Words of Spirit and Life

By Mark D. Roberts

January 3, 2023

Scripture — John 6:63

It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.


Jesus said that his words are spirit and life. Life for Leaders, the daily, digital devotional of the De Pree Center, exists to help you experience the abundant, eternal life of God all that you do, especially in your work and leadership.


If you’ve been reading Life for Leaders for a while, you may remember that around this time of year I share with you the purpose of Life for Leaders and how it might make a difference in your life . . . and how you might make a difference in the ministry of Life for Leaders.

Let me begin with what is most important. In John 6, Jesus says to his disciples, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Though Jesus is referring here to his own teachings, I think we’re on solid ground if we relate this to all of Scripture. The Bible, God’s written Word, is full of spirit and life. It comes to us by the Holy Spirit who inspired the original writers and who helps us to understand and take to heart what the text teaches. Moreover, Scripture reveals to us the truth of God that enables us to experience eternal, abundant life, both in this age and in the age to come. The name of this devotional, Life for Leaders, reflects a deep conviction that Scripture gives life, real life, as we read it, study it, meditate upon it, and live it. The De Pree Center produces Life for Leaders based on this affirmation, which is based on the words of Jesus.

I expect you already know that Life for Leaders is a daily email devotional that helps Christians make connections between their work, leadership, and God. Based on the biblical text, each devotion includes a brief exposition of Scripture, questions for reflection, suggestions for action, and a model prayer that guides and, we hope, inspires your own prayers. I am the usual weekday writer. On the weekends we have a team of amazingly gifted people who write from their unique perspectives. I am thankful for those who work with me in this endeavor, including our writers and our staff who take care of the details of editing, putting up devotions on our website, mailing them out, and so forth.

I am also very thankful for you, those who read Life for Leaders. Each day we email a devotion to over 10,000 people. Our mailing platform shows that about 3,500 subscribers open the devotion each day. (That’s just fine, by the way.) Plus, around 1,000 people a day view one of our devotions on our website. This means that over 1,500,000 times each year somebody reads a Life for Leaders devotion.

Of course, I don’t know what happens with most readers. But I do hear from many of you over the course of the year. You let me know when a particular devotion has touched your heart, or when you have shared it with your colleagues, or used it in your classes, or emailed it to one of your children. Thanks so much for your encouragement. It keeps us going, day after day, week after week, year after year.

We are glad to produce Life for Leaders and to offer it to people free of charge. There are some ways you can partner with us in this work if you’re interested. For one thing, you can help us with your feedback, concerns, questions, edits, and suggestions. These matter to me and the other writers. Some of you help us through your financial contributions to Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership. Your generosity allows us to continue to offer Life for Leaders without charge.

There is one more way you can help us. Some of you are already doing this. Simply put, you can help us grow the number of subscribers to Life for Leaders. You can tell your friends about us, forward particularly meaningful emails, read Life for Leaders prayers in small groups, etc. Increasingly, leaders in churches and other organizations are adopting Life for Leaders as the “official” devotional for their people. Our subscriber list has grown to where it is today because folks who appreciate Life for Leaders encourage others to subscribe.

As I ask for your help, let me be clear. There is no pressure here. If you can help, great. If you already have more on your plate than you can handle, I understand, believe me. We’re glad to be able to serve you through Life for Leaders and to offer this daily devotional as a gift from the De Pree Center.

May God bless you richly in this New Year in every part of life . . . including your daily work.


How has God made a difference in your life through Life for Leaders?

In what ways would you like to experience the abundant life of God in 2023?


Tell others about Life for Leaders.


Gracious God, indeed, your words are “spirit and life.” As we read Scripture, as we reflect, and as we pray, your life flows in and through us. Thank you!

In this year, Lord, may I be consistently attentive to your words. May your words remain in my heart and mind throughout the day. May my work and my leadership reflect your truth, grace, and love. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Jesus the Bread of Life (John 6).

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Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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