Highlands Students | Church of the Highlands | Birmingham, Alabama | Pastor Chris Hodges

HighlandsStudents.com

Devotional

Intro

Welcome to the Views devotional. The One and Highlands Students team has worked hard to make an applicable devotional to help you during the next seven days as you learn the truth about God’s views!

Here are a few tips for as you read this devotional:

1. Turn on some worship music while you read. We suggest Motion Worship, Elevation Worship, or Hillsong Young and Free.

2. Keep a pen and paper close by, and if something resonates with you or you feel like God speaks to you through a verse, then write it down.

3. Get ready for God to renew your mind as you align your views with His views. And if you would like to share what God is doing in your life, connect with us at highlandsstudents.com/share.

Day 1: My View of God

Everyone has misconceptions about certain aspects of life. Over the next seven days, we want to help you see your life in a new light – the way the Bible actually describes it. We encourage you to open your heart this week, and allow the Word of God to transform you from the inside out.

Former pastor, A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

Our view of God affects every aspect of our lives. When we don’t rightly understand who God is, it’s easy for our view of Him to change based on how much “good” or “bad” we have done. A wrong understanding of God’s character results in a performance-based religion instead of a love based relationship.

However, the incredible thing about God is that He is unchanging. His character and His nature remain constant no matter what we have or have not done. He is the same today, yesterday, and forever (Hebrews 8:13)!

We can approach God with confidence when we have an accurate view of who He is. God desires to be in an intimate relationship with His children. When we seek God, we will find how caring, loving, and merciful He is. God doesn’t view us based on our past but based on the perfect record we have in Jesus.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)

If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. (2 Timothy 2:13 NLT)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Day 2: God’s View of Me

Do you remember what it was like to be a child, to let your imagination run wild? To let stuffed animals come to life, or a blanket and kitchen table become your pathway to outer space?

Your innocence alleviated limitations, allowing you to see what others could not see. You did not see things as what they were. You saw them as what they could become.

This is the same way that God views you. He is not intimidated by what you have done. Neither is He limited by what you have to offer.

When God looks at you, He sees who you could become through His son Jesus.

When you enter into a relationship with Jesus, your sinful nature is put to death and your life is hidden with Christ. Paul says in Galatians 2:19 that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” God views you as His own perfect son or daughter since your identity is now found in Jesus.

Our God is famous for His faithfulness. He is for His people and longs to be close to you. He wants to restore our innocence and remind us what it is like to be children of God, so that when we look in the mirror we see what He sees.

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3-4)

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:27, NLT)

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT)

Day 3: View of Sin

We have all experienced being separated from our parents in a grocery store. Whether it was colorful candy or a brand-new toy that caught our eye, separation was created through disobediently straying away from our parents. What we thought would satisfy us actually left us afraid, lost, and alone.  Our parents would then search for us, even calling us by name, until we responded and ran back to them.

In the same way that a parent hates to be separated from his child, God hates to be separated from His children. We are God’s children and sin separates us from Him. It does not matter how many “good” or “bad” decisions someone makes, no one is exempt from the separation sin creates.

God’s Word tells us that the wages of sin is death. The only way to overcome the separation sin creates is by overcoming death itself.  This means there had to be an ultimate sacrifice made in order for God to be reunited with His children.

No human could ever achieve such an impossible task. That’s why God chose to send His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life here on Earth and die the death that we deserve.

Jesus paid the debt for our sin on the cross and gave us access to God through His resurrection.

The separation sin created between God and man is now demolished forever through the finished work of the cross!

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23, NIV)

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV)

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:12, NIV)

Day 4: View of Grace

Do you remember your favorite birthday gift? Maybe it was a pair of shoes you had been wanting, or the newest iPod model. Maybe it was a phone call or a note you received from someone you love. Regardless of the gift you received, it was given without you doing anything to earn it.

Think about it—the real heroes of this day are the people who birthed you and raised you. They put in the energy and effort to develop you into who you are. However, these are not the people who are recognized on the day you were born. Instead, your birthday is devoted to celebrating you simply for being who you are. All you have to do is receive.

In this same way, God has given us the ultimate gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus. We did nothing to earn it, but we must choose to receive it. This is grace.

Jesus is the hero of our story. He has given us a new life by paying the ultimate sacrifice, so that we might receive forgiveness.

God knew that we would all fall short, yet He still chose to give us this gift. In the same way we unwrap a gift, we must open our hearts to receive God’s grace and walk out our salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7-8, NLT)

Day 5: View of Love

C.S. Lewis once said, “The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.”

It is easy to believe that your church attendance or moral record can influence God’s love for you, but that is not true. He loved you before you were even born. God’s love for you is not based on your performance. It is based on who He is.

There is nothing you could ever do to earn the love of God.

Whether you are at your best or your worst, God has never loved you more than He loves you right now.

Love is not just an emotion expressed by God. Rather, God is love. God’s love for you is constant because He never changes.

God wants to meet us where we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay there. The more time we spend with God, the more His love transforms us from the inside out. His love will begin to give us new desires that align our lives with His Word. God’s love in you was always intended to be outwardly expressed towards others. The only way to love others is to first know God’s love for us.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8, NIV)

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neitherheight nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

Day 6: View of Relationships

This generation is the most connected in the history of the world, but why is that we are also the most lonely? We are interacting with hundreds of different people on a daily basis whether it be through Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube or even text messaging. We have connections across every platform, and yet we still feel like we are walking through life alone.

We must not be naive to think that because we are connected through technology that we are connected in relationships. The enemy’s greatest tactic is to isolate us, separating us from God and people, without us even being aware it’s happening. However, God created us to be connected in relationships.

Relationships are so important because God’s very essence is personal and relational. Theologians use the term Trinity to describe who God is. This means that God is one being who exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God values relationships so much that He created us in His likeness to be in healthy, loving relationships with Him and people.

We were not made to do life alone. In fact, living in community is part of our design.

God created us to live in relationship with others, so that we can experience the abundant life He has in store for us. Life-giving relationships draw us closer to God while fulfilling the relational need God put inside of us.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NIV)

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17, NIV)

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-30 NIV)

Day 7: View of Purpose

Everyone can relate to the anticipation that comes when a teacher assigns a group project. Maybe you’re the type of person who loves the assignment because you see it as opportunity to let everyone else do the work. Maybe, you’re the one who does all the work because you’re afraid to give anyone else control. Or maybe, you’re the person whose engagement depends solely on your interest in the topic.

Group projects, despite the typical outcome they produce, were always intended for people to use their individual gifts to assist in accomplishing an overall goal. In this same way, God has given us an assignment to make disciples of all nations and tell everyone the Good News of the Gospel.

This assignment is best accomplished when we each embrace our unique calling and purpose.

Every person has different gifts, yet every person has been made in the image of God and has something to offer to the world.

It is impossible for one person to share the Gospel with the entire world. However, we can make an incredible impact together if we each choose to simply love the people around us.

God was intentional when He made you. He makes no mistakes. God knew the family you would be in, the people you would go to school with, and the teachers you would learn from. He put something specifically in you, so that you can express His love to them in a way that no one else can. Let’s choose to live out the unique life that God designed us to live, and together we will reach the world!

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV)

You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13, MSG)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)