Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 8:2 – For the power of the life-giving Spirit — and this power is mine through Christ Jesus — has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. (TLB)
Colossians 1:13 – For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son. (NLT)
Our pastor designed a diagram easily understood by the congregation. It often appeared on the screen as he preached. There were some who rolled their eyes and muttered, "Not the circles again!" But most of us grinned and settled down for another lesson from God's Word. "The circles" was so popular that we had it printed on T-shirts when he retired. I'd like to share that diagram with you.
There are two large circles side by side, slightly overlapping in the centre. The circle on the left represents the world that we live in, the kingdom of darkness, presently under the rule of Satan. This world is broken and separated from God, and the people are self-centred.
The circle on the right is God's kingdom of light. This kingdom is God-centred, perfect, His people made whole. The diagram shows that the lives of those in God's kingdom revolve around Him and also look to each other, loving and serving both God and others. The circles overlap because Christians must live in this world, though we belong in the kingdom of God — our real home.
The differences between the circles are as clear as night and day or black and white. In fact, we can make two lists of opposing words beneath the diagram:
|evil, fear||goodness, peace|
|pride, competitiveness||humility, building each other up|
|hurt, rejection, bitterness||acceptance, peace, joy|
|suspicion of God and others||faith, belief, trust in God|
|gossip, criticism||encouragement, compassion|
|sex, pornography||modesty, purity, respect, self-control|
|envy, worry, want||relying on God to provide|
|relying on our own strength||submission to God's will and power|
|idols (money, work, drugs)||one God, the true God|
Below the circles is an arrow leading from the world, through a cross, to God, indicating that the only way to reach God's kingdom from the kingdom of darkness is via Jesus and the cross.
John 14:6 – Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (NIV)
We can choose only one side or the other. Which do you choose? Keeping God's commands out of love and gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice for our sins frees us from this cruel world, fills us with the Holy Spirit, and sets us firmly in God's kingdom, now and for eternity.
Deuteronomy 30:19b – I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life. (NIV)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to choose wisely, to choose Your everlasting life and love. Forgive our sins, and set our feet on the right path. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.