Thurs, Apr 23, 2020

Repent, Contend, Hear, Send

Good morning, Anthem! 

This has been such a wild season! We hope you know that we are praying for you and trusting that God is meeting you in unique ways. We had a chance to pause after Easter and catch our breath a bit and in that time we were encouraged to press in to the things that the Lord has been leading us into over the past few weeks. During the fast and prayer tour, we spent 4 days working through repentance, contending, hearing God’s voice and saying, “here am I, send me!” 

We want to continue to press into each one of those themes in the weeks ahead through this format of a “not exactly daily” devotional to grow as disciples together as a church. These aren’t meant to be teachings, but prompts to search the Scriptures, be with Jesus and let the Spirit move us to action. 

Let’s start by opening up to Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

I (Matt) shared on Sunday that as I was walking I felt that there was a general weariness that had fallen over our society. Tired of quarantine, tired of virus talk, tired of political fighting, tired of endless news reports and social feeds… I got the sense that God wanted to do something different with his church than for us to fall into that same weariness. That’s where this devotion is coming from.

Here are three things we want to think about today as we continue to practice being disciples of Jesus through repentance: 

Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called...
The use of calling in the Scriptures is often connected more to our identity in Christ than it is to any particular vocation. Read 2 Timothy 1:8-9.

Paul’s challenge from prison is to walk (live) in a manner worthy of the new identity that you have in Jesus. With repentance as our starting point, let’s consider the life that we have been called into. 

Exercise #1 — Similar to last week, ask God to examine your life and show you what you need to be turning away from in order to “walk in a manner worthy of your calling”.

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love
Paul uses 4 simple character qualities to prepare the Ephesian church for the mission that they are engaging in. (Read 2 Peter 1:3-11 for another helpful list)

Humility — Read Philippians 2:1-8

Gentleness — Read Matthew 11:28-30

Patience — Read Exodus 34:6-7

Bearing with one another in love — Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Exercise #2 — Repentance is not just turning away from something, but towards a new and better way. Take some time to ask Jesus, what is something he wants to cultivate in you today. Listen, write down the answer, and take some time to make a plan to put it into practice.

Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
This is an opportunity for us as a body to do something truly profound. The Spirit unites the church, not when we get together (though we long for that), but supernaturally and transcendentally. The Spirit unites through our contribution of peace. 

Read Philippians 4:4-7

How do we grow the peace of God in our lives?

Exercise #3 — Turn to thankfulness in your heart to become a person of peace. Look back on your last week… write out a list of everything you have complained about (either out loud or in your mind). Take the minutes to turn those complaints into words of praise and thanksgiving to Jesus.

By shaping a repentant heart through the Scriptures, we are preparing ourselves to be used by God. 

We look forward to walking with you through this season as we seek Jesus together!

Much love,
Matt and Kristen