Grace to You Devotionals

GTY Devotionals

June 3

Be Quick to Hear

"This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear" (James 1:19).

Being quick to hear involves a proper attitude toward God’s Word.

It has been well said that either God's Word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from God's Word. Apparently some of James's readers were allowing sin to keep them from receiving the Word as they should. God was allowing them to experience various trials so their joy and spiritual endurance would increase, but they lacked wisdom and fell into temptation and sin. James called them back to the Word and to a godly perspective on their circumstances.

James 1:19 begins with the phrase "This you know," which refers back to verse 18. They had experienced the power of the Word in salvation, now James wants them to allow it to sanctify them. For that to occur, they must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath (v. 19).

Being quick to hear means you don't disregard or fight against God's Word. Instead, when trials or difficult decisions come your way, you ask God for wisdom and receive the counsel of His Word with a willingness to obey it. You're not like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, whom Jesus described as "foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25).

You should be quick to hear the Word because it provides nourishment for your spiritual life and is your weapon against all spiritual adversaries. It is the means by which you are strengthened and equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It delivers you from trials and temptations and engages you in communion with the living God. The Word should be your most welcome friend!

Be quick to hear, pursuing every opportunity to learn God's truth. Let the testimony of the psalmist be yours: "O how I love Thy law! It is my meditation all the day. . . . I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Thy word. . . . How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Ps. 119:97, 101, 103).

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God for His precious Word and for the marvelous transforming work it accomplishes in you.

For Further Study

Read Psalm 19:1-14.

  • What terms did the psalmist use to describe God's Word?
  • What benefits does the Word bring?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

June 3

Integrity Triumphs over Pride

“Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. . . . Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah” (Daniel 1:3-4, 6).

Man values physical beauty and superior human capabilities, whereas God values spiritual character.

As King Nebuchadnezzar was besieging Jerusalem, he received word that his father had died. So he returned to Babylon, leaving Jehoiakim, king of Judah, in power. To ensure the king’s loyalty, Nebuchadnezzar instructed Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to take some hostages from among the royal families of Israel. Among those selected were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

Nebuchadnezzar’s plan was to train these young hostages in the ways of the Babylonians (Chaldeans), then press them into service as his representatives among the Jews. There were an estimated fifty to seventy-five hostages, each of whom was young (probably in his early teens), handsome, and without physical defect. In addition, each had superior intellect, education, wisdom, and social graces.

Being among such a select group of people could have led to pride in Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. But self-glorification meant nothing to them. Their priority was to serve their God with humility, integrity, and fidelity. Nebuchadnezzar could look on them favorably, train them in the ways of the Chaldeans, and offer them power and influence in his kingdom, but he could never incite their pride or diminish their allegiance to the Lord.

Like Babylon, our society is enamored with physical beauty and human capabilities. However, let your focus be on spiritual character and using for God’s glory the talents and abilities He has given you.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank the Lord for the special gifts He has given you.
  • Prayerfully guard your heart against subtle pride, which undermines spiritual character.

For Further Study

Read Daniel 4:28-36.

  • How did God deal with King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride?
  • What was the king’s response (see v. 37)?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

June 3

Reading for Today:

  • 1 Kings 15:1–16:34
  • Psalm 69:22-28
  • Proverbs 17:25-26
  • John 13:1-20


1 Kings 15:11–15 Asa did 4 good things: 1) he removed the sacred prostitutes (v. 12); 2) he rid the land of all the idols made by his predecessors (v. 12); 3) he removed the corrupt queen mother and burned the idol she had made; and 4) he placed holy things, items that he and his father had dedicated to the Lord, back in the temple (v. 15). Though he never engaged in idolatry, Asa’s failure was his toleration of the high places (v. 14).

1 Kings 15:13 obscene image. This term is derived from the verb “to shudder” (Job 9:6). It suggests a shocking, perhaps even a sexually explicit, idol. Asa removed his grandmother, Maacah, the official queen mother, because of her association with this idol.

1 Kings 15:29 he killed all the house of Jeroboam. Baasha, the northern king, in a vicious practice too common in the ancient Near East, annihilated all of Jeroboam’s family. This act fulfilled Ahijah’s prophecy against Jeroboam (14:9–11). However, Baasha went beyond the words of the prophecy, since 14:10 specified judgment only on every male, while Baasha killed all men, women, and children.

1 Kings 16:30 evil…more than all who were before him. With Ahab, Israel’s spiritual decay reached its lowest point. He was even worse than his father, Omri, who was more wicked than all before him (v. 25). Ahab’s evil consisted of perpetuating all the sins of Jeroboam and promoting the worship of Baal in Israel (vv. 31, 32). Of all Israel’s kings, Ahab outraged the Lord most (v. 33).

Psalm 69:26 the ones You have struck. Those hostile to the psalmist were ridiculing him as one suffering from God’s chastisement. In its messianic application, the suffering of the Messiah was a part of God’s plan from eternity past (Is. 53:10).

Proverbs 17:26 punish…strike. Here is a clear statement on political and religious injustice, focusing on the equally bad mistreatment of the innocent and the noble.

DAY 3: Why was Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet so powerful a lesson?

The dusty and dirty conditions of the region necessitated the need for footwashing. Although the disciples most likely would have been happy to wash Jesus’ feet, they could not conceive of washing one another’s feet (John 13:4–17). This was because in the society of the time footwashing was reserved for the lowliest of menial servants. Peers did not wash one another’s feet, except very rarely and as a mark of great love. Luke points out (22:24) that they were arguing about who was the greatest of them, so that none was willing to stoop to wash feet. When Jesus moved to wash their feet, they were shocked. His actions serve also as symbolic of spiritual cleansing (vv. 6–9) and a model of Christian humility (vv. 12–17). Through this action Jesus taught the lesson of selfless service that was supremely exemplified by His death on the cross.

These proceedings embarrassed all of the disciples (vv. 6–10). While others remained silent, Peter spoke up in indignation that Jesus would stoop so low as to wash his feet. He failed to see beyond the humble service itself to the symbolism of spiritual cleansing involved (v. 7; 1 John 1:7–9). Jesus’ response made the real point of His actions clear: Unless the Lamb of God cleanses a person’s sin (i.e., as portrayed in the symbolism of washing), one can have no part with Him. The cleansing that Christ does at salvation never needs to be repeated—atonement is complete at that point. But all who have been cleansed by God’s gracious justification need constant washing in the experiential sense as they battle sin in the flesh. Believers are justified and granted imputed righteousness (Phil. 3:8, 9), but still need sanctification and personal righteousness (Phil. 3:12–14).

Jesus said, “I have given you an example” (v. 15). The word used here suggests both example and pattern. Jesus’ purpose in this action was to establish the model of loving humility.“ If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (v. 17). Joy is always tied to obedience to God’s revealed Word.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,

June 3 - Proper Fasting and Prayer

“‘But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you’” (Matthew 6:17–18).

Jesus’ statement “when you fast” indicates that fasting is normal and acceptable in the Christian life. He assumes His followers will fast on certain occasions, especially in times of testing, trial, or struggle.

Fasting is appropriate during times of sorrow. On occasions of deep grief, fasting is a natural human response. Most people don’t feel like eating at those times. Other things that motivate fasting have included overwhelming danger, penitence, and the receiving or proclaiming of a special revelation from God. And fasting often accompanied the beginning of an important task or ministry.

In every scriptural account, genuine fasting is linked with prayer. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast biblically without praying. Fasting is an affirmation of intense prayer, a corollary of deep spiritual struggle before God. It is never an isolated act or ceremony or ritual that has some inherent efficacy or merit.

Fasting is also always linked with a pure heart and must be associated with obedient, godly living. This is the attitude that will motivate the one fasting not to attract attention to his deprivation and spiritual struggle. Fasting is not to be a display for anyone, including God. Genuine fasting is simply a part of concentrated, intense prayer and concern for the Lord, His will, and His work. Jesus’ point is that the Father never fails to notice fasting that is heartfelt and genuine, and He never fails to reward it.

Ask Yourself

Has fasting ever been a part of your life and relationship with God? If so, what have those experiences taught you about Him . . . and about yourself and your need for Him? If you’ve never actually participated in fasting, what might be some appropriate times and ways for you to practice it?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610,

Del libro La Verdad para Hoy de John MacArthur DERECHOS DE AUTOR © 2001 Utilizado con permiso de Editorial Portavoz,
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