of Jesus Christ and His unchanging Person!
Dear Lord, help me to find some quiet moments in the midst of today’s schedule to focus my thoughts on Your goodness and mercy.
|February 14||The Joy of Glorification|
“I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).
Someday God will glorify and reward every believer.
For Christians there’s an element of truth to the bumper sticker that reads, “Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me yet.” We aren’t what we used to be, but there’s much to be done to make us all He wants us to be. Yet, God’s work within us is so sure and so powerful that Scripture guarantees its completion.
Pondering that guarantee led Bible expositor F. B. Meyer to write: “We go into the artist’s studio and find there unfinished pictures covering large canvas, and suggesting great designs, but which have been left, either because the genius was not competent to complete the work, or because paralysis laid the hand low in death; but as we go into God’s great workshop we find nothing that bears the mark of haste or insufficiency of power to finish, and we are sure that the work which His grace has begun, the arm of His strength will complete” (The Epistle to the Philippians [Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1952], p. 28).
The completion of God’s work in you will come at a future point in time that Paul calls “the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). Scripture also speaks of “the day of the Lord,” which is the time of God’s judgment on unbelievers. But “the day of Christ Jesus” refers to the time when believers will be fully glorified and then rewarded for their faithful service (cf. 1 Cor. 3:10–15). All your earthly cares will be gone, and God’s promise to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in His presence “blameless with great joy” (Jude 24) will be fully realized.
Concentrating on what is wrong in your life might depress you, but focusing on the glorious day of Christ should excite you. Don’t be unduly concerned about what you are right now. Look ahead to what you will become by God’s grace.
Suggestions for Prayer: Reflect on the joy that is yours because you belong to an all-powerful God who is working mightily in you. Express your joy and praise to Him. ✧ Read 1 Chronicles 29:11–13 as a prayer of praise to God.
For Further Study: Read Revelation 7:9–17 and 22:1–5. What glimpses do those passages give you of the activities of glorified believers in Heaven?
BAD DISPOSITIONS: “THE VICE OF THE VIRTUOUS”
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
A bad disposition has been called “the vice of the virtuous,” which brings us directly to the conclusion that it is time we Christians stop trying to excuse our un-Christlike dispositions and frankly admit our failure to live as we should!
Wesley said that we will not injure the cause of Christ by admitting our sins, but that we are sure to do so by denying them.
Dispositional sins are as many as the various facets of human nature. Just so there be no misunderstanding let us list a few of them: Sensitiveness, irritability, churlishness, faultfinding, peevishness, temper, resentfulness, cruelty, uncharitable attitudes; and of course there are many more.
These kill the spirit of the church and slow down any progress which the gospel may be making in the community. Many persons who had been secretly longing to find Christ have been turned away and embittered by manifestations of ugly dispositional flaws in the lives of the very persons who were trying to win them!
Unsaintly saints are the tragedy of Christianity. The low state of religion in our day is largely due to the lack of public confidence in religious people.
There is a remedy for inward evil. The power of Christ can enable the worst of us to live lives of purity and love. We have but to seek it and to lay hold of it in faith. God will not disappoint us!
 MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 57). 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. 53). 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. 57). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
 Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.