Monday, January 10, 2011
I wonder something about the reader while they are viewing this devotional. If you are reading this in the morning is there something that you did yesterday that you regret? If you are reading this at night, how was your day earlier? Did you happen to lie to someone about certain truths or maybe you fell into the trap of laziness. I know a lot of people, like me, fall into the latter.
“You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? Do something to show that you have really given up your sins. And don’t start telling yourselves that you belong to Abraham…an ax is ready to cut down the trees at their roots. Any tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire” (3:7-10)
This is a heavy verse from John the Baptist. He is talking to the religious leaders of his day who were getting baptized by him. He called them snakes, which if compared to today would be like cussing someone out. Why did he do this? The answer is that baptism represented repentance and he charged the religious leaders that they needed to start actually proving that they have given up their sins. In other words, they need to stop doing them. See the religious leaders clinged to the title of Children of Abraham. I guess they thought that this was enough. Hmmmm what do you think?
What if I was to tell you the same thing? What if I was to call you out and cuss at you telling you to truly repent? There is no doubt that we all do wrong; however, do you truly repent for it? In my times of laziness where I forget about spending time with God or I even ignore him, I will tell him that I am sorry but I will still continue to do it. If a compulsive liar told you that he was sorry for lying yet continued to do it, would you believe him? If an ax murderer said that he was sorry for killing people and yet he kept killing, would you believe him? The answer is no. We ask God for forgiveness but a lot of the times we don’t turn from our wrongs. Why is that? In my opinion, we are not running from judgment like the religious leaders, we are running from the conviction that our sins bring. We go to God to feel better and then we continue to do the something repeatedly. Some of us cling on to the title of being a Christian thinking that this title saves us. Like it gives us a free pass to do whatever. Well I hate to break it to those people that the title Christian has no power of saving. It's the faith in Jesus that saves us.
I just wanted to challenge you to really repent when you ask for forgiveness. It’s not easy; quite the contrary, it is quite hard. We will most likely fall again and again, but it is the effort that makes a difference. God wants to see us fight to become more like him. He wants us to strive to be better people. He wants us to bear that good fruit. If we don’t, then we are in danger of being cut down. I don’t know what that means but it doesn’t sound good. I just want to encourage you to really repent. God loves you regardless of what you do. Don’t you want to return that love, or do you just want to use him?