Walk with the Lord.

Any time we talk about the devotional and prayer life of Christians, there is almost always a lot of guilt.  We talk about the prayer life of other Christians, and we're not even close to their devotion and prayer.  We study the life of Jesus.  We see him get up early and stay up late just to pray.  We see him devoting himself to growth in his knowledge of God and his Word.  And we hang our heads in shame.

This year, dear Christian, reframe your thoughts about your devotional and prayer life.  

Remember.  There is no failure, short-coming, or sin on your part that can separate you from God's love and forgiveness. You are forgiven!  Jesus' blood has made you clean. Today is a new day.

Remember. Jesus already met all of God's expectations for devotion and prayer for you.  Through faith in him, you stand in front of God as one who has already accomplished all that God expected.  Just as God said of Jesus, "You are my Son, whom I love, with whom I am well pleased," so also God says of you, "You are my child, with whom I am well pleased."

You aren't trying to earn God's love and approval. You already have it. You aren't trying to make up for your sin.  You are already forgiven.

God wants to show you wonderful things in his Word.  You don't need to show him your devotion to him.   No, God wants to show you his devotion to you.  So, this year, get into God's Word. God is devoted to you and he wants to show you.

Lord God, I would love to run with my feet the paths of mountains and valleys, plains and plateaus, but there is so much holding me back. My fitness.  My health.  My physiology.  Even my own desire; I just don’t want to.  That’s the way I feel about you commands.  I want to run in the path of your commands, but there is so much holding me back.  I am held back by guilt and shame for the way I have behaved in the past and how I have failed to measure up to the glory of your commands.  I am held back by the pressure of the expectations; it’s hard to perform under pressure.  I am even held back by my own sinful weakness!  I am so frail, so sinful, so weak.  But Lord, Jesus, your mercies are new this morning.  You have set my heart free from the pressure of expectation by meeting all of God’s expectations for me.  There is nothing I have to do to meet your expectations.  They have all already been met.  You have set my heart free from the fear of punishment by suffering my punishment in my place.  There is no more punishment for me.  More!  You have even given me your Holy Spirit to work in me to will and to act according to your good pleasure.  Yes, Lord, I will run because you have set my heart free!  Amen.