December 20: Looking to God and Others

Jeremiah 37:1–38:28; Romans 9:1–12; Proverbs 23:19–35

We have a natural tendency to be concerned with our own condition. As redeemed people, God is transforming us from being self-centered people—concerned with our own ambitions—to other-centered people who want to see God’s work done in and around us. Sometimes even our spiritual concerns point us inward. But God’s work in us shouldn’t be just about us.

Paul sets a startling example in his concern for those who hadn’t come to know Christ: “I am telling the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears witness to me in the Holy Spirit—that my grief is great and there is constant distress in my heart. For I could wish myself to be accursed from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my fellow countrymen according to the flesh” (Rom 9:1–3).

Although he was called especially to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul was deeply concerned about the spiritual state of the Jewish people—his own people. The promise of the Messiah was given to them, yet many refused to believe the fulfillment of this promise, the redeeming work of Christ. They weren’t aware of the fulfillment of that promise given especially to them. Paul was so grieved by their rejection of their salvation that he was willing to be accursed for their sakes.

God is at work in us—transforming us for His purpose. We should be keenly aware of His work. But our gaze shouldn’t be fixed inward. We should be looking to God, amazed by His grace and His concern for people like us. As we are changed into His likeness, we should be caught up in caring for the things that deeply concern Him. We should care about the people He wants to be transformed to His likeness. He is molding and shaping us into His likeness so that we can be His instruments, His agents on earth. The people we meet and the situations we encounter are all opportunities to reflect Christ—not because we want to be holy examples, but because we have a task to do.

How is God’s work transforming you to be deeply concerned about the spiritual state of others? Who can you pray for? Who can you reach out to?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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