Daily Devotional from Pastor Mary 03-08-24

Lenten Series: In Need of The Helper

Lent is a liturgical observance and season of reflection; not a biblical mandate. It is simply a time to remind ourselves and appreciate the abundant grace of Christ’s saving work on the cross. It is a time to press in deeper in submission to Christ’s authority as we prepare our hearts to celebrate, with exceedingly great joy, the resurrection that awaits every believer and follower.

In our Lenten daily devotionals, we will focus on our spiritual needs and desires and how the Helper is our Gift for strength and success if we will bow in greater submission to the authority of our King and the terms of His Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit.

Reflection: Transforming Bad Habits

Digging for Truth: According to Jesus, in order to experience salvation and see the Kingdom of God, we must be born again (John 3:3). To be born again is not about human life being developed to a higher level. It is about leaving our old life behind—crucifying it by denying it power—and walking in the new life of the Spirit. Our original state of sin that we asked Christ to forgive must be forsaken (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus—the Righteous Son—left his heavenly eternal throne and glory to accept the limitations of being human in a sinful and temporal world. As fully human, the Son would experience pain, only be in one place at a time, need food, rest, and sleep, and pray to connect with the will of the Father. When we are born again, Jesus condescends to our messy hearts in order to tabernacle with us while transforming our lives through the divine Spirit. This means our bad habits must be denied power; as human beings we have certainly developed and fed them.

Grace for the Heart: We must allow the growth of Christ’s righteousness—the fruit of the Spirit—within us. Think about the transformation that would take place in human lives if our nature was permeated with “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 4:22-23). In order to bear this fruit, we must experience a transformation of our habits.

We will never be able to break bad habits because a religious organization lays out a list of purity laws for us to follow. We need deliverance. Our bad habits must be transformed; we invite the Helper to make us uniquely new in Christ’s nature and image. Remember, when the Helper places it upon our hearts to bring change to something that is unrighteous, he also brings the supernatural power of heaven for the transformation. It’s like a great spiritual exchange: we offer to God an unrighteous habit and he grows a new righteous one in its place. Transformation: a dramatic change in nature and character by the power of God.

Matthew 3:11 NLT 11 “I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”

Romans 6:4 NLT 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

Challenge: Jesus came to bring Israel (One who struggles yet prevails with God) into a new covenant relationship. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel after those days,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33 NTL). Only God can make us righteous sons and daughters.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the invitation to be released from habits we know are unrighteous before you. We are never forced to allow the transformation and for that graciousness toward us we experience freedom of choice. Your love is never a burden, but our bad habits are a weight holding us back from your glory. So, Holy Spirit, please help us to give you permission to continue the transformation journey in us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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