Go Your Own Way?
“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, y will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5 (NASB)
You ever open your computer screen, scroll through the awful headlines and think to yourself, I’m glad I’m not like them.
I have. My guess is that you have, too.
The Bible reading in Luke today is both awful and interesting. In the first part of Luke 13, Jesus speaks of an incident that apparently took place in the temple. Roman soldiers cut down some Galileans and their blood was mixed with some of the blood sacrifices.
This appalled the Israelites. The Lord’s answer—as usual—is both unexpected and profound. Basically, He states that unless the people repent, they will all suffer the same fate.
Not what the people wanted to hear.
No one likes to hear about repentance.
Repentance means turning around, going in a different direction, admitting guilt. And face it, most of us like going a direction of our choosing. And according to our culture, you should never feel guilt—it’s always someone else’s fault.
Not according to God’s Word. Not according to Jesus.
In fact, let’s go back in the gospels to the first mini-message of our Lord:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17 NASB
What does He mean?
Jesus is saying, in essence, I’m here. Turn to me. Don’t follow your own way. Give me your life. You need a Savior for your sin.
How about we skip over to John 8? A woman is caught in adultery. The Pharisees try to trap Jesus into going against the Law—read the account yourself. My point is, at the end, when it is just this condemned woman and Jesus, He tells her, “From now on, sin no more.”
In other words, turn from your sin and turn to Jesus.
In this culture, we don’t often use the word sin. We say we “made a mistake,” or “were at the wrong place at the wrong time.” Or even, “I was hanging with the wrong crowd.”
All of these may be true.
Philippians 2:9-11 states:
“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NASB)
Judgment will one day come to this old earth. Those who have trusted Christ and repented of their sins will be saved. Those who have not will be condemned.
If you are a follower of Christ, be glad. Turn from any known sin.
If you are not, trust Him today. Repent of going your own way.
The Apostle Peter said this in Acts 4:12,
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (NASB). (Turn, Today)
Human Logic vs. Spiritual Wisdom: How God Changes Hearts – Crosswalk the Devotional
by Kelly-Jayne McGlynn
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Ah, my own understanding… How I love thee. So limited, and yet seemingly so inviting to lean on as I attempt to take charge of my own repentance.
When I was in college, I double-majored in English and Philosophy. Every paper I wrote–and there were a lot of them–would end in a clear conclusion neatly supported by every line of the rest of my argument. I could always back up my opinion in class. I even used to do Logic homework problems for fun. The truth is, I love my brain.
What God has been teaching me recently, though, is that when it comes to matters of my heart, I cannot rely on my own brain… even if my brain is telling me the truth.
Even when our ‘own understanding’ is based on Scripture, and the step-by-step process of repentance is clear in our minds—it is still the hand of God that we must rely on transform our hearts. In all our ways we must submit to him, because he will be the one to make our paths straight!
Last week, I was on the phone with one of my Moms-in-the-Faith. You know, the type of woman in your life who knows how to ask you just the right question. I was expressing frustration to her about a situation with my friend, who is a new follower of Christ. As her sister, I had been trying to get her to fully understand an aspect of her life in which in order to please God, she would have to give something up. I was frustrated because to me, it seemed so simple.
The scriptures about it were right there. As I would have done in Philosophy class, I had stated Premise 1, then Premise 2, which led to the Conclusion. Boom. Why wasn’t she getting it?
But my Spiritual Mom reminded me, “Kelly-Jayne…sometimes it isn’t that easy. If [last year] someone had tried to get you to fully believe in God’s love and protection for you that same way, would that have been helpful? Would that have really convinced you?” She, of course, was right.
You see, two years ago, my apartment was broken into in the middle of the night. It was very difficult for me to trust in God’s protection following that. Nearly impossible, really. At that time, when I would read scriptures about God’s protection, they just felt hollow and untrue. If anyone shared one with me, I typically just became angry instead of encouraged. It took months and months of prayer, experience, and God changing my heart for me to actually believe in that truth.
Even if someone had blatantly stated “Read Psalm 91:9-10. Premise 1: The Lord is your refuge. Premise 2: The Bible says that if the Lord is our refuge, no harm will overtake us. Conclusion: God protected you that night from harm–whether or not you think so,” that would not have been helpful to my heart. At all. Instead, what really changed my heart was sitting at God’s feet, hearing his voice through the scriptures.
Jesus reminds us of this in John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” (NLT). Jacob physically wrestled with God. David struggled in prayer. He begged God to create in him a pure heart, instead of trying to logically think his way there. These men submitted their ways to God—which was really an invitation to see him face-to-face. And God blessed them for it.
Sometimes we want a quick fix with Devotionals. We want to Google a scripture, write it on a post-it, and magically have our hearts renewed. We want a change of heart, and in our fast-paced society, we want it now.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that there is power in the word of God. But if we rely on our own brains to make ourselves accept the truth found in Scriptures, we miss out on the chance to truly meet with God!
God invites us to rest on his power, not our own. Even when our understanding is based on truth, God calls us to lean on his understanding, to walk with him, to sit as his feet. Today, as you read his powerful word, seek God through his scriptures and not just solutions. Hear his voice speaking to your heart
Hope for a Tree
“At least there is hope for a tree: if it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.” — Job 14:7
I grew up on a farm in Central Alberta, where poplars, aspens, and birch trees grow along the edges of fields. While there are some big trees, it takes a long time for them to grow, and non-native trees have to be cared for meticulously in order to thrive.
A year ago last winter, temperatures quickly dropped below -35C (-31F) and damaged some of the trees. However, rather than simply cutting down what looked like dead trees in the spring, my parents were hopeful that the trees might recover. And by the middle of summer, many of the damaged trees had new saplings growing around the base of the trunk.
When Job was at his lowest point—after losing his family, his home, and his livelihood— and he wasn’t receiving support from his friends, he looked to trees as a sign of resilience. He lamented that “a man dies and is laid low,” but he noted, “At least there is hope for a tree.” At that point, Job couldn’t see past his sorrow. But awhile later he summoned up a clear statement of faith: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.”
Job then echoed the idea of a stump dying in the soil and yet putting out shoots at the scent of water as he said, “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. . . . How my heart yearns within me!”
God our Father, summon deep hope in us that one day, even after our flesh has failed, that because of Jesus’ resurrection, we too, in our flesh, will see you. In your name we pray. Amen.
“Do not lie to one another, since you … have put on the new self which is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created it.” – Colossians 3:9-10 NASB
Leila Morris spent much of her life in active church work. Born in Ohio on this day in 1862, she also wrote more than a thousand hymns and spiritual songs, even composing when her eyesight began to fail.
In 1917, burdened by the need for a stronger Christian witness, she wrote a hymn, called “Can the World See Jesus in You?” Here, she asked a series of questions. First, she asked herself, “Can the world see Jesus in me?” Then, she turned to other Christians: “Can the world see Jesus in you?” She is asking others to examine how pure their witness is and how persuasive their lives are.
She recognized that we can’t change without spending time alone with Jesus. She asked, “Do we live so close to the Lord today” that the world can see a likeness of Him?
She knew how easily we can be busy and fail to show the love of Christ. She asked whether we really love those who are “lost in the mire of sin.” Are we willing to reach out to touch lives whatever the cost?
We need to realize that our lives are like an open book. As others watch us and listen to our words will they be attracted to or turn away from the Gospel? When others look at your life, do they see Jesus? Surrender everything to Him. Make your life count for His Kingdom.