My interview guest politely answered my questions. I had a feeling, though, that something lurked beneath our interaction. A passing comment brought it out. “You’re inspiring thousands of people,” I said. “Not thousands,” he muttered. “Millions.” And as if pitying my ignorance, my guest reminded me of his credentials—the titles he held, the things he’d achieved, the magazine he’d graced. It was an awkward moment. Ever since that experience, I’ve been struck by how God revealed Himself to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:5-7). Here was the Creator of the cosmos and Judge of humanity, but God didn’t use His titles. Here was the Maker of 100 billion galaxies, but such feats weren’t mentioned either. Instead, God introduced Himself as “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (v. 6). When He reveals who He is, it isn’t His titles or achievements He lists but the kind of character He has. As people made in God’s image and called to follow His example (Genesis 1:27; Ephesians 5:1-2), this is profound. Achievement is good, titles have their place, but what really matters is how compassionate, gracious, and loving we’re becoming. Like that interview guest, we too can base our significance on our achievements. I have. But our God has modeled what true success is—not what’s written on our business cards and resumés, but how we’re becoming like Him. By Sheridan VoyseyREFLECT & PRAYSpirit of God, make me compassionate, gracious, patient, and loving! How tempted are you to base your significance on your accomplishments? What aspect of God’s character needs to grow in you today?
SCRIPTURE INSIGHT Moses was up on the mountain forty days and nights communing with God and receiving the law, which was to regulate the covenantal relationship He had with the Israelites (Exodus 24:18; 31:18). But down in the camp the people worshiped the golden calf and thereby broke the covenant. This severing was symbolized when Moses broke the two tablets containing God’s law (32:19). Moses interceded and asked Him to forgive the people for their sin and not to abandon them (vv. 31-32; 33:12-17). Although God forgave the Israelites, He also meted out discipline (32:31-35). In chapter 34, the law is reissued and the covenant renewed (v. 1). God also gave the people a self-revelation of who He is: compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, loving, faithful, forgiving, and just (vv. 6-7). K. T. Sim
Day 30 Theme: Future Things Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness– 2 Peter 3:11
The certain and approaching end of this life, and this earth, should be for us like a warning sign along the highway. When we see a “Dead End” road marker, we know that it is there so that we will alter our current course of action, and make changes appropriate to the warning.
Likewise, Peter says, knowing beforehand that this world is coming to a soon and definite end should cause us to consider the course of our life. Shouldn’t we have different ambitions, actions, and affections than those who pretend that this world will last forever? Shouldn’t the temporariness of earth-treasure cause us to seek after the inflammable riches of heaven?
Shouldn’t the holiness and consuming fire of our God engulf our hearts with a desire for purity and godly passions? Shouldn’t the rottenness of this world turn our stomach and turn us to the perfections of Christ?
Seeing (have you seen it, by faith?) that all these things will dissolve like smoke into thin air, what kind of person should you be?
If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful-for He cannot deny Himself.
How does this verse challenge you to faithfully persevere? How does it encourage you in your struggles?
I don’t know about you, but I have been disappointed in my faithfulness to God on more than one occasion. I have doubted Him when I should have believed Him. I have questioned His ways when I should have just accepted them. I have failed to speak up when given the opportunity to speak His truth. I have looked the other way instead of engaging in acts of compassion in His name.
If salvation were based on acts of faithfulness, we would all fail. What a hopeless feeling it must be to believe that our salvation is based on our faithfulness to our faith! Thankfully, our faith is not in our own faithfulness but in the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.
He is faithful, and He has promised us salvation. If we look to Him and put our trust in His work on the cross, He will forgive our sins and grant us everlasting life. Then, even when we fail, He remains faithful.
But friends, if we deny Him and reject His gift of salvation, He will deny us as well. When we stand before the Father, we will either stand before Him with Jesus faithfully representing us, or we will stand before Him all alone. Standing alone before God after denying Christ will be a terrifying thing for sure, and sadly, many have chosen that fate.
But be encouraged, friends. If you have accepted Christ, even in your failing, Christ remains faithful. Faithfulness is who He is. And He cannot deny Himself.
God, Thank You for Your great faithfulness. Even when my faith wavers or I have my doubts, Your faithfulness to me stands firm. I am undeserving but so grateful. Amen.
[I] will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. (JESUS PRAYING FOR ALL BELIEVERS) —John 17:26
Growing up, Mary Beth knew her parents loved her, but they were restrained in showing their love. She fondly remembers her childhood bedtime routine, because then she heard their love most clearly. Every night as her mother tucked her in bed she told Mary Beth, “Always remember: Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. And Jesus loves you most of all.”
Now Mary Beth is grown and her mother’s spirited personality has faded under the ravages of Alzheimer’s. As Mary Beth and her father care for her mom, Mary Beth holds her mother’s hands and echoes the words her mom said to her years ag “Always remember: I love you. Dad loves you. And Jesus loves you most of all.”
Mary Beth doesn’t know how much her mother understands. She does know that these simple words speak to her own heart because they remind her that God’s love in us is powerful no matter how we feel. Our love is incomplete, but we keep loving people, knowing that Jesus is at work through us to show others the love of our heavenly Father.
It is God who loves us more than we can imagine. It is God who gives us the desire to love others extravagantly. And it is God who reminds us that Christ’s unfailing love in us is what matters—most of all.
Father, help me understand your love so deeply that I can show it more freely.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.