Today, I want to share with you my favorite devotional. Over the years, I have tried many different devotionals, but I always find myself coming back to just one, “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. Unlike other devotionals, My Utmost is deep and rich theologically, yet also practical in a masterful way. The main foundation of this devotion is always grounded in the objective reality of salvation. Every devotion flows from the historic work of Jesus Christ to make us into His disciples. This is refreshing, especially in our day and age, because so many today base authentic faith in subjective feelings and emotions, which can change over time and lead us astray from the truth. Our Christian faith isn’t rooted in subjectivism, but in the objective, unchanging historical events of salvation. No matter how I feel today, Jesus has made me His disciple through events that cannot be altered. The best thing about this devotional is that it is free online. If you like the devotional excerpt below, try using My Utmost as your daily devotional and see how you grow and mature in Christ as His disciple.
The following is an excerpt for November 5,
…but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings… —1 Peter 4:13
If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way. You say, “Oh, I can’t deal with that person.” Why can’t you? God gave you sufficient opportunities to learn from Him about that problem; but you turned away, not heeding the lesson, because it seemed foolish to spend your time that way.
The sufferings of Christ were not those of ordinary people. He suffered “according to the will of God” (1 Peter 4:19), having a different point of view of suffering from ours. It is only through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we can understand what God is after in His dealings with us. When it comes to suffering, it is part of our Christian culture to want to know God’s purpose beforehand. In the history of the Christian church, the tendency has been to avoid being identified with the sufferings of Jesus Christ. People have sought to carry out God’s orders through a shortcut of their own. God’s way is always the way of suffering— the way of the “long road home.”
Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through— we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize— “God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!”