Isaiah 48:12-50:11, Eph 4:17-32, Ps 69:1-18, Pr 24:5-6
Today is the 26th day of September. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It is great to be here with you as we move ourselves into the back half of another week and we’re just…let me look at a calendar here…1, 2, 3, 4, 5…5 more days in this month. So, back half of the month. And wow! I look back over any month and consider the territory that we’ve covered in the Scriptures and realize it does matter what month we’re in, there’s something so profound that God speaks through His word into our lives that hits us right where we are, like just talking about growing up and maturing yesterday from the book of Ephesians. And, so let’s take the next step forward on our adventure through the Scriptures this year. We’ve been reading from the Voice this week. Today, Isaiah 48 verse 12 through 50 verse 11.
Alright. So, have you ever heard the sentiment like, “be…like…be all you can be?” Like, “maximize your potential”, right? “Be the best version of yourself”, this kind of sentiment. “Live into your absolute full potential”, right? I have never in my life…ever…I can’t remember a time that those kinds of ideas weren’t swirling around, probably because their great marketing, right? “If you buy this thing, then you will be all you can be.” And that gets attached to every kind of product and service you can imagine, right? Because if this product or service will make you the best version of you, like you will become your maximum potential and you will live up to it, then, who wouldn’t want to buy that? And, so, kind of dovetailing with what we were talking about in Ephesians yesterday, Paul kinda goes there in today’s reading by first describing what our maximum impact potential is not. He says, “they are blind to true understanding, they are strangers and aliens to the kind of life God has for them because they live in ignorance and immorality and because their hearts are cold, hard stones. And now since they’ve lost all natural feelings, they’ve given themselves over to sensual, greedy and reckless living. They stop at nothing to satisfy their impure appetites”. So basically, according to Paul, the close minded hardhearted person has no real good way forward. And there’s a reason. I mean Paul, throughout his entire writings and his entire ministry, the promise was that faith was the activator, faith started with Abraham, faith is the thing, it activates renewal and it’s the only path that will lead us to God. So, to truly have faith would mean that we would believe with our whole heart in a certain direction. So, a closed mind and a hard heart isn’t gonna get us there. That’s not who we were created to be. So, yesterday we were talking about growing up and maturing and how do we do that. So, in today’s reading, like how do we move toward a person that is living into their maximum potential? Paul actually gives those instructions. “Take off your former way of life, your crumpled old self, that dark blot of a soul corrupted by deceitful desire and lust. Take a fresh breath. Let God renew your attitude and spirit, then you’re ready to put on your new self, modeled after the very likeness of God, truthful, righteous and holy.” Okay, pause here for a second and think of what we just read less as a list of things that you gotta get your act together on. Like, let’s let what we just read sink in because now we’re talking about things that are unbelievably good news, like too good, another vista again. We’re speaking about a fully restored humanity, created in God’s image. We’re talking about who we were actually created to be all along. And, so, obviously we can’t give ourselves a new nature but we can receive one from God and that is exactly what being made new through faith is. Right? So, we can’t make it happen. We absolutely have to collaborate, but we have to collaborate. We have to do our part. And Paul told us at length what it looks like. Tell the truth. That’s you doing your part. Don’t let anger control you. That’s you collaborating. Don’t steal. That’s you partnering with God in His work. Work hard, give generously, don’t use foul language, be an encouragement, don’t be better, be kind. Forgive as God has forgiven you through Jesus. If we’ll live into this then we can, as Paul says, allow the spirit to renew, remake, make new again our thoughts and attitudes. So, basically, the Holy Spirit will remind us of who we are and who we were created to be. So, if we go back to the beginning of our little discussion on like living into our max potential then anger and bitterness isn’t going to get us there and unforgiveness isn’t gonna work. This is actually choosing the least impactful version of ourselves. It causes the maximum damage in our lives. So, let’s think about it today. Where are we going? If we don’t know where we’re going, we still will end up somewhere. It will just be confusing as to why. Are we intentionally living into becoming all that we were made to be, all that’s being outlined in this letter to the Ephesians, where we’re being told we are being fashioned in the image of our Creator, that we are the sons and daughters of the most high God upon this earth, that we are supposed to grow up and be that on the earth and reveal God’s kingdom in the process. So, do we want to be who we are or are we just loving being less?
Father, we invite You into that. There’s…there’s just so much in this letter to the Ephesians that lifts our eyes. It’s like we’ve been staring at the ground walking one foot in front of the other just in single file line kinda just trying to keep it together and stay in the margins and we haven’t lifted our heads to the horizon to realize what we can see now, what there is, what You’ve actually done for us. And we want to be that. We’ve deferred what that might be like until after we die. Like we thought all of the benefits of this faith journey, they don’t actually kick in until I’m dead. But that’s not what we’re seeing in Your word. You have actually created us to be impactful, maximized, mature people who are growing forward every day and being transformed and set apart as holy to You. That’s what we’re supposed to be like. That’s what normal is. And understanding that that’s what normal is, that gives us pause as we examine ourselves. Come Holy Spirit and continue the work of pulling us forward we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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