Day 2: January 2, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

1 John 3:1-3
Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it didn’t know Him. Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed.  We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.  And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Introduction: Why Spiritual Disciplines? What we will be, we are becoming?
by Roger Severino, Adult Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

What is the purpose of the spiritual disciplines, or practices, such as Bible study, prayer, worship, etc.? In yesterday’s devotional we looked at three passages that talk about our being formed, conformed and transformed into the image of Christ. It appears from Scripture that God’s desire for every believer is that we become increasingly more like Jesus.

Our passage today begins by stating the great wonder of being a child of God. The original Greek captures this amazement with an expression that could be translated “of what country” is this love that the Father has given us? It is amazing! It is “out of this world!” I encourage you to reflect on the great wonder and privilege of being loved incredibly by the Father and the great privilege of being His child.

Romans 8 states that we are already God’s children (vv. 14-17), but then goes on to say we are awaiting our final adoption (vv. 18-25). So we are already God’s children, but there is more that we await. 1 John 3:1-3 also carries this idea of the “already” and “not yet.” “We are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed” (v. 2a). We carry the great hope that when Christ appears, “we will be like Him” (v. 2b). This passage then finishes by saying “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure” (v. 3). 

Do you see what John is saying? We will be like Jesus one day when He returns. Meanwhile, we purify ourselves and are transformed to be more like Jesus while we await His return. In other words, what we will be, we are becoming. We are now undergoing a gradual transformation, but one day it will be a sudden transformation. We are practicing to be more like Jesus until the day we are like Jesus.

So how will you practice to be like Jesus? I don’t think it comes through simple self-effort or mere imitation in your own strength. In M. Robert Mulholland Jr.’s book Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation, he defines spiritual formation as “a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.”

It is a process. Being conformed means you are the one acted upon. God, through His Spirit, is the one conforming you to the image of Christ. What will you do this year to allow this process to occur in your life? I encourage you to reflect on the various spiritual practices we will be studying this quarter so you can put yourself in a position to be acted upon by God through His Spirit. 


[1] The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Version. (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2009), 1 Jn 3:1–3.

Praxis

  1. Reflect on whether or not you are a child of God that John talks about in today’s passage.  Have you responded in faith to the call of Christ in your life? Have you given your life to Him?
  2. Reflect on the great privilege of being called a child of God. What are the implications of being so loved by your Heavenly Father? How should this shape your identity? 
  3. Today’s text says that “when He appears, we will be like Him.” In what ways are you looking forward to being more like Jesus? What are some obvious areas where there is a gap between who you are today and who Jesus is? 
  4. List one or two habits you want to develop this year that will help make you more like Jesus.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.