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 12:1-2 "Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? To surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes." (TPT)
Strengthening Your Spiritual Backbone
The human spine is made up of more than 30 individual bones, all symbiotically connected to the main spinal cord. It's one of the most amazing designs of the natural world, simultaneously protecting the spinal cord, giving the body its posture, and empowering us to move about. In short, it serves to keep us properly oriented, upright, and in motion. In a remarkably similar way, God created us in His image with a spiritual backbone. Just as our spines are designed to be the balancing rod of our bodies, so our spiritual backbones are intended to keep our souls aligned with God and moving in the right direction. The similarities don't end there, however. Both our physical and spiritual backbones can become easily misaligned, unbalanced, seriously injured, or weakened over time. Many times, we are unaware of how damaged either of them has become until something we really want to achieve becomes impossible without a good dose of restorative therapies and disciplines.
In just two verses, Romans 12:1-2 gives us the perfect regimen for developing and strengthening our spiritual backbones. Direct from the Original Designer Himself, it's a systematic therapy capable of producing the kind of miraculous results that physicians and surgeons can only dream about. The holy remedy Paul prescribes in this passage has eight components, or steps, that work in concert together within the beautiful framework called community. As the triune God, our Great Physician exists within His own perfect community — the trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, it's no wonder that His divine prescription for a balanced, beautiful, and inspiring life depends on us being in a healthy community with other followers of Jesus. We are instruments of His hand in one another's lives, providing accountability, comfort, support, mentoring, cooperation, service, and love.
So often, we try to grow spiritually on our own. Many people have aspects of the eight-component prescription in their lives but fall short of receiving the fullness of the promise to "live a beautiful life" because they attempt to have a strong spiritual backbone on their own. Jesus, however, made it clear to His disciples that it is only in community that we can fully experience what God intends for us as His children. In the same way that God needs Himself in the persons of Father, Son, and Spirit, we need each other to thrive, grow, and stay in balance. Throughout the coming week, strive to spend time with God each day by meditating on one or two of the eight-step prescription that Paul gives us in this passage. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to be intentional with your thought patterns, to open up your mind to His leading, and to soften your heart to His conviction. Be sure to write down anything that the Holy Spirit leads you to change, improve, remove, or add to your life.
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 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 Lamentations 3:22-23. In Romans 121:2, Paul begins his eight-part spiritual therapy program with a reminder of God's mercies. The first step, therefore, is to trust that God will supply His mercies to you as you need them... only enough for the day ahead... not more, not less... not early and never late. They are new every morning and tailored just for you. Our job is to recognize and receive those mercies with a fresh willingness and a grateful, humble heart each day, keeping in mind that some of God's greatest mercies come through the love and service of other people in your life. Take the time to be thankful for His mercies and ask Him to open your eyes to see them in unusual or unexpected places, people, or situations.
Tuesday — Read Ephesians 4:16. There are more than 50 verses in the Bible that incorporate the phrase "one another" as a part of God's instruction for living life as a follower of Jesus. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Step 2 from Romans 12:1-2 is all about learning to surrender. We are called to surrender to God and to one another in a posture of humility and willingness to learn. It's only when we strengthen our spiritual backbone in this way that we can then proceed to Step 3, which is to become living sacrifices working together in unity for God's kingdom purposes. The talents, skills, and passions you have in your heart are designed to complement those of your fellow followers. To grow spiritually as Jesus intends, you must be living and serving in a community of believers. Ask Him how He wants you to open your heart more to others.
Wednesday — Read Psalm 37:4-5. Who doesn't want to experience delight and happiness? The trouble for most of us is that we seek fulfillment and satisfaction in the wrong places and have misaligned or unbalanced priorities. When we indulge in too much of something, our spiritual balance gets thrown off. Likewise, when we compromise on God's best for us, we can sustain serious injury to our spiritual backbone. But Paul challenges us in Romans 12:1-2 to live in holiness (Step 4) and to fully experience true delight (Step 5). When we are seeking God's best and not our own self-centered agenda, the Holy Spirit empowers us to walk in Jesus' strength and not in our own. The more we practice delighting in God, the more our own desires will fade in the light of His glory and goodness. Ask God to send you an accountability partner or group. If you have one, ask Him to make you a stronger contributor to it.
Thursday — Read Hosea 6:6 and John 4:23-24. Paul wrote many letters to the churches scattered throughout the Roman empire, and a common theme of his instructions was sincerity and authenticity. Step 6 of his prescription is to offer God genuine worship, which is so much more than singing or expressions of praise. Authentic worship is nothing short of giving your whole life in surrender to God, trusting Him, obeying what He asks of you. This leads Paul to Step 7, in which He asks you to stop worrying about what the world tells you. Whether it's the pursuit of popularity, success, cultural acceptance, politics, or prestige, all of those things will derail you from truly worshipping God in Spirit and truth. Take an inventory of the greatest influences in your life and surrender them to God's oversight, editing, and refinement.
Friday — Read Ephesians 4:20-25. Paul closes out his eight-part prescription with God's promise to renew and transform our minds if we live in surrender to His truth at work in our hearts and minds. What a glorious relief to know that any of your toxic thought patterns can be healed and redeemed through the power of Jesus! Not only that, but our loving Father will use the renewal of your mind to speak truth to and encourage others. Read today's passage again and notice that all the verses lead up to the statement in verse 25: "Let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." When one of us is transformed in our thinking, we ALL benefit! Let that powerful and deeply-stirring fact sink in for a moment. God designed us to be so interconnected with other believers in our spiritual development and growth that when one of us is renewed, we are all impacted for the better. Let this spur you on in love to hold others accountable and in humility to be held accountable yourself.
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?
Check out our companion study guide to use with your community group, neighbors, or family members! Each week includes thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study based on this week's sermon topic.
Get Your Worship On!
Do you love the worship music at Cornerstone? Then our worship YouTube channel is for you! Enjoy all your favorites now, featuring the worship teams from all of our campuses! PLUS...there is a new original song this week. You won't want to miss it!
CF Worship ChannEl on YouTube