Walking with Jesus

“Some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven. . . Stand up and go home. And the man stood up and went home” (Matt. 9:2, 6-7)

The blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak, and the lame walk.

This is good news indeed! Worthy of celebration!

But not everyone was ready to pop the champagne. The scribes contended that Jesus was blaspheming (disrespecting God) when He forgave the men’s sins.

They believed only God could forgive sin (and they were right – because Jesus is God; they just didn’t want to admit it).

As Jesus perceived the scribe’s thoughts, He asked them directly, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” (Mt. 9:4)

Then He hits them with a riddle: “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk?’” (v.5)

And then, for good measure, Jesus adds, “So you will know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,” [He turns to the paralytic] “Stand up, take your mat and go home.” (v.6)

Essentially Jesus says, “Which is easier: to forgive sins or heal the sick? Well, I can do both. Watch.”

And he proves it.

The man was thrilled and grateful to be healed. The people were amazed. God was glorified. Everybody wins! There’s no downside here.

So why were the scribes so upset?

It is something we see all too often today, and it was predicted by the prophet Isaiah in about 740 BC: “There will come a time when people will call evil good, and good evil.” (Isa 5:20)

Seek God’s wisdom and discernment in all matters of life to determine whether something is true or false; good or bad; right or wrong; positive or negative. Hold it up to the Word of God. He will show you the way.

Amen!

The Mind of Christ

“Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are subject to no one else’s scrutiny. For we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:15-16)

Those who serve God have no need to please others.

If you have pleased God, nothing else matters. If you have displeased God, nothing else matters.

According to Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of others lays a snare, but the one who trusts the Lord is secure.”

Many mistakes have been made by attempting to please others.

While doing things that happen to make others happy is all well-and-good, it becomes problematic when begin doing those things in order to make others happy.

Not only is your focus no longer on God; but there is no guarantee that your actions will have the desired effect.

People are fickle, with whimsical wants and moods. Most people don’t even don’t know what makes them happy!

As well, doing good things for the praise of others is ill-advised. Now you have shifted from trying to please God, to pleasing others, to pleasing yourself.

False humility craves a crowd and yearns for praise. True humility gives glory to God, with genuine disinterest toward getting any credit.

If the motive behind a good deed is appreciation or recognition, then it is ulterior, not altruistic.

But the mind of Christ is quite selfless indeed! The mind of Christ puts others ahead of self, choosing kindness over rudeness or indifference.

The mind of Christ is concerned with the will of God, seeking to hear His voice, and finding a way to give glory to God in every chance encounter.

And we now have the mind of Christ!

The mind of Christ is not vulgar, whimsical, or selfish. And it does not need validation from the praise of others.

God’s acceptance is more than enough.

Those who have the mind of Christ are able to discern all things through God’s wisdom, and are likewise not subject to the scrutiny of others, their ideologies, or their opinions.

Achieving God’s will – no matter what He calls you to do – is far more important than what others think of you.

Whether someone’s opinion of you is good or bad is irrelevant.

So give no thought to being embarrassed, awkward, or ill-received.

God’s got your back.

His opinion is the only one that really matters. And He thinks you’re great!

Amen!

The Outsider

“My enemies cannot speak a truthful word. Their deepest desire is to destroy others. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with flattery” (Ps. 5:9)

The most unalluring caveat to ambition and success is the envy of others.

Misery loves company; but it also envies joy. Envy is like a poison which corrodes from within, ruining the container which carries it.

Jesus anticipated this sort of turbulence in the lives of His loved ones because He knew human nature. He knew some people would be skeptical of His claims; He knew some people are inherently rebellious; and He knew that unhappy people with lackluster lives would aim their anger at the genuinely happy.

Jesus offers this advice:

“When people revile you and curse you and say all kinds of evil things about you because of Me, rejoice and be happy, for great is your reward in heaven.” (Matt. 5:11-12)

The hope of heaven is a total game-changer. Knowing that heaven awaits, it is a little easier to tolerate the intolerable; to accept the unacceptable. For the believer knows that the best is yet to come!

Because of this difference, believers are often misunderstood.

What is not understood is often feared.

This fear generally reveals itself in hostility because it is often easier to silence the truth – or try to discredit it – than to accept it.

What is the truth which non-believers try so desperately to disprove?

That only through Jesus can one be saved. Only in Him is there life. (John 14:6)

Take heart!

There is no need to hide your happiness or downplay the delight you receive from the Lord Jesus.

If you please God, it makes no difference whom you displease.

But if you displease God, it does not matter whom you do please.

“Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

Amen!