The Upper Room devotional reflection for Tuesday, January 24, 2023, was written Victor Carcioppolo of Ohio.
14 When you have come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, "I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me," 15 you may indeed set over you a king whom the Lord your God will choose. One of your own community you may set as king over you; you are not permitted to put a foreigner over you, who is not of your own community. 16 Even so, he must not acquire many horses for himself, or return the people to Egypt in order to acquire more horses, since the Lord has said to you, "You must never return that way again." 17 And he must not acquire many wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; also silver and gold he must not acquire in great quantity for himself. 18 When he has taken the throne of his kingdom, he shall have a copy of this law written for him in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19 It shall remain with him and he shall read in it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, diligently observing all the words of this law and these statutes, 20 neither exalting himself above other members of the community nor turning aside from the commandment, either to the right or to the left, so that he and his descendants may reign long over his kingdom in Israel.
Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NRSV
I was a health-care clinician for 40 years. To maintain my credentials and remain in good standing. I had to provide my clinical board with annual proficiencies and continuing-education units. This was achieved by attending meetings, reading current articles, teaching, or writing articles. All of this ensures that practitioners are aware of the ever-changing field of medicine. We should never stop learning, growing, and giving back to the profession.
I have discovered our faith walk is similar. We cannot rest on our laurels or think we are finished with learning and training. The words of the Bible do not change, but I have found that with each reading, the meaning applies in new ways to my ever-changing life. Growing our faith can happen in many ways – attending church and getting more involved in its ministries, reading the Bible and devotionals, joining small groups, or serving others. All of these are vital to the Christian walk. It is exciting to know that as we practice our faith, we continually deepen our relationship with God.
Are you a continual learner? Someone who intentionally seeks to expand and add to the knowledge base, so that their perspectives and viewpoints continue to evolve. As we get older, it becomes easier to disengage from opportunities to learn new things. Yet, as studies continue to discover, we continually need to challenge ourselves to participate and learn new things to maintain our mental acuity as we age.
As people of faith, we are expected to deepen our faith, grow in grace, and revive our service. One of the many indicators of a growing healthy church is a critical mass of its membership committed to a program of personal spiritual development. When a church continually and consistently equips its membership to be followers of Christ, they position themselves for exponential growth. I invite you to challenge yourself to advantage of opportunities to learn and grow in your faith.
Sovereign God, thank you for your loving instructions in the Bible. Help us to learn from your word each time we read. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Victor Carcioppolo