Relationship with Self

Readings for this week January 6 – 10
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

Due to the holiday season, the January Daily Readings were prepared in advance of the Summer Series, and therefore are not directly connected with the content of the Summer Series.

The readings for the four weeks of January will follow the four key relationships (God, Self, Each Other, World), addressing one relationship each week. The readings are taken from across our series of Life Together books, hence why some may seem familiar.

The readings follow the same format as before.

Day 1 – Where Do I Sit?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 14:7-11

Jesus was on show—a dinner guest at the home of one of his critics. As he observed the guests jostling for the best places at the table, he told a story.

We all face life with a picture of who we are and our value in society. This is part of the way we were created.

When sin entered the world a lot of things got messed up, one of them being this idea of self-image. Instead of being a reflection of our true status as created beings and objects of  God’s love, our view of ourselves is out of line—either far too high or damagingly low. We are continuously comparing ourselves with others who have the same problem.

Only God can provide us with a correct and healthy view of ourselves. In his letter to the Christians in Rome, Paul reminds us that we should be modest and clear-headed in our opinion of ourselves. Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Questions to Consider
How do you see yourself? How do you think others view you and your relationship with God?

Lord God, you are one who defines who I am, and your definition centres around love. You have rescued me and renamed me as a child of God. Thank you for your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

Day 2 – Free From Sin

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Romans 6:1-7

Today we will read that without God we are slaves to sin. Sin will be our master and tell us what to do. Slaves have no freedom—they have to do what they are told. What is our response to the fact that God has set us free from slavery? Do we keep on sinning? The answer is ‘No!’

The power of sin to rule our lives and slowly destroy us has been broken. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for us to sin or that we won’t sin any more. When we were slaves to sin, we knew the effect of that in our lives every day—guilt, loneliness and separation from God. With Christ as our boss we’re no longer forced to live this way. His death, and the power that brought him back to life again, has freed us from the old way of life that damaged both us and others. This is what God has set us free from.

But Jesus also has the power to set us free for something as well. He has stuff for us to do. We are no longer forced to submit to our old way of life, but are free to live each day knowing the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit. Sin can no longer keep us from active love and obedience to God. It has been defeated and new life is now possible.

Questions to Consider
There is a time to just ‘stand’ on God’s truth—that through Jesus we are no longer slaves to the power of sin. Have you done this lately? Why is it important that we do this?

Loving Lord, reveal to me what it is that you have set me free for, the things that you have set me free to do in your name, and in the service of others. May I use my freedom to create freedom for others, for those still trapped in unloving and unloved ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

Day 3 – The Downward Journey

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – John 21:15-19

We constantly hear that life is an upward journey— everything is a stepping stone to the next level of success, popularity or status. As Jesus gives instructions to Peter for his future, it is clear that following Jesus is quite different.

When we follow Jesus we will not be going after status, power or control. Our future may be uncertain and we may be fearful of what lies ahead, but we know we can trust God’s love for us and his desire to transform our lives.

In the upside down kingdom our cultural compass can no longer guide us, only Jesus can. Usually when we talk about growing we mean becoming more mature, more in control of life’s choices and more independent. But following Jesus often means choosing not to climb the ladder of control or success. He calls us to see our brothers and sisters, not as competition, but as people we are to walk alongside and give our lives to serve.

Questions to Consider
Think about following Christ on his downward journey. Does this match up with your idea of success, and the hopes and dreams you have? What are the areas of your life you are most reluctant to let God have control of as you follow Christ on his downward journey?

Heavenly Father, give me opportunities to grow in humility. Grow a servant heart in me, and help me surrender into your hands those aspects of my life that I find it hardest to let go of. May I provide compassion, not competition. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

Day 4 – Asking and Receiving

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Matthew 7:7-12

It is God’s nature to give. And it’s a good thing for us to ask him for gifts that will help us serve others.

With these words Jesus shows us what God the Father is like. God is not selfish, stingy or unwilling to give, and we don’t have to beg him for things. God doesn’t give second rate or unpleasant gifts—he gives only the best, most appropriate gifts that will help us spread his kingdom.

When we see needs in ourselves or in the community that we cannot meet, we can ask God to provide people with the necessary gifts. The more we get to know him, the more we will sense his will and know what to ask for. He gives to us so that we can give to others.

1 Corinthians 14:1 says, ‘Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts.’ It is OK to desire gifts. Often God puts a dream or even a frustration in our hearts about something that could be so much better. And he wants us to ask for the grace—the gifts—to do something about it.

Questions to Consider
What are one or two gifts you long for or see a need for in your community? Have you asked God to provide them? If not, why not?

Father God, you are the good father, the one who delights in giving good gifts to your children. Give us the faith to ask for those things that will build your kingdom, heal hurts, restore lives and show love to those who have never known it. May we ask more for others than for ourselves. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)

Day 5 – Developing a Passion

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Jeremiah 20:7-9

We saw last week that Jeremiah was quite reluctant when God first called him to be his prophet. In today’s reading we will see a different side of Jeremiah.

When God called Jeremiah, Jeremiah was afraid, uncertain and reluctant to follow God. He wasn’t sure of God and he wasn’t sure of himself.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. He heard the call, he responded, and then the passion for what God wanted him to do began to grow in him. Jeremiah’s uncertainty gave way to a burning passion that he couldn’t contain.

Jeremiah couldn’t help himself, he just had to speak the words God had placed in him. When he shut his mouth and tried not to speak for a while it ‘became fire in his bones’ – it built up inside him until he could no longer hold it in and it burst out.

It no longer mattered to Jeremiah what might happen to him if he spoke, what other people might say or do to him. He knew that what God was calling him to was tough – and maybe dangerous too – but his passion would not allow him to dodge his responsibility to God. Jeremiah just had to keep walking with God – and he found that as he did so, his passion grew.

Question to Consider
Can you think of something about God’s kingdom that stirs you up?

Lord God, please fan the flames of the passion that you have placed within me. Stir me up to make the difference in the lives of others that you want me to. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)