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Defined by Love - Daily Steps

Posted by Kim Stiver on

Welcome to Daily Steps
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.

1 Peter 3:15-16a "But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat Him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be ready to explain your faith with gentleness and respect." (TPT)

Being Flavorful For Jesus

Just as salt makes a bland recipe more palatable, allowing the Holy Spirit to season our speech, attitudes, and actions will make us more effective for God and more loving toward one another. Peter gives us the foundation of this spiritual recipe when he says that we begin by treating Jesus "as the holy master" of our lives. We cannot produce a flavorful life that is appealing to others without letting our Holy Master be the chef of our life-recipe. Likewise, if we aren't ready to explain the hope that lives inside of us in a way that is appetizing, people we encounter will walk away from the table completely empty.  

Jesus was particularly fond of using the salt analogy when He explained the need for humility, gentleness, and respect in the way that believers should explain their faith to a skeptical world. “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:50b) Ever the master of brevity, Mark’s wording implies both a state of being and a command requiring action. This duality echoes the longer version of Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.” Both of the passages make it clear: if you truly believe in Jesus you will be different. You will stand out. But in order to make a difference… in order to be valuable for Kingdom work, you must take action and practice the art of being salt, or flavoring, in a world desperately wanting to taste real nourishment and find soul-satisfying truth.

Here are three ways to apply this truth:

Season our speech with grace to bring out the best in others through conversation. Colossians 4:5-7 says, “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” When we engage others with an extra measure of grace, listen more than we speak, and show genuine interest in their lives, we give the Holy Spirit more time and space to work in our relationships. Every interaction is an opportunity to help someone else draw one step closer to God.

Stand out in a spiritually flavorless and malnourished world. Ephesians 5:8-9 says, “For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true).” John Piper said, “To be the salt of the earth and the light of the world means that at root Christians are so profoundly satisfied by Christ as our eternal reward, we are freed from fear and greed for the sacrifices of love, and are able to rejoice at persecution. When the world sees this, they see the glory of Christ and taste the satisfying pleasure of who He is.”

Sprinkle alluring bits of joy on parched hearts. John 15:11 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full." Another translation says that our joy in Christ will be like “a river overflowing its banks.” Real, infectious joy isn’t possible until you've learned to trust God. Usually, this happens little by little as your faith expands into more areas of your life, gradually saturating everything you do. Your greatest struggles often make the sweetest stories, because once you completely trust God in an area of difficulty, His peace and joy will shine through in ways that you've never imagined, bringing healing, hope, and encouragement to others.

When we get up each day willing to be a simple vessel in which the Holy Spirit can deposit flavorful truth and joyful refreshment, everyone we encounter will see Jesus on display. That is a vision far more appetizing than anything we can dish up on our own. 

Daily Bible Readings

This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask the Holy Spirit to make each of the passages deeply personal and applicable to you. (NOTE: We suggest that you read each of these passages in several different versions of the Bible, including at least one paraphrase version.) As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. Write down anything the Holy Spirit whispers to your soul.

Monday — Read Philippians 2:2 and John 17:20-23. Brennan Manning once said, "“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” As you meditate on these verses about being unified as believers in Christ, spend time asking God to convict your heart of anything in your life that undermines His desire. Ask Him to show you your next step in this area.

Tuesday - Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and Colossians 3:12. A hallmark of God's love blossoming in our hearts is when we can selflessly show compassion, empathy, and comfort to others — especially to those with whom we have little in common or are not like us. When our lives display unconditional love in this manner, we make a way for the Gospel to enter into dark places. Spend time praising Jesus for being the King of light in your life and ask Him to show you how you can be more radiant to your neighbors, family members, and community.

Wednesday -  Read Romans 12:10 and 1 Corinthians 12:26. Take a moment and imagine how your neighborhood or community would change if every Christian lived out the command to "outdo one another in showing honor." Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how you can do a better job showing brotherly/sisterly love to others.

Thursday - Read Luke 6:38 and 1 John 3:17. It's so disappointing to order a special meal in a restaurant only to discover that the chef was stingy with the most expensive ingredient. It's enough to make you feel cheated, especially when the price is steep. This is how an unbeliever may feel when they see that someone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus is stingy with their time, energy, and resources. As you think about being flavorful for Jesus, contemplate the ways in which He may be calling you to be more generous with others.

Friday - Read Romans 12:16 and Galatians 6:2-3. When we feel that helping others is beneath us, or that someone else should take care of a problem, we immediately stymie the Holy Spirit. Likewise, if we get into the habit of thinking that our faith makes us superior to a non-believer in any way, we are setting ourselves up to receive glory rather than Jesus. As you spend time in prayer today, re-read these verses and ask God to lay one word or phrase on your heart on which to meditate on.  

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to God each day and explore what it means to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth.

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. 

STUDY GUIDE

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