Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 18 December 21:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Zechariah: https://youtu.be/_106IfO6Kc0
Zechariah 1:3 — “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Return to Me,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will return to you,’”
The Father drew you to Jesus Christ (John 6:44), but you must choose to continue to follow Him (John 12:26). If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your salvation is secure in His perfect, unyielding love, and you have received the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:1) However, the Bible warns that, in sin, you can “grieve” the Holy Spirit, “quench” the Holy Spirit, get out of “step” with the Holy Spirit, and even “outrage” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Galatians 5:25; Hebrews 10:29) – Don’t do that! You have been given an unimaginable gift in Christ. How much you enjoy it and realize its value depends on how you use it and what you do with it.
Your response to Jesus in your life will set the conditions for everything else in your life. In a practical sense, sin causes you to drift away from Jesus, creating a ‘distance’ from Him and a lack of fellowship, but you can return to Him by repenting from your sin. Nearness to God is not a matter of physical distance but rather distance in the spiritual realm. When we choose to sin, we are choosing to walk away from God and distance ourselves from Holy God who cannot partner with or bless sin. Returning to the Lord involves turning away from evil and following Him again in loving, wholehearted obedience.
If you have drifted from God, His call to you is to return to Him. God promises that if you return, He will immediately restore His relationship with you – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Echoing Zechariah 1:3, James 4:8 promises if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. If you have wandered away from the Lord by walking in the flesh rather than the Spirit, repent and get back in step – “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
- Matthew 16:24 — If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
- Hebrews 11:6 — And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
- 1 Timothy 6:10 — For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
- Hebrews 2:1 — Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.
- Proverbs 19:27 — Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
- Psalm 119:10 — With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
- James 5:19-20 — My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
“Why is it that some Christians seem to go so much deeper in their walk with God than others? Why have some had such powerful intercessory prayer ministries that have changed the courses of nations? Why has God chosen to anoint the words of some so that, when they speak or pray or preach, it is obvious that their words are consecrated by God? It is because these individuals have committed themselves to pursue God until His presence is powerfully real in their lives. They have decided to settle for nothing less than a vibrant relationship with God, and He has honored their desire. Have you become complacent with your relationship with God, or are you hungering for more? Don’t become satisfied with a relationship with God that is broken by sin and void of the power of the Holy Spirit. You have just as much of God’s powerful presence available to you as the greatest saint in Christian history! Return to God. There is so much more in store for you if you will return to Him. He awaits your response. (Henry T. Blackaby)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 December 21: Make your priority today drawing near to God through prayer and genuine fellowship with Him as you follow Him through the day rather than asking Him to follow you.