Daily Devotion

Children Of Light

God is light, and His children share His nature.

First John 1:5 aptly describes God’s nature as “light” (truth and holiness). Because they partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4), His children also walk in the light. It must be understood that we don’t become God’s children by walking in the light, but rather we walk in the light because we are His children. The Greek verb describes continuous action and could be translated, “If we habitually or continuously walk in the light. . . .” It’s an indicator of character; a definition of a true Christian, just as walking in the darkness characterizes unbelievers.

Two significant benefits come to believers because they walk in the light. These are privileges granted only to Christians; unbelievers who think they possess them deceive themselves.

First, believers experience fellowship with God. “One another” in 1 John 1:7 does not refer to other Christians. Although it is certainly true that believers enjoy fellowship with each other, that is not what this verse is teaching. The use of the pronoun “his” later in the verse makes it clear that the fellowship in view here is with God. That fellowship is mutual, “with one another.” Believers share a common life with God, experience His presence through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and commune with Him through prayer and the reading of His Word.

Second, believers experience cleansing from sin. “The blood of Jesus His Son” is the agency of that cleansing. Christ’s blood is symbolic of His sacrificial death on the cross, where full payment was made for believers’ sins. Once again it must be noted that walking in the light does not earn forgiveness; rather, forgiveness is freely granted to those who walk in the light (who are Christians).

In view of those glorious truths, I would leave you today with the challenge of the apostle Paul: “Now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you “let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

For Further Study

Look up the following passages, noting what each teaches about forgiveness of sin: Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:14; 10:14; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 1:5-6.

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.

Daily Devotion

Searching For Truth

Scripture is the source of divine truth.

It amazes me how people can spend so much time searching for truth but ignore the Bible. In his poem Miriam, John Greenleaf Whittier reflected on the same conundrum:

We search the world for truth. We cull

The good, the pure, the beautiful,

From graven stone and written scroll,

From all old flower-fields of the soul;

And, weary seekers of the best,

We come back laden from the quest,

To find that all the sages said

Is in the Book our mothers read.

God never intended for truth to be mysterious or unattainable. His Word is a repository of truth, containing every principle we need for life and thought.

But knowing truth begins with knowing God, who is its author. First John 5:20 says, “We know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

The psalmist proclaimed, “The works of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts are sure. They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed in truth and uprightness” (Ps. 111:7-8).

As Christians, we are those who walk in truth. That’s how Jesus described us when He prayed to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Similarly John said, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4). In contrast, unbelievers “suppress the truth in unrighteousness,” thus making themselves targets for the wrath of God (Rom. 1:18).

To love God is to love truth; to love truth is to love the Word. May you walk in the truth of God’s Word today and every day.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for the privilege of knowing Him and being able to walk in His truth.

For Further Study

How does Jesus describe the Holy Spirit in John 14:17, 15:26, and 16:13?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993

Daily Devotion

Experiencing Spiritual Victory

Scripture is the source of spiritual victory.

Many Christians struggle with spiritual defeat or recurring sins because they haven’t learned to apply biblical principles to specific situations. Perhaps they don’t know God’s will because they haven’t matured in the Word. Or maybe they know what He expects of them but disregard His counsel. In either case, the result is the same.

Jesus Himself repelled Satan’s attacks by quoting specific portions of Scripture that applied to specific temptations (Matt. 4:1-11). He knew the Word, believed it, and refused to compromise its principles. In so doing He set a pattern for us to follow.

Using metaphorical language, the apostle John emphasized the priority of the Word when he described three levels of spiritual maturity: children, young men, and fathers. In 1 John 2:13 he says, “I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.” Spiritual children aren’t yet mature in their faith, but they know who their Heavenly Father is. They know they belong to God.

John continues: “I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one” (v. 14). Spiritual young men are healthy, vibrant, and aggressive because the Word abides in them—it has found a home in their hearts. They’re victorious over the evil one because their doctrine is sound and they’ve cultivated spiritual wisdom and discernment (Phil. 1:9). They recognize Satan’s lies and reject them.

First John 2:14 says, “I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning.” Spiritual fathers have a deep, mature relationship with God that comes from prolonged time in prayer and the Word.

Which of those terms best describes you: spiritual child, young man, or father? What specific things can you do today to move toward a more mature and victorious Christian life?

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask God to help you love Him more deeply and know His Word more completely. Therein is the key to spiritual victory.

For Further Study

Memorize Psalm 119:11. Recite it often as a reminder of the priority of hiding God’s Word in your heart.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Daily Devotion

Principles For Spiritual Victory

You can be victorious!

This month we’ve learned many things about spiritual warfare that I pray will better equip you for victory in your Christian life. In concluding our brief study of Ephesians 6:10-18, here are some key principles I want you to remember:

1. Remember that Satan is a defeated foe. Jesus came to destroy his works (1 John 3:8) and will someday cast him into eternal hell (Rev. 20:10).

2. Remember the power of Christ in your life. John said, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The same power that defeated Satan indwells you. Consequently, you are never alone or without divine resources.

3. Remember to resist Satan. You have the power to resist him, so don’t acquiesce to him by being ignorant of his schemes or deliberately exposing yourself to temptation.

4. Keep your spiritual armor on at all times. It’s foolish to enter combat without proper protection.

5. Let Christ control your attitudes and actions. The spiritual battle we’re in calls for spiritual weapons (2 Cor. 10:3-4), so take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (v. 5). Feed on the Word and obey its principles.

6. Pray, pray, pray! Prayer unleashes the Spirit’s power. Be a person of fervent and faithful prayer (cf. James 5:16).

God never intended for you to live in spiritual defeat. I pray you’ll take advantage of the resources He has supplied that your life might honor Him. Enjoy sweet victory every day!

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His promise of ultimate victory in Christ.

For Further Study

Read Ephesians 6:10-18.

• Review each piece of armor.

• Is any piece missing from your personal defense system? If so, determine what you will do to correct the deficiency.

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.

Daily Devotion

Praying For Others

God wants you to look beyond your own problems and pray for the needs of others.

The great preacher D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote, “Before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, in Barcelona, Madrid and other places, there were psychological clinics with large numbers of neurotics undergoing drug treatments and others attending regularly for psychoanalysis and such like. They had their personal problems, their worries, their anxieties, their temptations, having to go back week after week, month after month, to the clinics in order to be kept going.

“Then came the Civil War; and one of the first and most striking effects of that War was that it virtually emptied the psychological and psychiatric clinics. These neurotic people were suddenly cured by a greater anxiety, the anxiety about their whole position, whether their homes would still be there, whether their husbands would still be alive, whether their children would be killed.

“Their greater anxieties got rid of the lesser ones. In having to give attention to the bigger problem they forgot their own personal and somewhat petty problems” (The Christian Soldier: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10 to 20 [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1978], p. 357).

That’s a negative illustration of a positive principle: your own problems pale as you pray in the Spirit on behalf of others. Praying “in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18) is praying in concert with the Holy Spirit—in harmony with His Person and will. It’s synonymous with praying according to God’s will (1 John 5:14).

As the Holy Spirit intercedes for you (Rom. 8:26-27), you are to intercede for others. That’s not always easy in our contemporary religious environment where self- centeredness is praised rather than shunned, and more and more professing Christians are embracing the health, wealth, and prosperity heresy. But God’s mandate is for us to love one another, pray for one another, and look out for one another’s interests (Phil. 2:3-4). Let that mandate govern all your relationships.

Suggestions for Prayer

• Make a list of people you want to intercede for.

• Spend time praying for each person, asking God to show you specific ways to minister to his or her needs.

For Further Study

Read Philippians 2:1-11.

• What should be your attitude toward other believers?

• How did Christ set an example of proper attitudes?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993.