Lesson 4 -- fourth quarter 1996
September 22, 1996
(Today is my birthday. [grin] )
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications
I can't stand myself because I'm such a hypocrite!
When is the best time for personal devotions?
A hypocrite lives blissfully as long as he subdues conscience and successfully ignores God's Spirit. By all appearances, this person has achieved the "glorious" goal of living after the flesh and after the spirit. He can indulge in many secret sins while at the same time speaking and acting in ways that give the impression of godliness.
Can you identify with that?
Hypocrisy, though, turns into a life-draining, joy-sapping, success-denying addiction. The flesh demands satisfaction with increased doses and varieties of sin and deception. Therefore, the charade becomes increasingly difficult to maintain. Where at first the conscience could be appeased due to the "small insignificance" of the sin, now the conscience begins to balk at the depths to which tolerance and indulgence have led. And the hypocrite goes from enjoying his performance to despising himself.
Can you identify with that?
If you answer "Yes," you have likely been rather miserable of late. You question your worth; you feel indescribably cheap. (Cheap, you get it?! Not inexpensive, because you've become a great liability to yourself and to God.) You doubt your Christianity; you feel despicably stained. (Stained! Not just dirty!) These make you insecure and you feel frighteningly vulnerable. You have "succeeded" in crafting a beautiful structure, but the foundation has begun to sink and shift. Now what?
Listen to the Lord's call in today's lesson. He pleads with you to "throughly amend your ways and your doings." Work from the foundation up. Heed the Lord's words in Luke 6:47,48: "Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock." That taken care of, you can address the structural problems. Begin the process of casting aside the evil and the questionable which you have tolerated and enjoyed and shielded. Work with the Lord to develop righteous motives for the good things you do and say.
When to "have" personal devotions. Some insist that it should be first in the morning, to set the day's tone and the spirit's disposition. Others figure out that a noontime quiet time is just the thing since most of us need recharging and refocusing by midday. Then we have others who inform us that bedtime exposure to God and His Word relax the mind and give the spirit food for the sleeping hours. Therefore the logical question: "When is the best time for personal devotions?"
Why leave time in the singular? Look at Jeremiah 7:13 again. If the Lord rises early to speak to me, hadn't I better rise early if I want to hear Him?! Psalm 55:17 and Daniel 6:10 give us living examples of godly men who understood the necessity of multiple feedings.
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