GRACE YOUTH 
WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL

KNOWING GOD

October 5, 2022


Have you ever considered what God wants for you? Not what He wants you to do, but what He wants you to experience and have in your life. So often, we think about who we should be and what we should do based on what we read in the Bible. While these things are okay, there is a problem. If we change what we are doing to do what the Bible says, that's a good thing. If we develop habits that better represent God, it's a good thing. If my life looks more and more like a life dedicated to following the Bible, it's a good thing. So what's the problem??? Good things don't save you. You can know everything there is to know about God and not be saved. You can change much of your life's habits without having the Holy Spirit inside you. I am not trying to scare you or make you think you are not a Christian when, perhaps, you may be. The point is this: we are called to repent of our sins (Seek forgiveness from God and resist those types of evil in the future), and we are called to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior of our life. Being a Christian is not about being good, changing yourself, or simply doing good. Being a Christian is about surrendering everything to God. It is allowing Him into work where it is uncomfortable. It's opening our hands and letting go of habits, distractions, and thought processes – and letting Him have control. It's trusting that He is doing a good, new work even if it is painful. It's embracing humility and raw honesty in such a way that we freely share with God what is on our hearts. That we learn more and more to share with others the things we have never shared with anyone. It is responding to God when He prompts you in the moment. It is coming to the realization, that we are utterly wicked, and He is completely holy. Because He is holy and we are not, we think and do everything differently. God's way is better than ours, but because we are so different, God's way often seems like a lesser idea than our own, and we choose to maintain control. But when we let go and submit to Him, His teaching, and His prompting, when we confess our sins and turn from them, God will instill in our hearts a rich understanding of who He is. Not in the sense of knowing about Him, but having regularly experienced His presence, received His many blessings, and been transformed – it is at these moments when we know the person of God. People who long to know God in this way always conclude that there is nothing more valuable than knowing God. 


Psalm 23:1-3
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Hebrews 12:1-2
let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 


 

PERCEIVED

September 28, 2022


It's interesting to consider the different stages of life. If you look back at when you were younger, you can find that there have been stages. Each is uniquely different, bringing new freedoms, challenges, and emotions. Those first few years of school, everything is exciting and you get see your friends every day. Most kids find that they enjoy learning and have an appreciation for all the new information they are coming to understand. Then there is Middle School, Jr. High, and High School. At each of these stages, you can probably identify several ways that you grew, changed, and matured. We grow in our studies and we also grow as we continually learn how to be socially accepted. What may be the most interesting is that for many of us, each year of school we find ourselves caring a little more about social acceptance. In fact, we have all changed things about ourselves – clothes, hair, how we speak, who we spend time with, how we talk about other people…. The list goes on. The reality is, we are concerned about how other people see us. We are concerned about if they like me, if I said the right thing, if I played well enough, etc. In all of this, our cares about what other people think boils down to our desire to be liked and received, to feel valued and respected.

Did you know that it doesn’t matter what people say or think? It doesn’t matter if they are kind to you, or if they like you at all. Yes, we should strive to get along with people, encourage, and build others up. These are good habits that help people. But, we don’t need to worry about their perception of us. After all, if you have a relationship with Jesus, you have already been given a new identity. The only question is, “How well are you stepping into who God has called you to be?”


1 Peter 2:9-10
 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Colossians 3:1-4
 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 

ACTION STEP

  1. List 5-10 ways you have been sinful (both recently and in the past). 
  2. Take a second look at your list. Pray over each one and ask God if you are being sincere in each sinful habit you have written down. 
  3. Ask God for His forgiveness and strength to no longer sin in these areas. 
  4. Take a step of faith and share these sins with a trusted friend, mentor, or parent (Someone who is a Christian). Ask them to call you out when they see you doing these things.