March 29, 2012

Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”

Jesus’ standard for living is humanly impossible, but that’s part of the point. It is in trying to live like Jesus taught that we realize we are totally dependent on God. Thinking otherwise is pure conceit, and will lead to serious failure. However, that’s not to say that we aren’t to live by His standard, because God never asks of us anything He doesn’t make possible. Apart from Christ we can do nothing right, (John 15:5) but in Him we can do all things. (Philippians 4:13) The devil tries to get us to give up before we start, pointing out how “unnatural” Jesus’ standard is and encouraging excuses at every turn. However, the way to victorious Christian living is to acknowledge our weaknesses and failures, submit them to God in repentance, and walk in His cleansing and forgiveness. (1 John 1:9) Every time we read a passage like this, that seems impossible good and holy, we should rejoice, because that is what God desires to work in and through us, if we will submit to Him.

Like every thoughtful Christian, I am at times painfully aware of my shortcomings when measured by the standard of Jesus. And like every person on earth, I am subject to the temptation to make excuses for myself. Rather than either making excuses or beating myself up, I need to rejoice in the grace and mercy of God! I am never to be satisfied with my current level of growth or sanctification, knowing that there is always room for progress. However, I am not to be continually picking at myself, putting myself down. I am to keep my repentance so up-to-date that I can say with Paul, “My conscience is clear.” (1 Corinthians 4:4) As I tell others, I need to remember that it is only the devil who serves up blanket condemnation. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman, convicting of sin but being very specific, so that we are able to repent. (John 16:8) I am never to reject His prompting, but rejoice in the reality of 1 John 1:9 and lead others to do likewise.

Father, this is so basic, yet I feel You are calling us back to basics. We must have our foundation secure as we are built up! Thank You for the message You have given me for Sunday. May it be Your message through me indeed, and may I fully heed and appropriate it myself, rather than just preach it at others. Help us all be humble, hungry and holy, so that we will grow as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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