What have you put behind you?

March 29, 2019

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Maturity is something that many of us try to avoid. We have a tendency to fear responsibility and we have a tendency to think of maturity and responsibility as being one and the same. In all honesty, they are closely related, but it is possible to be responsible without actually being mature. In essence, maturity can be considered full development while responsibility often refers to accountability. A good example of this is a child who always cleans their room. They are definitely not mature, but they are responsible in certain aspects of their life.

Human nature tells us that we don’t like to be held accountable. All that you have to do is look at Adam and Eve after being tempted into eating the fruit. When God approached them about what happened, blame was placed elsewhere. They failed to take the responsibility for what happened.

If you look at maturity as the ability to recognize sin and responsibility as the accountability to stay away from sin, then we start to get a clearer picture of this passage.

A child will think, say and do things that are less than desirable. Hopefully, as the child gets older, they recognize the childish nature and desire to take on a more mature nature. They decide to leave the old, childish nature behind them in a similar manner to how a person who repents leaves the old, sinful nature behind them. They step closer to maturity by selecting to put things behind them and move forward without that baggage.

What have you put behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2019 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

June 13, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
(Romans 5:3-4 (NIV))

Seeking maturity in Christ is an admirable desire, but most people fail to recognize that following Jesus will not be an easy thing to accomplish in this sinful, fallen world. The simple fact that you profess a faith in Jesus marks you as a target in the eyes of the enemy and in the eyes of the world.

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
(John 15:19 (NIV))

If professing a faith in Jesus instantly means that the world hates you, then it is important to understand that there will be suffering because of your faith in Jesus and at the hands of the world.

Are you ready?

Are you facing suffering in this world? Perhaps you embrace the things of this world and, as a result, the world embraces you in return. Is this what we, as the Body of Christ, are called to do? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. What we embrace is Jesus. It is impossible to embrace the grace and mercy that is given through Jesus and still cling to the sinful, fallen nature of this world. Accepting Jesus means turning your back on the world. Accepting Jesus means declaring war on sin and the enemy. If you declare war, you can’t expect to sit on the sidelines and only observe! You are called to be a faithful soldier of Christ.

You have chosen a side!

Is a soldier who is going into battle the same soldier who comes out of that battle? There will be sufferings. There will be things that are experienced when facing the enemy that will develop perseverance, character and hope. It is crucial to never forget that the battle has already been won, even though we have to face things that will cause suffering. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and strive to develop these characteristics.

Have these characteristics been produced in your life?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you been called?

June 6, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 (NIV))

Our lives are not meant to be easy. When we face something out of the ordinary, our first reaction is to think of ourselves and what it will mean to our way of life. They should have the exact opposite effect. We should rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is with us through these times.

Everyone goes through things in their lives. We, as believers, are no different. We, as the Body of Christ, have been told that we will face things in our lives.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33 (NIV))

The world has been turned over to sin, yet, if we place our faith in Jesus, we will see our lives brought to perfection. We will see our faith brought to maturity. We will see our salvation brought to completion! I don’t know about you, but these sound like good things that God is working in our lives.

Have you been called?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Are you effective and productive?

March 15, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV))

Are you increasing? Are you growing? Are you maturing in your faith?

Looking back on my own faith journey, I can unequivocally say that I have grown, that I have matured in my faith over the course of my lifetime. I can also attest to the concept that we will never reach complete maturity while we are on this earth. I learn so much each and every day. I can read the very same passage that I read yesterday and discover new insight in the very same words. Nothing has changed in the words. The only thing that has changed is my comprehension of God’s ability to open up His Word into a whole new revelation.

Think about that in relationship to your faith and maturity. Think about your understanding in relationship to God’s unlimited understanding!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV))

Doesn’t it make sense that we, in our limited understanding, would need to increase in our ability to understand? Doesn’t it make sense that we increase in our ability to understand by increasing our faith? After professing our faith, we increase our faith by striving to increase our righteousness, our goodness, in the eyes of God. We accomplish this by seeking His knowledge and by learning righteous self-control. We learn to persevere even in the face of adversity as we strive to mature into the likeness of Christ, who embodied true love in order to offer salvation.

None of us are there, yet, but we, as members of the Body of Christ, must strive to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you effective and productive?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

February 16, 2018

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Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
(1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV))

Spiritual maturity is a wonderful thing. When you are new in your faith, it is easy to become disoriented and allow the world to knock you off balance. You have a hunger, but you are uncertain about what you are feeling and experiencing. At this early stage of faith, just as in the childhood years, you are limited in your understanding and your ability to fully comprehend all that you experience. You are still being spoon fed. Perhaps I could and should say that you are still in the milk stages of your faith.

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
(Hebrews 5:13-14 (NIV))

In essence, being a child can mean that you are naive to the ways of the world and the enemy. Spiritual maturity brings an understanding, an ability to discern what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. It means that you are diving deeper into God’s Word and your understanding is getting much deeper. Consider this case in point as an example. When you were a child, could you comprehend and solve complex mathematical problems? Could you develop and communicate complex thoughts in such a manner so that others could understand?

Being a child is supposed to be a simple, joyful time. It is the time to develop trust and belief.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
(Matthew 19:14 (NIV))

Even though we are called to be like little children in our faith, we are also called to a maturity. This is a maturity that prepares us to face the enemy. It is a maturity that firmly grounds us in Jesus.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
(Ephesians 4:14-15 (NIV))

As members of the Body of Christ, we are all called to maturity in Christ. We must long for the substance of solid faith. We must realize that faith is something that we are to desire to grow and mature. We are to change our ways of thinking so that we are in line with what Jesus desires. We are to desire to mature into the likeness of Christ!

Have you put your childhood ways behind you?

Copyright 1998 – 2018 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you praise God in the middle of your storms?

March 21, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living

So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
(Psalms 143:4-6 (NIV))

Life can and will be pretty disheartening at times. We all face things in this life that are far from perfect. These are things that make us dismayed and heavy hearted. These things weigh heavily upon our spirits. Sometimes, they are so overwhelming that we simply want to curl up and remove ourselves from the weight of the world as it comes pressing in on us.

What do you do in times like this?

Some people will actually curl up. Some will try to escape by isolating themselves. Some will even go so far as to pack up and leave whatever is overwhelming them. Some will turn to family and friends for help, and others will turn to God.

I find it interesting that all those who turn to God actually gain strength and maturity from their situations. Everyone else turns inward and sees no hope while those who turn to God see things from His perspective. They look at all that He has done throughout all of creation and all of history and realize that He is more than sufficient to handle whatever they are going through.

They praise Him in the middle of their storms!

Do you praise God in the middle of your storms?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Do you face your trials with joy?

January 3, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
(James 1:2-4 (NIV))

God would not give us trials if they did not produce fruits of the Spirit. If we did not have trials, we would never mature in our faith and our walk with God.

As a small child, you faced trials: dressing yourself, feeding yourself, tying your shoes. At the time, it seemed almost impossible to make it through the trial. But, now, looking back, you realize the benefits gained from those trials – maturity and growth.

The trials that we face that test our faith are the same. God knows that we will mature as a result of these trials. Do not regret the trials. Welcome them for what they are – a way to get closer to God and to grow into the image of Jesus Christ.

Do you face your trials with joy?

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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