My Devotionals


The 7 Habits of Jesus Christ

redeeming your time Sep 13, 2021

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35)

“I’m swamped.” I’ve said it, you’ve said it, we’ve all said it at one overwhelmed point or another.

The Bible tells us that Jesus’s disciples were once “swamped” in a different way. As they sailed across the Sea of Galilee “a squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger” (Luke 8:23). You know the rest of the story: Jesus “got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm” (Luke 8:24).

This passage perfectly illustrates the core premise of this devotional series—namely that the solution to the disciples being swamped by the wind and waves is the exact same solution to our being swamped by our to-do lists and hurried schedules. The solution is found in...

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Reading the Gospels as Biographies

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

I ended last week’s devotional with a question: If the gospel compels us to “redeem our time” (see Ephesians 5:16), where can we look for practical wisdom as to how to manage our time well? 

That question brings us to the fifth and final truth of this series: By studying the life of Christ, we can know how God would manage his time.

I know, this is a wild idea, so give me a minute to unpack it.

John 1:14 tells us that God, the author of time, “became flesh” in the person of Jesus Christ. During his time on earth, Jesus was 100% God and 100% man, meaning that he experienced the same day-to-day challenges as other mortals. He had a business to run, a mother and father to care for, hunger to manage, and the need for sleep. Oh yeah, and he faced the same twenty-four-hour time...

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“A Christian is something before they do anything.”

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored three biblical truths about time and productivity:

  • Truth #1: Our longing for timelessness is good and God-given
  • Truth #2: Sin has ensured we will all die with unfinished symphonies
  • Truth #3: God will finish the work we leave unfinished

But here’s the thing: Even though God doesn’t need us to be productive (see Truth #3), we often need ourselves to be productive in order to feel a sense of self-worth. 

So before we go any further, I want you to stop and let this truth sink in: The gospel frees us from the need to be productive. 

The good news of the gospel is that “while we were...

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Why God Doesn’t Need You to Finish Your To-Do List

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more….And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1, 5)

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen that 1) our longing for timelessness is good and God-given, but that 2) sin has ensured we will all die with “unfinished symphonies.”

Where’s the hope? Our hope is found in Jesus Christ walking out of the tomb that first Easter morning with a redeemed body that could not be destroyed again. The resurrection was Jesus’s way of declaring that our longing for immortality has been right all along and that through him, we too can experience eternal life. 

But Easter wasn’t just the beginning of eternal life. Easter marked the inauguration of God’s eternal kingdom...

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The Truth About Our Never-Ending To-Do Lists

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

We’re in a series exploring 5 biblical truths about time and productivity. Last week, we saw Truth #1: That our longing for timelessness is good and God-given. Today’s passage reveals Truth #2: That while we still long for timelessness, sin has ensured we will all die with unfinished work.

When sin entered the world, death was ushered in alongside it. Human beings, who were created to be immortal, became mortal. Work, which was...

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5 Biblical Truths About Time and Productivity

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Deep in our bones, we know that we were created to live forever. It’s why we are drawn to stories like Narnia and Frozen in which death is ultimately a lie.

But we don’t just long to live forever, we also long to be productive forever. Now, we don’t feel like this every day. Sin has made work and our efforts to be productive difficult. But something in our souls (and God’s Word) shows us that work was meant to be very good (see Genesis 1 and 2).

I think we have all caught glimpses of what work must have been like prior to the Fall. You deliver a killer sales pitch and feel completely in your element. Or finish writing a great chapter and can’t wait to share it with your spouse. Or hammer the last nail into a table and step...

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3 ways to hustle less and trust more

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, trusting is the difficult yet simple act of recognizing that we are not responsible for producing results through our work—God is. 

Once we understand that, it is certainly right to “hustle,” to, as the Apostle Paul said, “strenuously contend with all the energy” we have for the glory of God and the good of others (see Colossians 1:29).

The tension between trusting and hustling isn’t meant to be resolved. It is meant to be embraced. How do you know if you are embracing that tension well? I’d argue that the best indicator is whether or not you can rest.

Are you unwilling to close your laptop or stop checking email late into the night? Are...

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The absurdity of “letting go and letting God”

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)

This verse is one of the most frequently quoted by proponents of the “Let go and let God” philosophy of life. But the context of this verse completely undermines this thinking.

The Israelites are standing at the edge of the Red Sea about to be obliterated by the Egyptians who are rushing in to take God’s people back into slavery. That’s when Moses utters the words of Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Watch what happens next: “Then the Lord said to Moses…Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:15-16).

So, immediately after Moses essentially says, “Let go and let God, trust him and be still,” God says, “Move on,” get going, the Egyptians are about to destroy...

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Which “chariots” and “horses” are you trusting in at work today?

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

You’ll likely see the fruit of today’s work fairly quickly. You’ll sit down at your laptop, and an hour later you’ll have a finished PowerPoint and be ready for your meeting. Or you’ll scrub in for surgery, and a few hours later your patient will be sewn up as good as new. At a minimum, you’ll go to work today, and within a couple of weeks, money will appear in your bank account as a recognition of your hard work.

With such a seemingly direct connection between our work and the results of our work, it can be easy to believe that it is our intellect, skill, and “hustle,” that is producing these results. But as today’s passage reveals, ultimately it is God alone who produces fruit in our endeavors....

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“My job is faithfulness. God’s is fruitfulness.”

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

I was recently reading Gospelbound by the editors of The Gospel Coalition when I came across these words from John Piper: “My job is faithfulness. God’s is fruitfulness.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have shared that quote in the past couple of months. It so beautifully encapsulates an idea I have written about many times before—namely that Christ-followers ought to have a unique relationship with the word “hustle.”

Let me explain.

The rise of the increasingly dominant “hustle culture” has been well documented for years now. The idea is that if you want things to happen...

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