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Pretense or Power

Daily Reading: 2 Timothy 3

Scripture Focus: Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power... (2 Timothy 3.5)

Devotional Thought: Well, tomorrow is Halloween. There are going to be lots of little princesses, superheroes, witches and ghouls running around our neighborhoods! Are you frightened? Of course not! We know it's all pretend. We also know - or at least psychologists tell us - that it is healthy for children to engage in pretend play.

Not all pretending is healthy, though. The Apostle Paul warned Pastor Timothy of those who pretended to be godly, but were not. They had the pretense but not the power.

How do we have the pretense of godliness? There are many ways, but consider these three:

· Some people think that by attending church they are godly. But, experience tells us that isn't the case. It takes more than going to a worship service occasionally to make one into a godly person.

· Some act as though saying they are godly makes them godly. Yet, we all know people who talk a big game, but do not have real power in their lives.

· Others depend on legalistic behavior to prove their godliness. That doesn't work either. Legalism usually degenerates into judgmentalism and spiritual snobbery.

Well then, how are we to move from pretense to power? In the above examples...

· While church attendance doesn't make one godly, we cannot neglect church. The important thing is not to go as a spectator, but as a participant!

· While talk is cheap, neither can we refuse to testify! As we bear witness to God's grace, we grow in power.

· While legalism turns people off and turns God's power away, living an unholy life does so as well. If you want to have the power of God in your life, move in step with the Spirit!

Prayer: Lord, I do not want to have simply the pretense of power. I want the power. You told your disciples to wait until they be endued with power from on high, so fill me with your Spirit, the Spirit of power, and help me to be your willing partner in power!

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 119.137-144

137 Righteous are you, O Lord,

and right are your rules.

138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness

and in all faithfulness.

139 My zeal consumes me,

because my foes forget your words.

140 Your promise is well tried,

and your servant loves it.

141 I am small and despised,

yet I do not forget your precepts.

142 Your righteousness is righteous forever,

and your law is true.

143 Trouble and anguish have found me out,

but your commandments are my delight.

144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;

give me understanding that I may live.

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