June 7 Devotional
Opening Prayer: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” - Julian of Norwich
Scripture: Matthew 7:13-14
Journal: Where in life right now are you choosing the easy way? What would it look like to choose the hard way instead? How have you seen the hard way lead to life recently?
Reflection: It’s amazing how addicted I’ve become to ease. And it’s even more amazing how that addiction doesn’t seem to alarm me the way it should. Maybe that’s why this reminder from Matthew is so helpful. It reminds me that if ease is my number one goal and pursuit--be it in my marriage, or my friendships, or my job, or my parenting, or my ministry, or even in my spiritual journey--then I are heading toward destruction. Oh maybe not destruction in the “eternal destination” sense of the word (after all, I’ve entered by the narrow gate, right? Now I must choose to walk in the hard way), but destruction of all the things I hold most near and dear. The bottom line is that choosing the easy way tends to lead to destruction, or, at the very least, disintegration. Be it destruction of my marriage, or my friendships, or my community, or even my very soul. If I am constantly choosing the easy way then I am never pressing past what is easiest into what is best. And what is best is seldom easy, but almost always hard, or at least much harder.
Why do I tend to settle for what is easiest rather than pursuing what is best? Why do I continually settle for less than all God has for me and all he desires me to become? For it is the hard way that leads to life. It is the choice to constantly be engaging others rather than sitting back. It is the choice to constantly be moving toward those in my life and world rather than retreating in fear or apathy. It is the choice to drop the mask and come out of hiding rather than continuing to pretend and act and perform. It is the choice to continually be vulnerable, genuine, and honest rather than to opt for shallowness, fearfulness, and self-protection. It is the choice to continually be willing to risk rather than playing it safe. The choice to continually love rather than manipulate. All of this is hard. Yet it is the hard way that leads to life. So the choice I have before me today is to choose one or the other - the easy way or the hard way. And although the easy way might seem more attractive in the short run, it is hardly ever the best way in the grand scheme of eternity. Today, let us take the road less traveled. Let us enter by the narrow gate. Let us walk the harder, but way better, way. It is the way of Jesus. It is the way to Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life.
Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself
M. is living in an area in Southeast Asia where the Tai Lue, an unreached people group, live. She is trusting that God will open doors for the gospel and empower local brothers and sisters to make disciples among them. Pray today for three local men who go to different areas during the week to share the Good News. Thank God for the love and boldness of these men and pray that the groups they meet with will all grow close with God and learn to lead themselves and others, going out to impact their communities.
The CSPC Adoption Ministry is a group of individuals and families who have a heart for adoption and foster care and for providing support for other individuals and families starting or going through the adoption/foster care process. Pray today for couples who need the support of other adoptive parents to be reached by this ministry.
Closing Prayer: Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen. - St. Augustine