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Daily Steps - Listen Learn Love - Week 4

Posted by Clint Rutledge on

Welcome to Daily Steps
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings and prayer prompts to help you spend time with, and draw closer to Jesus.

1 John 1:8-9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)

Change Begins with Us 

A few years ago, I was driving up to the mountains to a place called Hume Lake. It was really late at night and I had two passengers fast asleep in the backseat. Now, I’m not good with directions, but I had been to this place about a dozen times so I thought I knew where I was going. Then the sun started to come up, and I realized that I had been driving for four hours on a road that should have only taken about 40 minutes. That’s when my passengers woke up and asked me where we were. “I don’t know. I think we’re lost,” I finally confessed. As soon as I spoke those words, one passenger from the backseat politely pointed to a sign up ahead instructing us to make a sharp turn in order to arrive at Hume Lake. This was a sign that I must have driven by all night, but I just didn’t see it. We made the turn and arrived at our destination within minutes. On that day I learned a valuable lesson: in order to get to where we need to be, we have to admit when we are lost. 

The same lesson applies to us as Christ-followers. We are living in a time where changes need to be made, and as Christians, we have an opportunity to lead the way in making those changes and getting to where we need to be. But in order to do so, we must first search our own hearts and admit where we are lost. This is the beginning of a process called repentance.  

The apostle John gives us specific directions on what repentance looks like in 1 John 1:8-9. He instructs us to do four things. First, we need to admit that we have sin within us. He says that we deceive ourselves if we claim to be without sin. This is hard because it takes humility. 

Once we have done that, John encourages us to confess our sins. This process begins first and foremost with us confessing to God (Psalm 51:4) and then as appropriate we confess to others (James 5:16). This can be difficult and emotional as we grieve the parts of our hearts that have hurt God, others, and ourselves. But after the tears of grief, comes the joy of relief! 

The third part of the process is where we receive God’s forgiveness. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, we can always be confident that our sins are fully forgiven, even before we confess. The Bible says that God remembers our sins no more (Jeremiah 31:34) for He has removed them as far as the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12). In other words, when God looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, He sees the reflection of His Son. That is the good news that transforms us. 

This leads us to the final step of purity. John says that God will purify us from all unrighteousness. This doesn’t mean we will sin no more. What it means is that we escape the bondage and power of sin once again. The stranglehold that sin had on our hearts is released and we can now bear the fruit of repentance (Matthew 3:8; Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit is what God produces in us to show the world His love. 

As we close this series on racial reconciliation, let’s ask God to use this biblical process of repentance to transform our own hearts first so that we can love others as Jesus did, and allow that to transform the world around us.

Daily Bible Readings with Prayer Prompts

As you contemplate these passages throughout the week, make time to pray before you read them and then again, afterward. In each reading, ask God to show you what the verses mean specifically to you. God’s Word is alive, so even if you’re familiar with these Scriptures, approach them with an expectant heart and an open mind. God wants to spend time with you.  

Monday – Read Psalm 139. Try to memorize verses 23 and 24. Ask God to search your heart and point out the sin that has caused any brokenness in your relationship with Him, others, or even yourself. Try to practice the four steps of repentance from 1 John 1:9 (acknowledge, confess, forgiveness, purity). It may help to write down your thoughts for each of the four steps.

Tuesday – Read James 4:17 and Psalm 32:3-5. Oftentimes, our greatest sin is silence or ignorance. Ask God to search your heart and point out where your silence or ignorance has allowed evil to flourish around you. Try to practice the four steps of repentance from 1 John 1:9 again (acknowledge, confess, forgiveness, purity). It may help to write down your thoughts for each of the four steps.

Wednesday – Read Daniel’s prayer in Daniel 9:4-19. This is a prayer of communal repentance rather than individual repentance. In other words, much of what Daniel confesses are sins that he did not personally commit, but they had seeped into the culture around him. Ask yourself this tough question: Are there any communal sins that I see in my family or community around me? Pray as Daniel did. Confess those communal sins to God and ask Him to restore your family and community.   

Thursday – Read and memorize Isaiah 1:18. This has been a heavy week and series. Allow the forgiveness of Jesus Christ to wash over you and sit in the truth that although we all have sinned, we are all still white as snow! Where do you have shame today? Allow God’s forgiveness to wash that shame away. The enemy says you are defined by your sin, God says you are defined by His Son. Who are you believing? 

Friday – Read Galatians 5:22-23. What fruits of the spirit do you see most evident in your life and relationships right now? What fruits are least evident? What needs to change in your heart for those fruits to be produced in your relationships? Remember, nobody except Jesus is perfect. We seek spiritual growth, not perfection.

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore what it means to love others as He did.

Want to Go Even Further? 
If you are not already using our weekly study guide with your community group or family members, you're missing out on thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study. 

SERMON STUDY GUIDE - LISTEN LEARN LOVE - WEEK 4

Take Another Step on this Topic

Visit this special Listen, Learn, Love webpage with additional resources, including a practical list of 10 things that we can each do right now to love others. These resources will help you to explore the topic of Biblical justice and racial unity in greater depth. 

LISTEN, LEARN, LOVE RESOURCE PAGE

Watch CF Beyond Sunday this Monday!
After each sermon, our pastors and various church leaders sit down for about 20 minutes to have a lively discussion about the weekend's topic. It will be posted on YouTube and the church website on Monday night, June 29! 

BEYOND SUNDAY ON YOUTUBE

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