July 27

Encouragement for Today

 

When I Grow Up

Ana Stine, Graduate of She Speaks Conference

 

Key Verse:

 

Colossians 3:9-10, “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (NIV)

 

Devotion:

 

“Hey, Nick,” I ask my little boy, “what do you want to be when you’re a grown up?”  His face lights up with excitement as he declares, A scientist!”  I find his response, as always, absolutely delightful. 

 

It is not the first time I have asked him this.  Every so often, when our conversation takes us in that direction, I say, in a nonchalant way, “So . . . what do you think you will be when you grow up?”  His future vocation usually changes to accommodate his latest interest:  Fireman, engineer, chef, businessman, singer, computer guy … The list never ceases to amuse me.

 

This is one of those questions in which I am not as interested in the answer as I am in the manner in which he responds – so freely, without a hint of embarrassment, fear, or hesitation.  It is nice to see that my son is not afraid to dream. 

 

Lucky him.

 

The other day, however, Nicky responded to the usual inquiry differently.  He surprised me with a question of his own: “And what do you want to be, Mom?”  As if being a mother did not count!

 

“I already have a job, dear.”

 

“I know, I know,” he said, waving his hands impatiently, “but what do you want to be?”

 

This time, he got my attention.  I thought about it for a while and then, a clever realization came to me.  So I answered, “I want to be like Jesus.”

 

In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to rid themselves of their former way of life and to actively pursue becoming more like our Lord.  We can identify two steps in his exhortation: 

 

The first one is to eliminate those practices that do not build us up nor bring glory to God.  Paul calls this “taking off the old self.” To do so, we must first identify incorrect patterns of thought or behavior in us, and then commit ourselves to stop acting that way.  The Bible calls this “repentance.”

 

The second step consists of a lifestyle that constantly and genuinely seeks a deeper transformation of heart and mind.  To this, the Apostle refers as “putting on the new man.”

 

Such a task would be overwhelming — no, impossible — if we tried to accomplish it on our own strength.  But we should not be discouraged:  God is on our side!  His Word tells us that, along with the command, He has provided a way to make these changes in us become a beautiful reality.  That is by the power of His Holy Spirit.

 

My little boy giggles at my response.  “You’re silly, Mommy!”

 

This time, I feel free to act just like him, unashamed to pronounce my decision: “Yes, my little one, when I grow up, I want to be just like Jesus!”

 

My Prayer for Today:

 

Dear Lord, I thank you for helping me become more and more like Your Son.  Pour down Your Spirit over me and continue to transform my mind and my heart according to Your power and sovereign will.  For your glory and your honor I pray, Amen.

 

Application Steps:

 

1.   Ask God to point out to you areas of sin you need to surrender to Him (a tendency to lie or to gossip, lack of forgiveness, bitterness, etc.)

2.   Make a list and ask God’s forgiveness for every one of these areas.  Then, ask Him to help you change (repent).

3.   Thank Him for all the miracles he will work in your life!

4.   Keep your heart and mind open to God’s loving promptings for future change.

 

Reflection Points:

 

In Colossians 3:9-10, Paul encourages us to “put off the old man with his deeds”.  Did you know that many believers choose to act like their “old selves” again?  Think about a situation in which you are tempted to behave like the person you were before you knew Jesus.  Ask God to help you behave like the “new you” when tempted to do otherwise.  Decide if it might be necessary to avoid this kind of situation or, even, those relationships that are not a good influence for your spiritual walk.  

 

Power Verses:

 

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (NIV)

 

Romans 12:2,  “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.” (NAS)

 

2 Corinthians 4:16, “For this cause we do not faint; but though our outward man perishes, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” (NKJV)

 

2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (NKJV)

 

Colossians 3:12,  “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender feelings of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering.” (ASV)

 

Additional Resources:

 

The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_ultimateMakeover.htm

 

Do You Know Him?

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/knowHim.htm

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_radicallyObedient.htm