March 7, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Diligence in Seeking God”

Exodus 9:27-28, 34

“Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. ‘This time I have sinned,’ he said to them. ‘The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer…’ 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts.”

I have found that there is no time like the last month before a big exam. My lifestyle becomes machine-like as my diligence kicks into high gear: I sleep regular hours, I exercise regularly, I even meal prep – all so I can devote additional time before and after work to study. Something is thrilling about living in my best state during a high-stakes season. However, my off-season lifestyle is shameful. Most of these habits drop to the wayside and prove that, at my core, I am loose and undisciplined. One might say it’s normal to not have otherworldly discipline, but it is obvious to me that the urgency of my situation changes my dedication and focus.

We have just experienced a glimmer of hope when Pharaoh surveys the consequences of not letting the Israelites go – all his land is destroyed. He seems about ready to relent and is willing to let the Israelites go and have Moses intercede on his behalf. When the stakes are high, he too submits to the Lord. But once God relieves the Egyptians, instead of repentance and worship, Pharaoh loses interest in seeking God.

Does your level of comfort change whether you seek God or believe you really need Him? In times of relative ease, are you like me, forgetting that we are called to faithfulness? Today, let’s resolve to make habits in our lives so that our spiritual hunger does not wax and wane with circumstance. Big, sweeping plans seem exciting, but small habits that will pay off in the long run. Let’s make time today to dedicate ourselves to seeking God: one more chapter of the Word than usual, or 5-10 more minutes of prayer than usual. Over time, as we build these habits, may we become people who are steadfast and faithful through all circumstances.

Prayer: Father, I want to know You more, but I confess that I am often slow and lazy to seek You. Help me to encounter You and build my faithfulness so that I can gain a faithful, steady heart that is constant in every circumstance and situation. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 25


Lunch Break Study

Read 1 Timothy 4:6-16: “If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. 11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Questions to Consider

  1. Note that Paul says both physical and spiritual trainings hold value. How does Paul contrast physical and spiritual training?
  2. What are the ways in which we can train ourselves to be godly?
  3. What are ways in which you are training yourself to be godly? What are additional ways in which you can do so?

Notes

  1. It is important to note that they both are valuable, and this should be an affirmation to those who pursue both physical and spiritual training. However, Paul reminds us that spiritual training brings about promise for both this life and the one to come, whereas physical training is valuable for only this life. It is the eternal return on investment in spiritual training that gives it greater worth and value.
  2. First, Paul writes that people must forego “godless myths and old wives’ tales” – aka compelling words that are not filled with the hope and certainty of God’s promises. Myths and tales give us good ideas, but they do not nourish our souls the way that God’s teaching does. In this vein, Paul further encourages Timothy to be devoted to the reading and preaching of the Word. He is encouraged to further pursue the spiritual gifts and also to strive to be an example in all facets of his life: speech, action, love, faith, and purity. Lastly, Timothy is charged to live diligently and let others look into how his life is run – this type of spiritual accountability with his public life is meant to spur him on in godliness.
  3. Personal reflection.

Evening Reflection

How was your time with God today? What are steps you can take to maintain diligence in seeking God? Pray that God will give you these opportunities again tomorrow.

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