Seeds of the Kingdom Daily Devotional 8 June 2022
TOPIC: Try To Learn What Pleases The Lord
SCRIPTURE: If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage – our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit].
In Matthew 3 we read about John the Baptist preaching on repentance in the wilderness of Judea. Sometimes we think of repentance as one of the steps towards the Lord’s forgiveness, but we don’t take it a step further. ‘Repent (think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct}, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 3:2). It’s not a once-off action that we can tick off on our to-do-list.
In a recent Bible study I was doing, the following words lingered in my mind: ‘Repentance bears fruit.’ Therefore, if I have wronged someone, or if I have sinned, repentance means that I need to follow the Lord’s direction towards restoration of the relationship or situation. This is often the difficult part, because it means I have to put aside my pride and self-justification.
It’s easier to acknowledge it before the Lord than it is to acknowledge it before man, because to do that I would need to admit to the person I sinned against that my behaviour was wrong. My human nature is rather to explain why I reacted the way I did, and to try to make the other person understand that it was their behaviour which caused me to react the way I did. Does this sound familiar?
True repentance, as explained in the Bible, means a change in mind and conduct. It bears the fruit of humility and teachability; not of self-righteousness and pride. Ephesians 5:8-10 (GNT) explains it so well: ‘You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness, and truth. Try to learn what pleases the Lord.’
If I really try to learn what pleases the Lord, all my self-justification and blame-shifting will be silenced. This does not mean that I allow people to walk over me and abuse me. It means that I follow the Lord’s example of goodness, righteousness, and truth.
In Galatians 5:25 Paul teaches us: ‘If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit].’ Whatever I nourish, will grow. If I nourish the Spirit within me, the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will flow as evidence of God’s goodness.