Devotional Thoughts for Today
Jeremiah 9:23-24 (ESV)
Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
Science writer Robert Lee Hotz found that “talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or social media— triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money.” In fact research showed how self-disclosure could in some cases be even be more rewarding than the latter two. In other words, even science shows how much we love talking about ourselves because we want to be known. It is no wonder that social media platforms, such as Instagram, have become so successful, because they serve as personalized galleries of our accomplishments for others to see.
And here in our passage, Jeremiah writes to this innate desire to boast about ourselves. Using life’s most common boast-worthy things—such as knowledge, power, and wealth—Jeremiah shows us that God doesn’t condemn the act of boasting itself, but rather in who or what we boast in. As the passage says, “let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me.” Many of us will spend our entire lives chasing after accomplishments, wanting to be known by others. But this must be our life’s ultimate goal: to know Him. For if there’s anything worth boasting about, it is that the Creator of the universe knows us.
The world is infatuated with things that say, “Look at me!” However, as believers we look at our lives and say, “Look at Him!” Look at Him, who gives me my true value and worth. Look at Him, who looks not at my accomplishments, but at me and loves me as I am. For this is what the Lord delights in—that we might know Him and do as He says. Spend a few moments today delighting in this truth. May our lives always point to Him.
Prayer: Father, I confess of my own spiritual blindness and disobedience. Help me to be more sensitive to Your Spirit so that I may see the warning signs in my life. Purify my heart and my desires that I may be transformed into Your likeness. Thank You for Your unending grace that saves me from my sins. Amen.
Daily Bible Reading: Ezekiel 12
Lunch Break Study
Read James 1:21-25: Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Questions to Consider
- What does it mean for us to receive the implanted word?
- How does the Word of God operate in our lives?
- How has the Word of God been speaking to you? Does your life reflect it?
- As believers, we have been given a new heart; and on that heart the Word of Christ is written so that we may obey it through His Spirit. Practically, James continues by addressing the problem of simply knowing the Word. Merely listening to the Word does not mean you are actually receiving it. To receive is to do what the Word of God says. Apostle John, in 1 John 2:3 and John 14:21, says that to truly know Him is to obey Him.
- James provides this analogy of a man looking in the mirror. As the mirror reflects the man’s face and perhaps reveals the things he cannot see on his face, the Word of God reflects the true condition of our heart. To look at His Word and not be changed or expect it to reveal something about you, would make it useless. Those who allow God’s Word to direct their lives will live a blessed life.
- Personal application.
Sometimes I wonder how certain people can pray so well. While I struggle to find words, some are able to pray like they’re reciting the most beautiful poems full of imagery and life. And for many years, I thought this marked a good or powerful prayer. But theologian Andrew Murray would argue that the power of prayer comes when our prayers are rooted in His Word. He writes, “Little of the Word with little prayer is death to the spiritual life. Much of the Word with little prayer gives a sickly life. Much prayer with little of the Word gives more life, but without steadfastness. A full measure of the Word and prayer each day gives a healthy and powerful life.” In other words, prayer cannot exist without His word present. We can pray the most elaborate prayers with the most flattering words; but if they lack truth, then they mean nothing. Spend some time this evening finding a verse that you can hold onto. Pray this Scripture until you can recite it by memory.