When I left my last church in order to take up this post a friend gave me a book. It’s The President’s Devotional by Joshua Dubois, and is a year’s devotional reflections that he wrote for President Obama and sent him in a daily email for him to read first thing every day. The thought for this Sunday is as follows:
‘“Let every one of us cultivate, in every word that issues from our mouth, absolute truth. I say cultivate, because to very few people – as may be noticed of most young children – does truth, this rigid, literal veracity, come by nature. To many, even who love it and prize it dearly in others, it comes only after the self-control, watchfulness, and bitter experience of years.” Dinah Craik, A Woman’s Thoughts About Women.
‘“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32 (ESV)
‘Truth: the sieve through which our every action must flow. Yes, it’s allowable; yes, it’s beneficial; yes, it’s profitable; but is it true? Only we know the answer – and to this standard we must keep. “Let every one of us cultivate, in every word that issues from our mouth, absolute truth.”
‘Dear God, grow within me the desire for truth in all things so that I might be set free from the bondage of falsehood. Let veracity be my nature. Amen.’
Aside from the challenge of the thought, the fact that each day the President of the USA is receiving a devotional thought like this is encouraging. It reminds me of the role of a slave (perhaps known as an Auriga) in a Roman Triumph whose role was to stand behind the victorious commander and, whilst holding a laurel crown on his head also whisper “Memento homo” in his ear – “Remember you are a man.”
The Bible for us can be like that slave. Through it God’s Spirit whispers in our ear and helps us to keep the right perspective:
When things are going well and we are tempted to pride and self-reliance he whispers in our ear, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When things are tough and we are tempted to give up he whispers in our ear, “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship*. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:15b-17)
Let’s always pay attention to the Spirit’s whispering in our ear through Scripture!
Be blessed, be a blessing
*‘sonship’ here indicates the bestowing of the full legal rights of an adopted male heir in Roman culture