Spiritual Director · September 21, 2017

Devote #110

Just about every day now for the last week or so, I’ve been online looking for a car to replace the one that got totaled. Let me tell, you there are a million options out there. If you’re not picky you can could end up with a real lemon. So, I’ve learned you got to have a plan.

  1. On the top of the list is: know your budget. How much are you willing to spend? Do you want to have a car payment or find a car with the money allotted by the insurance company?
  2. Decide what it is you really need? Are you looking for good gas mileage or a more comfortable ride? Not saying you can’t get a comfortable ride out of a smaller car, but I just haven’t experienced it.
  3. Don’t be talked into a bad investment. Take your time, do your homework, use wisdom.

Well, some of these same thoughts can be true when it comes to following Jesus. Without a strong foundations, it’s really easy to be pushed and pulled by whatever other people say and what they believe. Listen to me now, if you don’t know what you believe, you’ll believe anything. And you can quote me on that!

Today I was reading Romans 16. In it, Paul, sends greetings to many different people, all of whom played some part in his ministry. Then he tells everyone…

“… watch out for anyone who causes trouble and divides the church by refusing to do what all of you were taught. Stay away from them! They want to serve themselves and not Christ the Lord. Their flattery and fancy talk fool people who don’t know any better.”

Romans 16:17-18

What do we learn from this? If we don’t know what the Bible teaches, we’ll believe just about anything if it sounds good. We’ll end up questioning what the Bible plainly states and start rationalizing sin based on the persuasive arguments of people instead of the truth. In order to stand against flattery and smooth talk, we have to know what we stand for. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. (Wish I said that first!)

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: The absolute best way for you to know what’s true, good and right, is for you to know what the Bible says. Take out your Bible and read it for yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. Scripture interprets Scripture. If you come to a part that you don’t understand, go ask a seasoned Christian, maybe your pastor.

Remember: If you don’t know what you believe, you’ll believe just about anything.


As I read Your Word, teach me. Holy Spirit, help me to understand what the Word says, so that I know what I believe and won’t buy into whatever the world says, no matter how good it sounds. Jesus, in Your name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.