Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Wednesday, 26 June 19:
Ephesians 5:15-16 – “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Romans 8:29 points out that our goal is to grow in Christ-like character. Character is formed over time one decision at a time, on step at a time. What you choose to think, say and do in the moment both reveals your current character and shapes who you are becoming – thoughts become decisions; decision become actions; actions become habits; and habits become character, which in turn shapes your thinking. Some people are on a virtuous cycle of character development, and others are on a vicious cycle, one step building upon another. Today’s readings say, rather than just envisioning your final destination or who you hope to become one day, watch your step today. Carefully examine the decisions you are making right now, in the little things which become big things over time. What you think, say and do next reveals who you really are and who you are becoming. You might find that you need to repent – turn around and walk the other way.
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” (Luke 16:10) “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34) Rather than worrying so much about where God is taking us in life, we need to concentrate on being faithful in the moment, one step at a time, in the countless passing thoughts we will have today, in the little decisions we will make today, in the casual things we say today, and in the small things we do today. Not that we shouldn’t plan, but even long-range plans require daily discipline to succeed. An infantryman’s focus on a long march to battle changes significantly when he knows he is crossing a minefield – no careless steps. Likewise, an expert rifle or pistol marksman knows, to hit a target down range, the secret is to focus intently on the sights, not the target which remains blurry in the eye – “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:12-13)
Today’s readings warn, ‘Watch your step’! So, how do we do it? “Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1, 2) To walk through today’s minefield, we need to follow Jesus’ lead, and step in his footprints. Jesus, said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Denying self, taking up your cross, and following Jesus isn’t a general principle, it is a continuing action. Just as your physical bodies require that your mind never stops working and your heart never stop beating, your spirit requires that you never stop following, one step at a time – “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
– Genesis 5:24 — Enoch walked with God….
– Genesis 6:9 — Noah walked with God.
– 2 Chronicles 6:14 — “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart….”
– Micah 6:8 — He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
– John 10:27 — My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them.” (Ephesians 5:6, 7) Many talk about Christian principles they hardly put into practice, making light of obedience, often in the name of ‘grace.’ The Bible warns not to partner with them –
– Galatians 6:7-10 — Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
– 1 Corinthians 15:33 — Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 26 June 19: Today, keep in step with the Spirit and follow Jesus, one step at a time – one thought at a time, one decision at a time, one word at a time, and one action at a time. Partner with others who are equally committed to walking with God today.