Devotional from Mike Smith

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1 Chronicles 16:11 reads “Look to the Lord and His strength. Seek His face always.” KJV

This verse is so rich that we’ll savor it piece by piece. First, “Look to the Lord.” Modern psychology and
neurology tells us this: Whatever we give our attention to we also give permission to shape who we are.
The poet, Mary Oliver, famously said, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” In other words, what
you let into your mind does more than just affect a passing thought. It actually shapes who you are and
comes out of you in speech and in action. What you give your attention to is the person that you
become so give your attention to the Lord – the only one who knows you well enough, and loves you
completely enough, to tell you who you are and shape you into your creative being.

“Look to the Lord and his strength.” Now the key pronoun here is His…His strength, as in not mine.
Original sin, all the way at the beginning of the Biblical story is an attempt to take what we can only
receive and ever since then, human beings have always had this insatiable appetite to try to lean on our
own strength – to provide for myself – defend myself – protect myself – and so how is it that we access
true strength that belongs to Him? It’s to swim against the current of our inner lives, admit our own
weakness and ask for His strength in place of my weakness.

“Seek His face.” Now scripture tells us again and again to seek His face but never once does it tell us to
seek His hand, and yet I find in myself this tendency to ask God for what I want from Him more than to
ask for Him with me in the midst of the need. So I asked for some kind of blessing or some kind of
intervention or some kind of favor, but of course the greatest gift is the giver Himself. He really is a good
father who loves to give good gifts to his children and his gifts are absolutely worth savoring but he is
the greatest gift.

And then finally, “Always.” When is it that we seek his face? When is it that we look to him? Always. At
all times and in all circumstances. And so as you go into this day carrying whatever mess or whatever
triumph you might be carrying with you may you seek His face.


Borrowed form Tyler Stanton of Bridgetown Church