Hunger and thirst are primal, recurring urges. They both signify a survival need. Jesus is making a promise that if one has that same primal urge for righteousness – for holiness – they will be filled. They are blessed, and their need is fulfilled.
Matthew 5:6 Devotional Applications:
This has a simple application: desire righteousness. For as long as we come back to this desire of righteousness, which renews in between “meals” (spending time with God), the Lord is faithful to fill me with that righteousness.
Put in me a strong desire to be holy. Not in a weird, worldly way. Not in a judgmental way. In your way. I want nothing more than to be like you. I hunger and thirst for you. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This is a classic verse that talks about how God is with us always. He’s there even when we don’t think he is. He’s our guide and his nudges comfort us.
Psalms 23:4 Devotional Applications:
There’s not much to apply here. We walk and the Lord guides. This verse is a reflection of a promise that God will be present in good and bad times. Our part, the application, is simply to walk and trust.
I want to trust you in good and bad times. Be with me as I continue to walk with you and do my best to live our your call for me life. Do what only you can do in my life. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Paul seems to be writing something simple, it it’s actually against human nature. We’re often all about self-preservation and putting ourselves first, but Paul writes that we must completely humble ourselves and be gentle. We must be patient with others and love them no matter what.
Ephesians 4:2 Devotional Applications:
I can find myself being impatient with people and sometimes harsh. I wonder if that might apply to you, too – I know I can’t be alone there. It’s important for us to take a step back and breathe. No one deserves our impatience or harshness, and it all starts with love. We need the humility to love.
Help me to love others as you love me. I don’t want to come across as impatient, rude, callous, or harsh. If there’s anyone I need to apologize to, I ask that you would open my eyes to see them clearly. Give me patience, humility, and a stronger ability to love.
James is laying out what acceptable religion is, and it’s simple: Love the forgotten and don’t get sucked into the way of the world.
James 1:27 Devotional Applications:
It’s easy to inflate Christianity into a long list of dos and don’ts, but really it’s simple. We’re just called to love people and keep our hearts and minds on heavenly things. Years of abuse, scandal, and misinterpretation has led to a perversion of that, which then leads to single-issue, Christian nationalism, which is dangerous. So, we just need to focus on two things: Love others and remember the forgotten.
Let me be your hands and feet to take care of the widow and orphan. More than that, I ask that you would open up opportunities for me to actually practice this pure and faultless religion. Let me be more bothered by the human rights issues than I am by people’s opinions of those issues. And help me to be the solution because I can only do that in your power. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Following Jesus has some counterintuitive pieces. To be Jesus’ disciple means to not lift yourself up, but to deny yourself – to be crucified with Christ daily. Unless we wholly give our lives to Christ, we will lose them, but we save ourselves by selflessly putting our lives in Jesus’ hands.
Luke 9:23-24 Devotional Applications:
This verse is all application. To be Jesus’ disciple, we must pick up our crosses and deny ourselves while giving our lives to Jesus.
Lord, show me what it means for me to pick up my cross. I entrust my life to you, so lead me in the way of your grace and selflessness. I offer you my life. Use it to accomplish your mission of bringing heaven to earth. Help me to always put others before myself. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.