Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 228
Devotional Song: Go to this link … Today watch/listen to a powerful song sung by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, singing “I Choose To Believe”, declaring that our faith must last when others find us an affront to their lives … that God is always worth choosing to believe.
Highlight Study passage found in Matthew 13: 57 [NLT] …
57 And they [i.e., the people of Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth] were deeply offended and refused to believe in Him.
Contextual reading study of Matthew, Chapter 13: Go to this link …
Reference Passage #1: 2nd Corinthians 5: 16-17 [Always faithful – no matter what others may think about us in Christ.] … [NLT] …
16 So, we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though He were merely a human being. How differently I think about Him now! 17 What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
Reference Passage #2: Romans 12: 1-2 [Shining Jesus’ light in the world as our worship is going to cause ripples of rebellion.] … [NLT] …
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will accept. When you think of what He has done for you, is this too much to ask? 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do;, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is.
Reference Passage #3: Matthew 5: 14-16 [Even if those from your past reject you, shine Christ’s light elsewhere to let others see Christ in you.] … [NLT] …
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
My Journal for Today: In 1940 a book was released posthumously by Thomas Wolfe’s publishers entitled You Can’t Go Home. It was the story of a man, George Webber who’d written a book with his hometown characters depicted in the book; and when he went back home to visit, he was shocked by the attitudes of rejection about him which he confronted. And so he went on a quest to discover his own identity.
Well, though Jesus knew His identity with no doubts, when He went back to His home town, early in His public ministry, He, like the main character in Wolfe’s book, faced public reprisal. And Jesus, openly declaring God’s truth, became a mirror for the souls of those around whom He had known when He was growing up. Actually wherever Jesus went, He was a light reflecting in the darkness; but in His hometown, many of the people remembered Him and His family; and they just didn’t imagine that this carpenter’s kid could teach and preach truth the way He did. And it caused them to rebel against Him.
Have you noticed that when you’re willing to be true to the change Christ has brought about in your life [see Matthew 5: 16], others, especially those who’ve known you well in your pre-Christ past will find it hard to take the change they see in you? When I first was saved (i.e., converted) those who had known me as a cynical agnostic on my worksite found it hard to believe that I had become a Christian. And many of them, especially those who had been comfortable with me being a non-believer, rejected me as I openly witnessed my faith in Christ.
And can you imagine how difficult it must’ve been for the Jews of Saul’s day to imagine the change that came over the Apostle Paul when, after being away for a few years, the die-hard Christian-hater came back to Jerusalem spouting Christ’s love and the message of the gospel. So, really it’s not hard to see why Jesus was not well received in His home territory of Nazareth. Jesus, preaching the truth of Himself in the Synagogue there in Nazareth was, as I often depict Christians witnessing in the world, like a mirror; and quite often when people see themselves in a mirror they can often react in anger or denial at what they see; and they will either want to run from the mirror or they will desire to break the mirror and not see themselves reflected there anymore.
That is what may happen when you become a new creation in Christ (see 2nd Cor. 5: 17 above) and you begin to witness your new self in the world (see Romans 12: 1-2). Many, especially those who might have known you before your transformation, will not want to be around you; and you may just have to move on to others with your witness of faith and belief in Christ.
My friend, if you have family or friends who just can’t take you as a mirror of truth in Christ, … move on and be Christ’s light for others, merely being a witness of who’ve you’ve become through Christ’s Lordship.
My Prayer for Today … Lord, no matter where I go with my witness of faith, help me to be true to You. … Amen