Daily encouragement

Video by

Matt Shaw

ACF Devo Team

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Revelation 4:11

"You are worthy, our Lord and God,  

to receive glory and honor and power,  

for you created all things,  

and by your will they were created  

and have their being." (NIV)

Behind the Scenes

If you've ever sat on a therapist's couch, you've probably found yourself considering the thing beneath the thing. We all have these things in our lives that manifest - good and bad - from what is actually going on in the deeper layers of our soul.

Perhaps you found yourself a bit surprised yesterday as Justin and I unassumingly talked about God as Creator for the first day of this new series, A Deeper Life through Sexuality. And today, as we reflect on a song of praise in Revelation, you might find yourself wondering, quite reasonably, what does this have to do with sexuality?

Quite a lot, actually! It's the thing beneath the thing. Culture reveals the state of our hearts like a fever indicates an infection. The challenges, struggles, and tensions we experience all around us point to a lie as old as the Garden of Eden: I am master of my soul.

When we gather at church services the next four weeks, we'll be directly discussing those tensions we experience in culture, but here in the devos, we will be inspecting our foundation. This is what it all comes back to: Am I in control of my life, or is God?

William Ernest Henley penned the famous poem "Invictus," in 1875. Despite being written 150 years ago, the final stanza of this poem resonates with the anthem of popular culture today:

"It matters not how strait the gate,

     How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

     I am the captain of my soul."

Oh, how we long for this to be true, to believe we are in control and in charge of our lives. And yet, can we agree, as appealing as it sounds, that control over a life is actually such a heavy burden to bear? Scripture teaches that, instead, we are invited to surrender to and bow before our Creator, trusting him with our lives and our very identity. As we learned yesterday - He is the Potter; we are his clay.

Make it Real

In Revelation 4, the apostle John sees a vision of God's throne room. Praise is the soundtrack of heaven: "Day and night the four living creatures never stop saying: 'Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come'" (Rev. 4:8b). Those around his throne are worshipping the Living and Enduring God, laying their crowns before the throne in submission and reverence, saying, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being" (4:11).

I am not the captain of my soul. My Creator is the only one who is worthy!

I'm afraid we've gotten it all backwards. Folklore (like the tales of the Greek pantheon) makes us think that God is made in our image, not we in his. No, friends - He is Creator. He is Designer. He is Sustainer. And this inherent authority as Creator is the most basic factor that makes him worthy of our worship, our trust, and our devotion. He's not our genie - he's not worthy of our praise because he takes good care of us or helps us or gives us blessings. He does those things because he is our Creator, our Father, the One who holds this whole world together, ensuring that air pumps in and out of our lungs every second. He does those things because the Potter loves his handiwork, but that is not what makes him worthy of our reverence.

No, he is worthy simply because he is Creator. Isaiah 45:9 says it in this sobering way: "Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker...Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?"

I kneel beside you today, friend, knowing this is no easy call. Submission is not part of our sin nature, but, Praise God, it is part of Jesus' new nature in us! Left to our own devices, we will never be able to bend our spines into willing submission, but by the overwhelmingly sweet grace of Jesus over our lives, we learn to bow in reverence before the throne of the One who made us and calls us his own. Thank you, Jesus!

End in Prayer

I want to invite you to take a posture of humility as you pray today - maybe with hands open, on your knees, or face to the ground, even.

Almighty Creator, Father God, I bow before you today. God, I offer up to you my pride, my arrogance, my desire to be the captain of my soul. In this moment I acknowledge you alone as my Creator and Sustainer. You alone are worthy, and for that I am so, so thankful. Please, teach me to walk in this humility and trust you with every second of this day. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.

Written by

Kimber Gilbert

ACF Devo Team Leader