Steve’s Devotional – Holding the Land: Values
NOVEMBER 24, 2014
If you are a free and bold Christian, you will face all kinds of pressure. You will be criticized. You will be looked down on as less of a Christian. You will find yourself thinking of the days when you didn’t make waves, when you were a phony, when you were dishonest…and when you were liked by everyone.
And, as a result, there will be times when you will want to go back to the very prisons you escaped from, the prisons—of failure, perfectionism, religion, the past and the like—that deprived you of your freedom in Christ.
Paul’s surprise at the Galatians should not have been a surprise when he wrote: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel” (Galatians 1:6).
We can “slip back into the darkness” quite easily. And it’s serious business: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8). “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us…” (Galatians 3:13). “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
I want to offer some help in holding the land of boldness and freedom. It is very valuable land, bought with a terrible price…the blood of Christ. Let’s check it out.
Values Define the Land
Values define the land: “I will bless the LORD who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope” (Psalm 16:7-9). “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…” (Romans 8:31-32).
Remember who you are and who God created you to be.
The Bible teaches that there are certain things you should never do—like murder, commit adultery, lie, cheat and steal. The Bible also teaches that there are certain things you should always do—like show love and compassion, forgive and be honest. Outside of those, you are free.
Now that puts a lot of responsibility on you. God has given each person twenty-four hours in a day. God has given each person a mind. And, finally, God has given each Christian the Spirit of Christ. Ask the Lord to give you a list of the values in your life to which He has called you. Then, after prayerful consideration, determine your actions by that list of values.
For example, I have, after due consideration and prayer, decided that God has called me to be a teacher of biblical principles. Because that is true, I have learned to say “no” to all of those concerns which don’t lend themselves to that particular value.
Just Say No
Decide what you are about (a mother, a teacher, a business person, a ball player, a preacher, a candlestick maker, a writer) and learn to gauge your time. Say “no” to those things which do not enhance or further the fulfillment of those values. Evaluate your life by your values and learn to say “no” to that which is not the place to which God has called you.
Once you know, in your freedom, what land to occupy, refuse to occupy other people’s land. When you know who you are and what you are to do, it is a tremendous defense against those who would attempt to manipulate and control you.
Time to Draw Away
Read Psalm 139 & Jeremiah 29:11
Who are you? To what has God called you? And who stands in the way or distracts you from those values? Ask God for his strength to simply say “no” to those who try to manipulate or control you. Remember who you are and the grace that has freed you up.