For today's Friday Findings, a friend of mine directed me to Paul Tripp's special Advent devotional. Wow! What a treasure! I had just finished reading his book on parenting teens, Age of Opportunity, which was very convicting and challenging.
For those who like to read, there is a PDF format. If you prefer to listen, you can do that too. (Just to let you know, the audio is not exactly the same as the PDF. It is much more like a sermon.) There are four Advent devotionals, with one bonus one for the new year. While you can read them in any order, there is a suggested guide that can help you get the most out of them.
Here's a quote from the first devotional that stood out to me:
"You and I were created to love God. We were hardwired to live in an intimate relationship with the Creator that would shape every motive, every desire, every choice, every word, and every action. If at any moment you asked me what I was doing, I could say to you, 'Because I love my God.'
Why do you speak to your spouse the way you do? Because I love my God.
Why do you treat your children the way you do? Because I love my God.
Why do you spend your money the way you do? Because I love my God.
Why do you schedule your life the way you do? Because I love my God."--Paul Tripp
As I was reading this, I realized that whoever that God is--whether it be my Savior or myself--everything I did was a reflection of what I worshipped. If I am honest, it is probably more of a tug of war than the wholehearted worship and obedience that I desire.
After each devotional, there are reflection questions to think through. I was reminded once again that when I allow love of self to overshadow my love for God, results are disastrous. I end up undermining the Gospel, hurting others, damaging my character, ruining my testimony, and hindering His kingdom plans. No wonder sin grieves God so much! And yet, His grief did not just end there. His love, His desire to see us live in all that He intended for us, led His Son on His journey to this sin-stained world to rescue and deliver us from it.
With these words, Paul Tripp closes this first devotional: "There will be a day when every microbe of sin is destroyed, and every cell in your soul will be controlled by the love of God. Look forward to that day, because when it comes, it will never expire." I am looking forward to that day. And because Jesus came that first Christmas, that day will one day be a reality.
I hope you'll be able to carve some time out to let the Lord renew your heart this season. I pray you will be blessed.