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Following Jesus Isn’t for Wimps

By Reginald Smith, Tuesday, February 13, 2018 in TODAY

Scripture Reading — Luke 12:1-3

Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. — Luke 12:1

Jesus used an ordinary baking ingredient (yeast) to picture the power of sin in people’s lives. It was Passover, and thousands of Jews were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate this great feast commemorating their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. As part of their preparation for this event, people removed all of the yeast from their homes (see Exodus 12:14-20).

Jesus knew how to use current events to make a point. With people paying so much attention to yeast, he pointed out that the sin of hypocrisy could be just as penetrating as yeast in bread, working its way to affect every inch of life.

In this way Jesus warned his disciples against being hypocrites in their service to God. Discipleship was and is serious business. There is no such thing as being “on the fringe” or neutral. We can easily find ourselves not living our real identity in the one true Savior.

True discipleship will involve suffering and self-denial. Choosing to do the will of God becomes more important than rejection or popularity. Discipleship means making people a priority rather than rituals and traditions. Loving your enemies pleases Jesus more than loving only your friends and family. Following Jesus means caring for the needy rather than giving priority to the rich, influential, and powerful. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow him if we would truly be his disciples. Can we do that?

Prayer

Dear Jesus, help us to truly be your disciples. Please take hypocrisy out of our lives so that we may follow your ways. Amen.

If we love…

If we love someone, we will surely want to motivate them to do and be the best they can. We will look for the good that is within them and build on top of that. People who like others and who believe that they have good intentions seem to inspire others to do their very best. On the contrary, people who are always seeking the worst in others will find it. Here is an example: In a certain school, a test was given at year end to every student and, at the beginning of the following year, the teachers were given a list of names of those who had the highest scores. At the end of that year, the children on the list of the best scores had increased their grades considerably. Actually, the names on the list of the best had been chosen at random. The only thing that had changed was the attitude of the teachers who treated those children as if they were the best students. The lesson was that to motivate people to do their best, we need to expect the best of them. Jesus did that to Simon when he gave him the name Peter before he became strong. He called Zacchaeus and Matthew to be apostles when they were still tax-collectors. He called the sinful woman in John 8 to a pure life on the day she had been caught in adultery.

Let us seek the best in each other and motivate them to do and be their very best. This includes our children, our spouses and our brethren.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Joe

Little Children

Can you think of a more spiritual activity than playing with a two year old child? Jesus said that we are to let the little children come to us because people who are like the kingdom of heaven are like them. They are pure and holy, humble and submissive. They don’t put on airs, are transparent, are not too proud to cry and aren’t afraid to get on the floor and play with toys. What could be more spiritual than spending good quality time with a God-like person? They give us opportunities for serving, showing patience and seeing things with simplicity’s eyes. We thank God for Sienna and getting on her level. Thank you God, also, for the little children around the Joelton church.

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