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Are You Resolute?

Daily Reading: Ephesians 4

Scripture Focus: Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)

Devotional Thought: Many Americans will start the day on January 1 determined to suddenly become a new person. New Years’ resolutions will include many diet plans, exercise schedules, gym memberships, and refrigerator clean-outs. There will also be some promises for new behavior or routines, church attendance, quiet times, family devotions, or giving to the church. These resolutions in and of themselves are not bad, but I believe the motivation behind them should be examined.

Too many people approach what may be a positive change for the wrong reasons, or under the wrong power. Most of our resolutions turn into embarrassing memories two weeks later. The reality in our Christian lives is that our strength is not sufficient. Rather, the Lord uses our weaknesses to create dependence on him, the source of our true strength.

Paul has a lot to say in Ephesians about unity in the body of Christ, and living the new life of a believer. There are many imperatives in this chapter, directing believers in what they should and should not be doing. One of my personal favorites as a mother to three young girls comes from this chapter, in verse 29. "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up… that it may give grace to those who hear." That is wonderful advice for all of us! However, it cannot be accomplished through the sheer force of our will. It requires an acknowledgement of our own weakness and a complete dependence on the Lord and his power.

This year, instead of resolutions, take some time with the Lord and ask him to examine your heart, find any offensive way, and lead you in the way everlasting (Ps. 139:23-24).


Prayer: Lord, we acknowledge that our own attempts to create any lasting, worthy change are weak and ineffectual. We are all prone to take control over our own lives, pridefully displaying our victories as our own. Help us to rely on your Spirit’s work in our hearts, and to give all the glory to whom it belongs.

Psalm of the Day: 7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, 8 fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! 9 Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! 10 Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! 11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! 12 Young men and maidens together, old men and children! 13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. 14 He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD! (Psalms 148:7-14)

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