#10 The Long Road

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And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

– Romans 12:2 (NASB)

Like a book, film, or play, journeys have a beginning and end, but often neither is as important as the middle – the road itself. This in-between, the meat of the tale, could be long and arduous.

Upon introspection, we might find ourselves lacking as we travel the road, perceiving our many faults, and we may feel discouraged.

But remember that we all are in the midst of our travels; we’re in the middle of our story. There is a long ways to go, and step by step, we move forward and grow. Setbacks will come, but by keeping our eyes on the truth, we’ll become more and more like that which we hope to be – partially through this long road, and fully, one day, at its end.

Pray | Ask that you’ll be encouraged to grow even when the road seems long

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: 1 John 1:7-9 / 1 Cor 13:11-12 / Psalms 51:10 / Romans 12:1-2 / Ephesians 4:20-24

Act | Purposely and prayerfully put aside a way you once acted and put on the new way of Christ

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#8 Solo Journey Together

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Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

– Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Have you ever undertaken an arduous trek? Perhaps it was a difficult hike, a challenging run, or long walk in the city. Did you go it alone?

Oftentimes, our journeys are made solo – but that doesn’t mean we take them alone. We carry items with us that can make these mini-adventures more bearable – fun, even. Our mobile devices, comfortable shoes, a utility tool – these are the weapons of our trade that help us make it through.

A life in the spirit is very much the same. What (or rather who) we take with us on our way can help mightily – a church body for support; strong leadership for accountability; loving friends for encouragement. A life in the spirit may be our own – but it was never meant to be lived alone.

Pray | Ask about your friendships and ask for spiritual accountability

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: Heb 10:24-25 / 1 Cor 12:21-26 / Gal 6:1-5 / Heb 13:17 / 1 Thess 5:9-11

Act | Build further accountability in your walk with Christ for yourself and/or others (ex. consider finding an accountability partner)

#4 Fiery Passion

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Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

– Hebrews 12:28-29

I have a burning desire for herThere’s a real spark between usHe’s so hot.  Words related to heat seem to perfectly describe the passion of relationships. What other concept can better relate the way two people feel when they are on fire for each other?  Imagine a love so intense that everything seems to burn up in their flames for one another.

As good as these feelings are, they’re mainly superficial, dealing with the laws of attraction and chemistry.  But what if there was intense fire in a relationship that was more than skin deep, that seared our very souls?

When we respond to grace, opening the doors for relationship, we find that God doesn’t walk in meekly.  He arrives in full force, a fire so hot that it burns us to a crisp – it eats away our pains, ills, sin, and guilt.  It carbonizes our old selves, and out of those ashes rises someone reinvented, someone sublime.  From the heat of this perfect love, we discover this – we’ve become someone more lovely than we ever thought we could be.

Pray | Ask God to “burn you up” with a desire for him, or if you don’t feel a need for such passion, instead ask God to show you what it is he wants out of your relationship with him

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: 1 Peter 1:3-9 / Job 23:10 / Ezekiel 18:31 / 2 Corinthians 5:17 / Zechariah 13:9

Act | Develop a list of those things in you that you would like to change and spend time reflecting both on why you haven’t changed and how you might approach changes in these areas