November 7 - 12
Monday, November 7 – “And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” (Matthew 18:3) Why “little children”? In Jesus’ day (and still in our day) children were of little importance and were not threatening. Little children were unconcerned about social status and not jaded by success and ambition. Thus, Jesus lifted them up as the example. Do you want to “enter the kingdom of heaven”? Get good at humbling yourself and stop being so concerned about your social status. Make the focus of your life about accepting as opposed to asserting.
Tuesday, November 8 – “He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?’” (Luke 24:38) Troubled and doubts, these are adult things. Little children don’t have troubles and doubts. Little children can fly high, over tall buildings. Little children will always find a friend in any given situation. Troubles and doubts are things that are learned as you grow up, in this sin-stained world. That’s the point to Jesus’ question. Just like God asked Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, “Who told you that you were naked?” Who told you that you weren’t good enough? Who told you that your faith is futile? Who asserted their truth on you, as opposed to accepting you?
Wednesday, November 9 – “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’” (Mark 9:35) As a follower of Jesus, great is defined by accepting as opposed to asserting. Accepting that you aren’t good enough to merit God’s grace. As opposed to asserting that you have earned the right to be saved, because of who you are. Accepting the importance of Jesus, as opposed to asserting your own importance. Accepting that your life is found in following Jesus, as opposed to asserting that your life is found in everyone following you. If you want to be great in the eyes of Jesus, get good at accepting as opposed to asserting.
Thursday, November 10 – “For whoever is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:40) This is grace. Many a good, faithful person, has thought and even taught something about Jesus, and living as a follower of Jesus, that wasn’t quite right. All of us not quite right followers of Jesus, are still followers of Jesus. In the movie Animal House, Jim Belushi’s character John “Bluto” Blutarsky, in a moment of passion announced, “Did we give up when the German’s bombed Pearl Harbor?” Instead of correcting him, they let him go. For he was on a role and who actually bombed Pearl Harbor wasn’t the point. This is what Jesus is also teaching: Greatness is found in accepting, not asserting.
Friday, November 11 – “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) Love is found in accepting as opposed to asserting. The problem is that the world has taught you, incorrectly, that to accept others means that you must leave them alone to do and to be whoever they are. That’s not accepting, that’s ignoring. Accepting means that you meet people right where they are and you love them into something new and someone new. That through your love someone can and will become more than what they do and who they are today. That’s why love is the greatest.
Saturday, November 12 – “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) This is your mission, if you choose to accept it. Don’t just read these devotions. Don’t just go to church. Don’t just read the Bible. Don’t just study the teachings of Jesus. Do what all of this is teaching you. Love in ever wider circles. Forgive in ever wider circles. Show compassion in ever wider circles. Live a thankful, grateful, humble and loving life. Get much better at accepting others, as opposed to asserting yourself.