Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their own steps.
—Jeremiah 10:23 (NIV)
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
—Genesis 3:1–6 (ESV)
You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
—1 Corinthians 6:19–20 (CSB)
Yesterday we learned about Christ’s authority over everything—His church, nature, demons, the daily ins and outs of our lives, and even death. Sometimes we enjoy thinking about Jesus’ authority over all the issues in our life. It brings us great comfort that He can fight our battles and cast out the fears, worries, and spiritual attacks we experience on a daily basis. But sometimes we forget that His Lordship reigns over not just our issues, but every inch of our lives—our thoughts, actions, hearts, and habits. In other words, we like that Jesus has the authority to deliver us from the troubles we face, but if we’re honest, we don’t really want Him telling us what to do! We forget that His authority over all of heaven and earth includes not just our problems, but us. Many times, we want to rule our lives and simply call to Christ when we need Him to get us out of a bind. Instead of turning to Jesus and His word, we want to call the shots in our daily decisions and pursuits. Like Eve in the garden with the Serpent, in the back of our minds, we know that the Lord has ultimate authority, don’t we? We could probably quote His Word in the face of temptation. We know the truth that, as Jeremiah says, “people’s lives are not their own,” and God, not they, determines the steps of all humanity. However, the idea of determining our own path, being our own god, having power over what’s right and wrong seems so tempting, doesn’t it? Like Eve, we often choose ourselves as a better authority over our lives than God (and in the process, bring others along in this rebellion as well!). When we choose this, we are really bowing to an idol, worshipping at the altar of personal authority instead of worshipping the God who has ultimate authority over us. In these moments when we are faced with who has the ultimate say over our lives, when we are tempted to choose self over God, we must recall something precious—that Christ went to great, painstaking lengths to purchase us out of our slavery to sin. When we remember this, as Paul says, we will realize that we aren’t our own, but instead, “bought with a price.” We don’t get the last say about our lives because our lives belong to the One who created us and rescued us from harm with His own blood! In the end, we will answer to Christ for what we do, what we say, and how we live in these bodies He has given us (2 Corinthians 5:10). If you find yourself in despair about your habit of worshipping the idol of personal authority, there is hope. Christ always opens His arms to those in godly sorrow. He loves to prove He is better than our idols. So in this moment, return to Him as a better source of authority than yourself, and rest in His ability to determine your steps.
Questions for Thought //
1. In what ways does our culture choose to be its own god? How have Christians sometimes followed this trend?
2. In what daily decisions do you defer to your own authority instead of God’s? Why? What are some practical ways you can invite in Christ as the last say in your heart, choices, and actions?