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.
Romans 8:1 “So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the Anointed One.” (TPT)
Chained No More
It has been said that the Gospel is simple to understand but difficult to accept. That’s because each of us is born with a deep attachment to ourselves and to this brief life we have on earth. It is this attachment, which is very familiar and oh so comfortable, that often keeps us in — or lures us back into — our chains of guilt, shame, legalism, doubt, and performance time and time again. Despite the fact that Jesus came to set us free from sin and any condemnation — past, present, or future — it is in our nature to return to what we are most familiar with and find comfort in. It is far easier for us to trust ourselves more than our God who can’t be seen. This is exactly why Paul warns us in Galatians 5:1 to stand firm and avoid putting ourselves in bondage to anything or anyone but Jesus Himself.
As hard as this is to hear, If we return to the slavery of condemnation and continue to walk under a cloud of guilt, it is because we are being self-centered. We wrongly focus on how we feel, what we should achieve, and how hard we should be on ourselves, rather than shifting our gaze and fixing our eyes on a Savior who offers us complete love and forgiveness. One of Satan’s most effective and insidious lies of all time is that self-loathing is synonymous with humility, making it necessary for forgiveness and restoration. However, we are so valuable to our Heavenly Father that He sacrificed Himself in the person of Jesus to completely and permanently forgive us, heal us, and restore us to eternal fellowship with Him. No one and no attachments can keep us from the love of God or make Him love us more, and that includes our own efforts, perceptions, and mistakes. Jesus’ gift comes with no strings attached and there’s nothing we can do to earn it by punishing ourselves, feeling guilty, or doing good things. We often forget how earth-shattering and soul-shaking this news is, but Romans 8:1 brings the glorious truth back to us in the most forceful language Paul could write. Once and for all, the verse tells us, the voice of condemnation is silenced and the voice of freedom forever reigns.
It may be hard to believe, but God simply doesn’t need our effort, participation, or self-punishment to make us free and flawless, forever forgiven, and made royal — the son or daughter of the King of kings. Therefore, any child of the King who continues to believe that he or she is not good enough to be loved, adored, and blessed is chained to a kind of self-induced slavery. While we have trouble seeing our slavery for what it really is, the Holy Spirit is whispering to us to let it go and believe that the sacrifice of Jesus is enough. No matter what we’ve done or will do… no matter how bad we might still be… grace and freedom are offered to us in a fresh outpouring on a daily basis. To be co-heirs with Jesus, we don’t have to bring anything into the throne room but our surrender. We only need to let go of our own self-worth in exchange for His endless value. It’s the deal of a lifetime.
This week as you reflect on the Scripture readings, begin each day by asking God to help you answer this question: What am I holding onto that keeps me chained and limits my freedom to fully live as a son or daughter of the King?
Daily Bible Readings
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 Galatians 5:1. Everything that can be experienced in this world — even the blessings of God — turn to ruin when they get out of balance… when they are consumed too much… when they become more important to us than the Gift-Giver Himself. Likewise, once we have been forgiven of sin, our overwhelming need to make up for it through performance, guilt, or self-punishment can consume us. In either of these situations, this is when we enter into slavery again, and it is what Paul encourages us to stand firm against. As you enter into a time of prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to convict your heart of anything that is consuming you more than Jesus. As the conviction comes, confess, and receive His forgiveness. Ask Him to show you how to leave it all behind and begin moving forward toward healing.
Tuesday - Read Hebrews 4:15-16. Ever since the Garden of Eden, humankind has felt the need to punish itself once exposed to the indictment of condemnation. Yet the only One who could adequately punish us for our sins instead offers us forgiveness and wholeness forevermore. Even more astounding, Jesus walked in our shoes, and knows exactly how much we struggle with sin, mistakes, guilt, and shame. Spend time meditating on this verse and that you have a high priest who knows you so well and has forgiven you of so much, that you have limitless value and are loved beyond comprehension.
Wednesday — Read and meditate upon Proverbs 5:21, Isaiah 55:8-9, and Proverbs 3:5. How does it bring you comfort to know that God sees your every habit, mistake, or sin? Are you willing to trust in His love, His ways, and direction more than your own analysis and wisdom? Spend a few minutes asking God to search your heart in the days ahead and commit to being open to His promptings. Write down anything you sense that He’s telling you.
Thursday - Every waking moment of our lives is designed to glorify Jesus. While that’s impossible to do within our own power, the Holy Spirit enables us to grow more and more in that direction with each step of faith and obedience. Read Colossians 3:1-8 and consider any areas of your “old life” that have come back or you have never been able to defeat. What line in the sand do you need to draw today with God’s help? Write down your next baby step in that direction.
Friday - Read Psalm 103:8-12 and then listen to a few songs from this Freedom in Jesus playlist on Spotify. Invite God’s presence to rest upon you as sing praises out to Him and thank Him for His sacrifice, forgiveness, and love. As you praise Him, write down anything that you need to release and walk away from in freedom.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to Jesus each day and explore what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.
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