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DAY 25

All In

[5 minutes]
Mindsetter Moment: In an essay on faith, Author and teacher CS Lewis wrote: “We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because THIS God exists.” We can read all the books written to prove God’s existence and we can memorize all the arguments for a higher power, yet we still might not KNOW God. Why? Because God is not to be found merely in intellectual arguments or only through scientific proof. His essence cannot even be fully captured in words.

God is found when we reach out with our whole selves. When all that we are accepts, all that God is, we will find what we are looking for. If you have been wanting more, but still feel like something is missing, could it be that you need to reach with more than just intellect? Maybe today is your day to go “all in” with God.

[15 minutes]
Scripture reading:

Job 16:1-19:29
1 Corinthians 16:1-24
Psalm 40:1-10
Proverbs 22:1

Devotional thought
Every seven years, in Jewish custom, slaves were set free. It was probably uncommon, but occasionally a slave would decide to remain a servant in the house of their owner after they had completed the time required to pay whatever debt originally made them a slave. If a slave decided to remain as a servant, joining the master’s family for good, they would receive a specific piercing on their ear as a mark of the agreement.

When the psalmist writes, “Sacrifices and offering you did not desire - but my ears you have opened” Psalm 40:6a, this is probably not talking about how God makes him able to hear. It is most likely a phrase referencing the piercing received by slaves who chose to remain a servant. The psalmist is saying they are signing up for God’s team! They are not interested in just rituals of worship, but in offering their lives to God.

What applies to me?
In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul is given specific instructions about a mission. Tempted by greed, he disobeys. When confronted by Samuel the priest, Saul tries several evasion tactics before saying that he disobeyed, so he could offer sacrifices to God.

Samuel’s response is this: “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams”
1 Samuel 15:22.

Now King David is stepping into his role as king over Israel and this psalm reveals his attitude toward God. He has learned that God wants our hearts, not just our words. Our lives, not just our actions. This worship thing is more than skin deep.

It can be easy to live a “Saul” kind of life, letting greed and selfishness lead us, while offering just a little to God to assuage our guilt. Unfortunately, freedom isn’t found here. This is an interesting paradox we all face. The world around us says we can choose our freedom or we can choose God. It isn’t true. The real choice we make is captivity to our worst-selves, governed by greed, fear, and desire, OR a servant to God, set free from captivity to self and welcomed into God’s family.

Who do you relate to today? Some of us are standing outside fully surrendered, offering sacrifices and feeling the pressure. Are our offerings enough? Is God appeased? This is your invitation to surrender. Let go of the stuff that God has been talking to you about, but you are still holding on to. This is your personal invitation to stop the sacrifices and step into God’s full acceptance as a member of the family.

[10 minutes]
Write it out: Write five adjectives that summarize what God thinks of you. Be incredibly honest with yourself. Even if it’s words like “disappointed,” “angry,” and “frustrated.” Keep in mind this is your belief about what He thinks of you; the truth may be different than your answers.

Pray it out: Now take each of those words and pray over them. Ask God to reveal the truth of those words. Let God’s love replace words that result in fear, with words that result in love. In this time of prayer, God may begin to reveal things He wants you to change. That’s okay. In fact, that’s His love. Let the Lord do a deep work in your heart today.

Live it out: Hold one adjective in your heart today about what God thinks of you, like loved, proud, pleased. Let this word guide your actions today!