Devotion: Monday, September 30, 2019

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 10:17-20 where it says,    

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18 And [Jesus] said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

GOOD WORK, LASTING WORK!


Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t celebrate too early! Those are some of the words that I remember from coaches in my past. They were motivating me and the others on the team in the midst of those long, exciting basketball seasons back in high school and college. Don’t dwell on mistakes here and there. Don’t even get caught up in the minor successes. Instead, keep focused on why all of that matters. Keep your eyes on the prize. All the training, all the sacrifice, and all the year-around work were so that we could finish strong when it mattered most.

One other bit of sage advice from athletics that I remember vividly was a word from my track coach. Every year, he would remind me of the importance of training in the summer and not waiting to start when the season began. He would drill into us that it’s the off season that would determine whether I/we would be successful when it mattered most. He told us all to “put the miles in” and get a foundation of training laid so that when the time came to run the race at peak performance, we could. At that moment, in the heat of the battle, in the exhaustion of the race, we could be confident that each of us could do our very best because the work had already been “put in” many months before. Oh, there were some great days when that happened as planned, but each day, struggles and successes, all of them reminded me of the ultimate prize that we were striving for when the season began.

When it comes to the thing that matters most in our lives, Jesus teaches us today to rejoice that our “names are written in heaven.” Such an enduring foundation was laid so that we could live at peak performance in all that we are and do. This foundation though is beyond our abilities. It wasn’t something that we could do for ourselves. It was the effort of the eternal Son of God, His life, death, and resurrection in our place. That “pre-season” work of God literally gives us an eternal life by grace through faith so that we can begin to live joyfully now in the lives of those we love. Powerful stuff!

But like my basketball coaches also taught me, don’t be overwhelmed by the momentary struggles and don’t get to giddy by the interim victories here and there.  The ultimate prize is what really matters in the end. That’s a perspective for life here and now provided by God’s gift of eternal life as we live with Him both now and forever. Christ did the lasting merciful, forgiving work of God for a world that deserved only His judgment and damnation. His lasting work calls forth the good work that we get to do in His name for the sake of others. There’s good work, there’s lasting work, and, by the gift of faith, all of that work becomes ours in Christ forever.

I remember how excited I was for each new season to begin, especially if I was ready for it. I think that’s how rejoicing that our “names are written in heaven” empowers us to face the challenges of our lives in Christ, giving us the confidence to face each new day in Him.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for Your lasting work on our behalf that calls forth and motivates the work we get to do for others in Your name. Give us a sense of joy each new day which comes from knowing you have written our names in heaven.  AMEN.

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