Day 69: March 10, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Romans 12:1-9
1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. 3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. 4 Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, 5 in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. 6 According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the standard of one’s faith; 7 if service, in service; if teaching, in teaching; 8 if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Love must be without hypocrisy. Detest evil; cling to what is good.

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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Journaling for Self-Understanding and Evaluation
by Brian Dodridge, Associate Executive Pastor, Brentwood Baptist

This passage is full of truth.

“Offer yourselves as a living and holy sacrifice… do not be conformed to this world… do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to… your role as a believer is to use your spiritual gift to serve the body of Christ.”

It’s a passage worthy of study and memorization, and its application runs deep.

In a previous study of this passage, I vividly remember a professor saying of verse one, “The problem with ‘living sacrifices’ is that they have a knack for sliding off the sacrificial table.” How do we keep from sliding off the table? One way is to root ourselves deeper in Scripture, through study, memorization, and journaling what we discover as we read God’s Word.

Journaling can help you record all your thoughts about a particular passage. It forces you to think how a passage does or should impact you. It’s also a great tool for self-evaluation. When you write out what Scripture says, God’s expectations from a passage become clearer, and then you have a benchmark for future growth.

While pen and paper were harder to come by in antiquity, many biblical writers engaged in forms of journaling. They recorded God’s truth and wrote about how it affected them. The Apostle Paul often used his writing for self-evaluation, which we see an example of in Romans 7:15: “I do things I don’t want to do, and don’t do…”

Writing in a journal has provided me a place to record what I’m learning from the Bible. Sometimes I write about historical facts or new insights. Other times, I reflect on ways the Spirit is teaching me.

Writing down God’s truth also forces me to measure myself against God’s standards. I can track progress against what God has for me. I can then look back in journals and see where I struggled for long periods of time with one sin issue, and how I’m being transformed. While I don’t give myself grades, it’s often pretty clear when I read previous entries how God is working in my life, and how I’m responding to His work.

Praxis

Choose one of the truths from today’s passage and write about its implication to you personally. You can then know that’s a benchmark for you. Then, purpose to improve in that area.

An example of this might read: “From 12:8, I know God’s given me the gift of encouragement. I also know I don’t use it all that often. I will work to encourage three people every day for the rest of the week.” Pray and ask for God’s help. Then the next time you journal, you can use your previous writings as a way to self-evaluate and develop your walk with Christ.


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.