We serve a mighty God who is always surprising us by doing things a different way and with the most unlikely people. Most of those people say no when they first hear of God’s plan to use them. They have a few things they need help to overcome before they will actually accomplish what God has called them to do. Moses couldn’t talk, Jeremiah was too young and the list goes on and on. And then of course, there is Jonah who just didn’t want to go to Nineveh because God was too merciful and would end up forgiving the Ninevites. When the Holy Spirit nudges us to do something for the Lord, what is our response? Are we the not me, Lord, you got the wrong person type? Remember God formed us and He knows exactly what we are capable of, it isn’t so much that He needs us, it is more that He loves us and wants to have an opportunity to bless us. He can only do that, if we are obedient to His requests.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. — Gal. 6:1 NLT
When we see others doing things that appear to be sinful in our eyes, what is our response? Are we quick to think the wrong thoughts or do we remember that we have made mistakes as well? Do we criticize or do we correct? Criticism is most often a knee-jerk reaction and usually destroys. If it destroys, then it mus have come from the destroyer (satan) himself. Our reaction should be to pray and then humbly help that person back to the narrow path. To do that requires us to be a channel of God’s love to those around us. This helps us to understand that when we feel condemnation, it comes from satan, but when we feel conviction, it comes from God’s Holy Spirit. God doesn’t condemn Christians for their failures, but He doesn’t wink at sin, either.
As Christians, how do we respond when we are deliberately mistreated? Are we to be negative or positive in our responses? We should always strive to be positive and let God show His love through us. Jesus forgave His persecutors and we are to do the same. Was that forgiveness a show of weakness or was it unbelievable strength? Who was the actual winner at the Cross? If we respond in the same manner as Jesus, it is really a show of our strength and our faith in Jesus Christ. In the times of the early church, being struck on the right cheek with the back of the right hand was something that a superior did to someone of less stature as an insult. Jesus said that we should not react to attacks on our own person or dignity. He has promised that He will defend us and that revenge is His. We are promised that we will be offended and when we are offended, it is our duty to respond in love and with acts of kindness.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God, because of His great love, mercy and grace made the plan of salvation so simple that a child can understand it. Because of the simplicity of the plan, it often brings the question, “Is that really all I need to do to be saved?’. And the simple answer is yes. So, we can just keep doing what we were doing? No! and again No! But now we are talking about sanctification which is a lifelong process. The good works we do are not to gain a greater salvation. If we could do enough good works to be saved then Jesus died in vain. We might as well still be living under the law and all of its impossible requirements. But Jesus did not die in vain. His death and resurrection fulfilled the law and opened the gate to heaven so that all that chose Him in faith could come in. When Paul tells the Philippians to “work out your own salvation”, he is not telling them to look for another way to be saved. He is telling them to do good works to show the world the results of their salvation. Phil, 2:12-15 NLT Jesus “went about doing good”. He is our example of how we are to live our lives as His brothers and sisters. As Christians, our response to certain things should be so different from the response of the worldly that it gets their attention. Our good works not only attract others to Jesus but they are also how we “lay up rewards in heaven”.
28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”
29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.”30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone. — Mark 7:28-30 NLT
Hearing the words that Jesus had just spoken to her, it would have been understandable if this woman would have just crawled out of the room and left without receiving anything from Jesus. But instead she suffered the humiliation and showed great humility by humbling herself before Jesus. She told Jesus, I am not asking for the best, your leftovers will be more than sufficient to fulfill my needs. Because of her humble response, Jesus answered her request and healed her daughter. Is there a request in our lives that Jesus hasn’t fulfilled? Is it possible that our “unanswered” prayers only appear to be unanswered because we refuse to humble ourselves before the Lord? Is it possible that God can’t say “yes” because we refuse to say “yes” to His request? Is it possible that we will only accept our preconceived notion as the answer and we miss what God is trying to do in our lives? In this instance, Jesus first said “no” (which is an answer) but then because of her humbleness and persistence, He said “yes”. God always answers every prayer, just because we don’t like the answer doesn’t mean He didn’t hear and answer us. We need to be like the Phoenician woman, we need to be persistent but humble. If we give God a good answer, He will give us a good answer.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6, 7 NLT
33 Then Pilate went back inside the palace and called Jesus to him and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus said, “Is that your own question, or did others tell you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “I am not one of you. It was your own people and their leading priests who handed you over to me. What have you done wrong?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If it belonged to this world, my servants would have fought to keep me from being given over to the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place.” 37 Pilate said, “So you are a king!”—John 18:33-37 (NCV)
”Are you the King of the Jews?” The question that Pilate asked or similar questions are still being debated today. Jesus answers with a question of His own. “Is that your question or did others tell you about me?” It is almost as if Jesus is asking Pilate, “do you care or are you just curious because others have asked that question?” Do you really want to know who I am? Pilate avoids answering the question by saying he is not one of the Jews and asks Jesus another question. “What have you done wrong?” Jesus answers by telling Pilate about His kingdom and His servants. He explains that His kingdom is in another place. Pilate responds with “So you are a King!” What is our response today? We may say, “Of course, Jesus is the King of the Jews!” But that answer avoids the real question: “Is Jesus the King in our lives here and now?” He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. He will not accept being the Number One God in our lives, He will only accept being the only God in our lives. Jesus died for our sins, how could we offer Him anything less than everything we have and everything we are. Please take the time to listen to this song.