Daily Devotional – Tuesday, August 24, 2021
"You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, ‘Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!’? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” (Colossians 2:20-23)
It is one of the oldest traps known to humankind, this idea that we can work our way into heaven by earning God’s favour through diligent observance to rules and by denying self. While good works, self-control and faithful devotion are laudable, they are not the keys to unlocking heaven’s door. Our sinful desires cannot be tamed merely by refusing to participate in them; lack of participation alone does not remove the root of desire. Sin, from which these desires stem, remains intact, whether we give into those wrong desires or not. Entrance into heaven is not granted to anyone who has not had the root of sin eradicated from their lives—an extraction only possible because of Jesus’ work on the cross. Our belief in Him is what sets us free from sin and from the spiritual powers of this world that work so hard to control us. Our changed character and good behaviour are simply the proofs of the reality of our newfound freedom in Christ.
Many people outside of the Church reject the possibility of accepting Jesus because of the example that is set for them. Too often they observe Christians who have forgotten that our faithful observance to God’s standards is to stem from a living, vibrant relationship with our loving God, not an endless struggle to perfect a list of ‘thou shalts’ and ‘thou shalt nots.’ It’s actually this reality—the possibility of enjoying a loving relationship with God—that sets Christianity apart from all other world religions…or at least it should! When we know God’s grace and love in our lives, we shouldn’t need to be told not to hate, as love should be what more naturally flows through us to others. We should stop trying to police the behaviours of ourselves and others and should rather grow in our relationship with God. As we come to know God—as the embodiment of love, grace, mercy, justice and forgiveness—how can we not fall in love with the One who wants to spend eternity with us? As our love grows our longing to please Him will as well, our desires will align with God’s desires and our thoughts and actions will flow from a transformed heart.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!