What makes an effective servant of Christ is not natural abilities, creativity, or human initiative, but total dependence on Him for both direction and adequacy. God uses those who are weak, humble, submissive, and obedient so that He alone gets the glory.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, February 1, 2018.
The greatest tragedy that can befall someone is to think he’s saved, only to discover after death that he isn’t. We’d all like to believe the claims of those who say they’re Christians, but Jesus gives a harsh warning because He knows many will be deceived. They will sit in churches week after week, professing that Jesus is the Son of God, but won’t ever really enter into a personal relationship with Him.
Intellectual faith isn’t the same as saving faith. It’s not enough to know facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again. Even demons believe that (James 2:19). Salvation involves more than mere knowing. It requires trusting that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him. What matters is not what we say with our mouth, but what we believe in our heart.
Although you probably won’t understand all that happens at the moment of salvation, when Christ becomes your Savior, He also becomes your Lord. As the Master of your life, He then has the right to govern what you do. His Holy Spirit takes up residence within you when you are saved, and that means you will change – God’s Spirit continually works to remove sinful attitudes and behaviors, replacing them with His spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
We recognize a person’s salvation not by his profession but by fruit. If you are truly saved, your character will become more Christlike over time, and your desire will be to obey the Lord. This does not mean you’ll never sin or stumble, but overall, your life will be characterized by obedience.
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, December 18, 2017.
In God’s eyes, anyone who sins is rebellious, and Scripture tells us we’re all guilty (Romans 3:23). Now, it makes sense that an unbeliever would choose to act apart from biblical teaching. But what about those of us who have committed to follow Christ – what would cause us to stray from the will of our heavenly Father?
There are two powerful human tendencies that lead to disobedience: doubt and pride. Both can be dangerously misleading.
- Doubt is a mental struggle over whether or not to believe God’s promises. From our limited perspective, we cannot understand how the Lord works. Sometimes His way does not feel like the right path, so in order to obey, we must step out in faith. Then it can feel as though we are jumping off a cliff and trusting God’s invisible rope to hold us. If we listen to our doubt, we will surely transgress.
- Pride is the sin that caused Satan to fall from heaven, and it is a deceptive obstacle for believers as well. Pride has to do with thinking that our way is best, putting more faith in our ability than God’s promises, and desiring praise. Anything we do out of pride is rebellion against the Lord.
Whatever the cause, sin never leads to the Lord’s best for our life. God’s way is the only road resulting in fulfillment and peace.
The enemy wants to lure us with doubt and pride – both feel right and are easily justifiable from our human perspective. But believers should follow Joshua’s wisdom instead: “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch devotional, November 21, 2017.
The pathway of faith has divine purpose, and we’re to obey the Lord, no matter what. But even when God’s direction is perplexing, we can count on the fact that He is good.
Walking obediently with Christ doesn’t guarantee an easy life, which is obvious when we consider Paul. He encountered all kinds of hardships, including shipwreck, persecution, and beatings (2 Cor. 11:23-27). Keep in mind, though, that nothing can touch a child of God without the Father’s loving permission. He uses difficulty to strengthen and correct believers – and eventually as a tool in achieving His plan. Also remember that the Lord protects His followers in their suffering, just as He kept the apostle safe in situations that seemed impossible to overcome.
Adversity can tempt us to ignore the Holy Spirit’s guidance. But we will ultimately regret such a decision, as God doesn’t spare us from the consequences of our sin. However, He never lets go of His children, whom He will continue to protect and guide throughout life.
Walking in obedience and trust is the only way to true peace. As Paul sat in an uncomfortable Roman prison where his life was in danger, he encouraged believers not to worry but to trust the Lord and pray with gratitude (Isa. 26:3; Phil. 4:6). Doing so leads to experiencing His perfect peace.
The only wise way to live is to believe in almighty God and follow wherever He leads. That is the road to contentment, fulfillment, protection, and peace. Are you journeying on the pathway of faith? Or is something holding you back from all God intended for our life?
Commentary from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Devotional, July 28, 2017.
It has been said that “God prefers reluctant obedience rather than joyful disobedience.” But this statement is misleading. When we first learn to obey God, we sometimes do so reluctantly because we leave the familiar territory of doing as we please to discover the uncharted waters of yielding our will to His. But once we understand that obedience to the Lord produces joy in our life, we also begin to realize that there is no such thing as “joyful disobedience.” For, in fact, ignoring God’s directives is a joy stealer.
Alan Redpath states it this way: “When there’s disobedience in the Christian life, the fullness ceases. And you soon know when you’ve lost the fullness because the joy is gone.”
If you find that you are resisting obedience to God in some area of your life, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” because no matter how vigorously you try to justify disobedience in your life, you can never replace the joy that is lost when you say “No” to God.
Dear Christian, run to do His will, and lay hold of the resulting joy that God has provided for those who obey Him. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain, for a joyful heart stems from an obedient heart.
“Obedient submission is the only way to joy.” Charles Stanley
Commentary from the Pathways devotional by David Jeremiah, June 9.
Consider the command in Ephesians 4:32 to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving. When we carry resentment in our hearts, it’s like a little pocket of poison that pulls down our personalities and sours our spirits. But when we’re kind and pleasant, it lightens our burdens and brightens our days-not to mention what it does for others.
God knows how we best function-He created us-and He’s an expert on the care of the soul. Obedience not only glorifies Him, it blesses our lives.
Commentary from David Jeremiah’s Pathways Devotional, May 10.