Think About This: “There is no mystery about Happiness whatever. Put in the right ingredients and it must come out. He that abideth in Him will bring forth much fruit; and bringing forth much fruit is Happiness. The infallible receipt for Happiness, then, is to do good; and the infallible receipt for doing good is to abide in Christ.” – Henry Drummond
The day God Boasted…
Posted on December 22, 2022 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy’” (Matt 3:16-17).
What had Jesus done that brought God ‘great joy’; what is so commendable that God would break into His creation to speak so proudly about? The answer is found in v. 15, where Jesus states, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” It is Jesus’ spirit of submission to complete every part of the Fathers will (righteousness) that God commends His Son for.
If you go back a little further in the scene Matthew is describing for us, you find John ripping into the religious leaders who were coming to him for baptism; he denounces them, calling them ‘a bunch of snakes’ and asked, “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones” (Matt 3:7-9). How many of us think we are ‘good’ or ‘righteous’ because of our outward appearance, keeping some external morality, or have a claim to a position? The problem with these is they are never considered by God to be of any value, for God judges solely by motives and intent of the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). This is why John says, ‘prove by the choices you make and the way you live that you have repented’, putting off your selfish ambition and putting on the submissive spirit of Christ. If we are abiding in Christ, our motives will reflect the ‘submissive spirit of Jesus’ and be evident in our lives as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. If we are NOT abiding in Christ our motives reflect selfish interest, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissent, factions, strife, jealousy, sensuality, and the like (Gal 5:6-26).
The really cool thing is that while abiding in Christ, we don’t have to rely on our limited resources to be like Christ and reflect His submissive spirit, but “If we let the Holy Spirit guide our lives, then we won’t be doing what our sinful nature craves” (Gal 5:16); that’s awesome!
We have all struggled with our own self righteousness, we have all failed to be what God intended for us all along, and we have all sinned and sinned again and believed we were past forgiveness… but these things do not define those who believe in Jesus Christ! We have been secured forever as children of God because Jesus perfectly kept our end of the deal. When Jesus submitted to God’s plan and gave His life for ours on the cross, He satisfied God’s perfect justice and completely assured our salvation. By His love we are transformed by His ‘submissive spirit’ into those who reflect His righteousness… however imperfectly for now. Our string of failures can be obliterated by confession of our unfaithfulness to His Word. Our days of spiritual laziness can drop off our record through His loving forgiveness. Please breathe in this truth and feel strength rise… and not the strength of merely obedience to some moral code, but being treasured by God. I pray you find joy in Him today as you abide in Christ, putting on His submissive Spirit and hear God say, “This is my child in who I am well pleased.”
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him… The joy of the Lord is our strength.” (Psalm 28:7; Nehemiah 8:10).
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.” Psalm 69:13