Weekly Devotional - Oct 18, 2017

“Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, ‘Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’?’” (John 16:19)

Scripture Reading – James 1:2-18

Jesus knows what’s on our minds. He knows all of our questions, doubts, and struggles. We might be able to deceive others, since they can only draw conclusions about us from what they observe and hear, but Jesus is different. He knows our thoughts before they are even expressed. Once again, Jesus knows the disciples’ thoughts just as He had known the thoughts of others on many occasions. John records that Jesus didn’t place His confidence in others, “for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:25). Jesus instead hoped only in the Father.

The fact that Jesus knows what’s in our minds should cause us to live differently. First, we need to start by being honest with ourselves. We may be able to hide our weaknesses and sins from others, but we can’t hide them from God. It’s always better to respond to the Spirit’s work of conviction of sin by confessing them to God, rather than trying to defend ourselves. In the gospel, we learn that there’s nothing we can do to make God love us more, and we can’t do anything to make Him love us less. God knows our sins; He has paid the debt for these sins.

Our sins can no longer keep us from being children of God, but they can and do affect our fellowship with God. Everything God desires for us is achieved by abiding in Christ. We can’t bear fruit without the life of Christ flowing through us, because our sins will hinder fruit in our lives. That’s why the Father prunes us. How does He do it? The Spirit reveals our sins to us so that we confess them and humbly receive discipline from the Father (Heb. 12:5-6). When we blame others for our sins and make ourselves out to be victims, we are denying the work of the Spirit in our lives. Abiding in Christ requires a daily practice of confessing our sins before the Father, and receiving His forgiveness. One way to do this is celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Here, we can take a moment to evaluate our hearts to see if they are free from doubt, jealousy, self-righteousness, and any other attitudes that need pruning.

Secondly, the fact that Jesus knows our thoughts should drive us to prayer. Jesus was always honest with His disciples. He told them that they should expect to suffer because of the gospel. We, too, should expect nothing less. Not surprisingly, suffering can cause confusion and doubt to grow in our minds. Our defense against these things is not to rely on our own logic and conclusions. Our earthly wisdom fails us when we see the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering. The suffering of believers only makes sense when it’s viewed through the lens of faith. In Psalm 73, Asaph struggled to understand this dilemma. He admitted that his faith was faltering and nearly failed: “When I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end” (Ps. 73:16-17). Only through prayer can we gain the perspective that makes sense of why we must suffer for the gospel.

Prayer gives us access to the wisdom of heaven. James, writing to a church that was suffering because of the gospel, encouraged them to go to the Lord in prayer. He wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (Jas. 1:5). God is ready to answer us. When we bring our confusion and doubts to Him in prayer, Jesus will reveal the will of the Father to us so that we will stand firm in the midst of trials. Take advantage of this. Don’t delay in going to the Lord in prayer. Approach Him with a humble heart, asking Him for wisdom, and to testify of Himself through your sufferings. What is in your heart today that you need to bring before God?

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