August 23, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today 

Jeremiah 31:33-34  

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more. 

In these two verses, the Lord speaks of a new covenant that would be made between God and His people. The old covenant, which was written on stone tablets and the people were unable to keep, would be void as God makes a new covenant that would be written on the heart (flesh) of His people. The route to making this covenant possible would happen through the initiative of God and would also require a tremendous cost on His part. This route was forgiveness. Because of God’s love for His people and desire for a relationship with them, He says, “…I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (v.34).

For this purpose, the Lord sends His Son Jesus to die upon the cross to bear the iniquities of all mankind—once and for all. This excruciating responsibility that was placed upon Jesus required the laying down the glory of His divinity (Jn. 17:5), as well as extreme suffering to the point of death. But it had to happen because forgiveness is the only possible route to freedom. Forgiveness equals freedom: freedom to love God; freedom to walk in relationship with Him; freedom to be loved; and freedom to love another. This is the power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is living in the new covenant. It is fruit the Word of God inscribed into our hearts.

Therefore, every time you make a choice to forgive someone, you are choosing to live in the New Covenant that has been obtained for you through the cross. You are choosing to remain in this freedom. Unforgiveness binds you into a mirage of a past moment as if it has a power to harm you in the present. The past, no matter how recent or old, is not reality anymore and it need not have power over you. Forgiveness keeps you in the freshness of love and offers relationship over and over again, in the same way that it has been offered to you. Only a person who lives in forgiveness can truly understand intimacy and the joys of such a real relationship.

Therefore, live in the freedom that is yours today by being quick to release others from any wrongdoings against you. Let nothing bind you to a false reality of the past and why not choose this day to live in the present! 

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for the truth that it is for freedom that Christ has set me free (Gal 5:1). Please release me from all bitterness and any unforgiveness that holds me captive to my past. I want to live in complete freedom to love and to be loved. Thank You! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Job 3


Lunch Break Study 

Read Ephesians 6:12: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Questions to Consider 

  1. Are you holding any unforgiveness? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal it to you.
  2. What are some of the fruits of unforgiveness?
  3. What are the fruits of forgiveness?

Notes

  1. Offense is a strategy of Satan to bind God’s people into bitterness. It is important to remember that the battle in our lives is never against a person but against the rulers of the darkness of this age and against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). To remain in freedom, you must obey God’s principle of forgiveness and keep your spirit free from any defilement.
  2. Unforgiveness is rebellion against God’s laws of love. This rebellion invites the fruits of the flesh (carnal) which include hatred, jealousy, judgmentalism, pride, arrogance, division, anger, retaliation, etc. The flesh opposes the Spirit and the fruits reveal as such.
  3. Forgiveness is walking according to the Spirit and allows you to live in love. Forgiveness invites intimacy, understanding, grace, as well as all the fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control).

Evening Reflection

Today, we were reminded that we need to live a life of forgiveness to remain in the freedom of being God’s child. In the light of this truth, did you practice forgiveness?

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