Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, August 25 - Habits Of A True Believer

“What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” — Luke 12:3

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Believe it or not, Super Bowl champions are made in the preseason, before the games actually count. NFL games in December and January may get a lot of the attention, but August is what really matters.

It’s in the preseason, when few are watching, that teams form yearlong bonds. It’s when quarterbacks build chemistry with their receivers, when coaches fine-tune their play calls, and when players develop routines for lifting weights, studying film, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet. Often, the teams who work hard in the preseason to establish winning habits are the ones playing for the Lombardi Trophy in February.

Jesus addressed this same principle in Luke 12 while speaking to His disciples about the Pharisees. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” Jesus said in the first verse, referring to their practice of acting like the holiest people on earth when others were watching, but revealing what was really in their hearts behind closed doors.

Jesus continued in verse 2, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.” Jesus, as God Himself, knew what was really in the hearts of the Pharisees. He could see beyond what they allowed other people to see in public. As much as they tried to fool those around them, the Pharisees’ true character was set against God. Jesus saw that clearly and criticized them as the hypocrites they were. What they concealed had been disclosed.

NFL teams who finish with losing records aren’t hypocrites, but their final record does indicate the habits that lead to winning may not have been established in the preseason. Like the Pharisees, their poor habits behind the scenes eventually came to light.

In the Christian life as well, no one can fake their way into everlasting life. We may say all the right words, do all the right things and recite all the right verses, but the Lord knows our hearts. He still sees the poor spiritual habits we hide from others.

Yet, He still saves us. How?

God is in the business of saving sinners, of bringing near to Himself hearts that were far from Him, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. If salvation depended on our own habits, none of us would be saved. But the Good News of the Gospel is that salvation depends on the perfect life, the atoning death and the triumphant resurrection of Jesus.

When God truly changes our hearts and brings us to Himself, our desires will naturally change. We will want to honor Him with every aspect of our lives, even our habits behind closed doors.

— Kevin Mercer

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