Devotion for February 2, 2024

“But that is not the way you learned Christ! Assuming that you have heard about Him and were taught in Him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:20-24)

In the movie Groundhog Day, Bill Murray plays a contemptible TV reporter who finds himself reliving the same day — Groundhog Day — over and over again. Each day begins with the radio alarm blasting Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You, Babe.”

But Murray grows through the experience, eventually building upon what he learned in previous iterations of that day. We see his rough edges slowly sanded away as he becomes a quintessential renaissance man, a friend and a hero, while simultaneously becoming an expert card-thrower, French speaker, ice sculptor and pianist. Finally, in the end, he deservedly gets the girl.

Meanwhile, back in reality, real people are caught in a real endless loop, except that it is one they don’t outgrow. Despite living through the consequences of their choices, they wake up each day to repeat the same mistakes. They remain spiritually stunted and allow themselves to become embittered by the fallout of their choices.

This is not a path to progress. It is a path to defeat and despair. And Jesus died to set you free from all that. That manner of life is corrupt and stained by deceitful desires. These are the desires that tell you your way is better than God’s way and that God’s way will never satisfy like your way can. God’s way is marked by true righteousness and holiness. Satan’s way is to temptations of the flesh, pressure to conform to the world or return to the toxic mindsets, habits and relationships you left behind. Not with Jesus. His way is marked by forgiveness, renewal and transformation. We become less, and Jesus becomes more. We increasingly take on the likeness of God as the truths of His word drown out the lies of the things that have tempted us.

When we put off our old selves — when we count ourselves as nothing and Jesus as everything — we immerse ourselves in His word, and what goes in comes out. “For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Does your everyday seem like a replay of the previous day’s mistakes? It doesn’t have to be. The good news is, God’s power and grace are without measure.

Prayer

Father, I need Your mercy, and Your forgiveness, each day to counter my life of sin. Renew me each day, and let my life be a proper reflection of Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Stay encouraged!

Pastor Mike

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