THE LOVE (part 1)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
Yesterday, we asked you to consider how your life and circumstances might have impacted the way you view the world - positively or negatively shaping the lens that you see life through. We also introduced the truth that there are three aspects to life that seek to derail our understanding of what it means to be a welcomed and accepted son or daughter of God: the world, the flesh and the devil.

The ‘world’ refers to the broken and hurting place that we have been called to inhabit. The places we’re not to shy away from, but to which we’re meant to bring the light and hope of Jesus. The ‘flesh’ refers to those desires and urges within us that tempt us to sin, seeking to pull us away from the best God has for us (greed, envy, lust etc).

John 8:44 tells us that the devil is the “father of lies” – that his deception ensnares our world with doubt and fear and shame and dissatisfaction. The devil tricks us into believing that the new life we’re invited to discover in Christ will be insufficient and incomplete – that we’ll somehow need to supplement our new life of faith in Christ with things that can be bought or achieved.

Romans 12 tells us that there is a “pattern of this world”. In other words, there is a way of thinking that comes from the world, not from God’s Word. The world we live in tries to persuade us that getting status and wealth will give us lasting security. But money, position and popularity offer us no real security as we travel through life. No amount of money is enough to make us feel truly secure, and it is powerless to help us when we face illness, bereavement, unemployment or pandemic. In the same way, no amount of popularity or position lasts forever.

As Christians we need the work and help of the Holy Spirit to understand that we don’t need to strive for security because we already have it in full through the unconditional love of God, and because nothing will ever separate us from that love. Today’s verses from Romans 8 are very clear on that: God reminds us today that nothing and nobody can ever separate us from the love of God – neither death, nor demons, nor anything the future has in store for us. Knowing and believing this truth deeply, and choosing actively to build our lives upon it, is the key to true security in the unstoppable, unbreakable love that God has for us. May you know in a new measure in 2021 just how sufficient this truth is for creating within us a life of overwhelming joy!
  1. What has been your experience of love in life? Who has loved you really well? Who has let you down in love?
  2. What lies have you fallen for that might have created a barrier to seeing and experiencing more of God’s love and affection today?
  3. Who spoke those lies over you? Was it you or someone else?
  4. Counteract those lies by declaring the following truths over yourself today:

I renounce the lie that I am rejected, unloved, or shameful. In Christ I am accepted.
I am God's child (see John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (see John 15:15)
I have been justified (see Romans 5:1)
I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him (see 1 Corinthians 6:17)
I have been bought with a price: I belong to God. (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I am a member of Christ's Body (see 1 Corinthians 12:27)
I am a saint, a holy one (see Ephesians 1:1)
I have been adopted as God's child (see Ephesians 1:5)
I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 2:18)
I have been forgiven of all my sins (see Colossians 1:14)
I am complete in Christ (see Colossians 2:10)
I renounce the lie that I am guilty, unprotected, alone, or abandoned. In Christ I am secure.
I am free from condemnation (see Romans 8:1-2)
I am assured that all things work together for good (see Romans 8:28)
I am free from all condemning charges against me (see Romans 8:31-34)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (see Romans 8:35-39)
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (see 2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (see Philippians 1:6)
I am a citizen of heaven (see Philippians 3:20)
I am hidden with Christ in God (see Colossians 3:3)
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control (see 2 Timothy 1:7)
I can find grace and mercy to help in time of need (see Hebrews 4:16)
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (see 1 John 5:18)
I renounce the lie that I am worthless, inadequate, helpless, or hopeless. In Christ I am significant.
I am the salt of the earth and the light of the world (see Matthew 5:13-14)
I am a branch of the true vine, Jesus, a channel of His life (see John 15:1-5)
I have been chosen and appointed by God to bear fruit (see John 15:16)
I am a personal, Spirit-empowered witness of Christ (see Acts 1:8)
I am a temple of God (see 1 Corinthians 3:16)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (see 2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
I am a fellow worker with God (see 2 Corinthians 6:1)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (see Ephesians 2:6)
I am God's workmanship, created for good works (see Ephesians 2:10)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (see Ephesians 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (see Philippians 4:13)
I am not the great "I Am", but by the grace of God I am what I am (see 1 Corinthians 15:10)
Father God, I recognise today that I am living in a world that will often hide your love from me – whether that be because of my own temptations and inclinations, or those of others. I also recognise that I have an enemy, whose aim is to stop me from encountering your love. Wherever the devil is active in my life today, please help me to hold fast to the victory of Jesus, whose triumph on the cross overcame all that prevents me from living in freedom. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
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