Daily Devotion

Do I thank God that I am not like others?               Colossians 3:12; Luke 18:9-14 

Comparing our situation to others’ is not healthy. Whether thanking God for not being like others, or wishing God would give us what others have, we are discrediting God. We need to come before God in a similar spirit as the tax collector in Jesus’ story.  To whom do you most often compare yourself? Is there one particular person, or group of people, that most often draw this tendency out in you? Why is that the case?

 

Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?                                                                               Philippians 2:5-8, 2 Timothy 1:6-9

This is a difficult question to ask yourself, but Wesley prompted it for a very good reason. Faking it—pretending to be better than we are—actually keeps us from knowing who we are and how we are doing. God’s grace says that you, as you are, with all your cracks and flaws and blemishes, are amazing.  Who do you have in your life who knows the real you? Are there particular environments where you feel as though you have to fake it? What are the factors that make you feel that you have to hide some part of the real you in those settings or relationships?

         

Do I confidentially pass on to others what was told to me in confidence?   Proverbs 11:11-13, Daniel 6:3-4

We know that trust is fundamental to establishing and sustaining strong relationships. So why do we feel the need to break trust by sharing matters told to us in confidence? Usually we feel the urge to relay private information because information is power. Humans love to let others know that we have access to powerful information. But when as Christians we cannot hold confidential matters private, we sabotage the very sense of community Jesus came to create. 

Have you ever betrayed someone’s confidence? What were the circumstances? How did you feel after you shared that person’s confidential information? Are you still in a relationship with that person? Why or why not? If you have never betrayed someone’s confidence, how was this principle of trust instilled in you?

 

Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy, or distrustful?         2 Corinthians 7:1, Proverbs 14:29-32

The behaviors John Wesley named in this question live inside all of us. We don’t like that we possess these types of behavior, but we do. That’s why God calls us to grow in our capacity to live above and beyond these characteristics, and ones like them. Do you have a close relationship with anyone who displays any of these behaviors regularly? What is the impact of that person on you when they behave in these ways? How do you manage your interactions with them? Which of the characteristics John Wesley calls out in today’s question do you struggle with most?

 

Am I honest in all my actions and words or do I exaggerate?         Colossians 3:9-11

Are you intimidated by the group or person you are with? Do you feel “less than” them in some way? Are you trying to impress someone? Is there a truth about yourself that you need to tell someone? Is there something you need to “come clean” about, some exaggeration or falsehood that takes more and more energy to maintain?

 

Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard?              1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Have you created or kept separation between yourself and another person because you simply don’t like them? If so, ask yourself what is driving this dislike. More broadly, would you say you are at peace with God, self and others? Why or why not? • Read Romans 12:9-17 (aloud if possible). Reflect on how living out those Scriptural principles can produce a positive response to today’s question.

                                 

When did I last speak to someone about my faith?          Matthew 28:19-20

Do you show your faith more through your words or deeds? How can you balance both of those sides of the gospel “coin” in your day-to-day life? Think through your story of personal transformation. How has your faith in God changed your life and made you a better person, who has a better effect on the lives of others? Spend some time writing your story down.

 

Adapted from The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith, by Chris Folmsbee, published by Abingdon Press.


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