Day 28 Devotional Before United Prayer: (about 2:05 minute reading)
All Christians who are not experiencing deliverance from temptation through Christ, but are trying to do it through their own efforts by asking God to add His power to their efforts are not experiencing the “light burden” Jesus referenced in Matthew 11:28-29. Instead, their lives are weighed down with frustration, bewilderment, and feelings of defeat. Jesus calls us to come to Him with this burden. If you learn how to do that, you will find “rest,” and your walk with the Lord will become much “easier” and “lighter” because Jesus is giving you His victory, and you are resting in Him for the victory.
Before I came to personally understand and experience the reality of abiding in Christ and allowing Him to manifest Himself in and through me, I did not understand these words of Christ. For me the Christian life was a burden and obedience was not easy. Once I came to understand and experience Christ’s abiding presence, only then did I find His words to be true—”My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” He offers the same abiding experience to all who believe in Him.
Stay in Touch
This kind of victory in Christ requires us to be in moment-by-moment communion with Him. Remember that David wrote, “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” (Psalm 16:8). David knew the necessity of the Lord being “always before him.” We must not let our communion with Jesus be broken.
We can also see that the victory Jesus offers us requires a moment-by-moment surrender to Him. Whenever a temptation comes we must surrender it to Him no matter how much we have enjoyed yielding to it in the past. Complete 100 percent surrender is the only way to complete 100 percent victory.
Ellen White wrote of the necessity of moment-by-moment communion and surrender with the words:
We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to him moment-by-moment we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end. (Desire of Ages, 324)
Daily receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is also essential for our communion with Christ to remain unbroken. Ellen White confirmed this when she wrote:
We must have a living connection with God. We must be clothed with power from on high by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that we may reach a higher standard; for there is help for us in no other way. (Review and Herald, April 5, 1892)
We are clearly told that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is what gives us a “living connection” with God. We are also told that the Spirit’s infilling is absolutely necessary for this to happen. As she stated, “There is help for us in no other way . . .”
Personal Reading for Discussion:
Christ—Our Only Hope
The message of righteousness by faith was a message of hope, a message of victory, a message that lifted up Jesus. It taught Jesus as our only hope of victory and being ready for His glorious return.
I personally believe the Lord is reissuing this message to His people. May we not repeat the experience of those who have gone before us. May we earnestly seek the Lord for a clear understanding of the message, asking Him to lead us into the fullness of Christ living in us and manifesting His righteousness.
The generation to which that message was given failed to receive it. It appears that several generations following them also failed to receive it. I challenge today’s generation not to follow their sad example. May we take seriously God’s call to be filled with His Spirit and experience the full manifestation of Christ in our lives and service for Him. This is why our Lord is waiting for us.
Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. (Christ’s Object Lessons, 69)
Christ is waiting for the manifestation of Himself in His people. He is not waiting for them to simply become “like” Him. No, He is waiting for He Himself to be manifested and seen. He is also waiting for His character to be “perfectly reproduced” in His people. He is not waiting for us to reproduce His character within ourselves for Him. No, He is waiting for us to allow Him to reproduce His character in us by living out His righteousness in us. These things can only happen as we understand and experience the message of righteousness by faith presented in 1888.
Waggoner described this experience as follows:
Here is the secret of strength. It is Christ, the Son of God, the one to whom all power in Heaven and earth is given, who does the work. If he lives in the heart to do the work, is it boasting to say that continual victories may be gained? Yes, it is boasting; but it is boasting in the Lord, and that is allowable. (Lesson on Faith, 4)
Once you discover this amazing truth of experiencing Christ’s righteousness your life will never be the same again. Your life will be filled with joy and peace. You will see victories previously thought impossible to attain. Jesus will be everything to you. You will know from experience what Paul meant when he wrote, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Day 28 Prayer Focus: Pray for
- The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
- Revival for yourself and the church
- God to lead the church to understand and experience complete victory over temptation through faith in Christ’s righteous obedience in your life
- Those on your prayer list
Day 28 Going Deeper Discussion Questions: (based on pages 93 to 97 of “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith [pages 113 to 117 of the PDF version])
Lighten Up-Christ—Our Only Hope
- What about the author’s stance that we cannot ask God to add His effort to our effort to fight temptation and sin surprised you?
- How do we balance what is God’s work in us with the power of the ‘will’?
- The “light burden” that Matt 11:28-29 talks about, is it a reality in your life and if it isn’t why do you think it isn’t?
- The author talks about abiding in Jesus in conjunction with light burdens, how do these two tie together?
Stay in Touch
- What has the message of righteousness by faith taught us?
- The message of righteousness by faith is what kind of message?
- What is the key word the author emphasis when talking about the result of Christ in us? Why does he use that specific word?
- How does the Christian walk change when Christ is manifest in us? Do you believe it for yourself?
- What is “Christ in you the hope of glory”?
- What is the result of Christ manifest in His people?
- How do you think your own church would be different if everyone manifested Christ today?
Day 28 Heart preparation/challenge:
- Throughout the day ask God to remind you what He is speaking to you in today’s reading and going deeper discussions and to help you to apply them in your life
- Read “Righteousness by Faith” by Dennis Smith pages 99 to 101 (pages 119 to 121 of the PDF file) in preparation for Day 29.
- Prayerfully answer Day 29 discussion questions in preparation to share on Day 29 Going Deeper segment of united prayer.