This week’s devotions are based on the Week 4 “Explore God” – Is Christianity too narrow? (WATCH HERE)
First, a happy birthday to my dad who regularly reads these devotions. 82 years of God’s blessings!
Over the past week the brutal and evil attacks by Hamas in Israel which sparked Israel’s military response has the attention of us and our country. Not only does the conflict create a level of uneasiness as to what will happen next, but also creates a sense of fear as to the instability of the world in which we live. Could this happen in our streets? In our homes? To our families? To our friends?
Perhaps. Every day we live in the realities that Jesus told us about. The events that occur around us and at times to us disrupt our lives and unsettle our souls. However, Jesus in his love warned us these type of things would happen:
Matthew 24:4-14 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
In Jesus’ words I hear his love that a) stand firm and b) everyone needs the Gospel…everyone needs Jesus.
The events of this past week are not unique. The headlines every week indicate to us how much the world needs the forgiving power of God’s grace in Jesus and the transforming work of God’s Spirit in one’s heart.
Only Christianity provides both. There is no other world religion that preaches grace than biblical Christianity. There is no other message other than grace that can transform the heart to produce the fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
There is one more reality that no other world religion offers: a living Savior who promises eternal life to all who believe.
Atrocities, evil, and death are not fun to live through or accept the reality of. However, Christianity is the only faith that offers life in heaven secured by one who overcame death and promises us eternal life. The resurrection of Jesus is truly the crux of the Christian faith that validates every aspect of it and gives hope that no other belief system can offer. Jesus said,
John 16:22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy…. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The heart of Christianity is realized at its best when evil is around us. Here’s what comfort we can have. First, our biggest problem in life has been taken care of for us by the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Second, while evil can disrupt our lives, we have a peace that surpasses all understanding to keep our minds at rest and our hearts a peace. And third, we have a Savior who overcame death and is preparing a room in heaven for us so that even if evil would take our lives on this earth, our home in heaven will be ready.
This truth is what we need. The truth is what the world needs. This is the narrow truth of Christianity which brings the width of grace to all people.
Apply: How can the message of grace bring peace to your heart when times around you are evil and disconcerting.
Prayer: Lord God, thankyou for overcoming the world and assuring us that this world is not our home, heaven is. Your resurrection to life is a key assurance that we too will live. Thankyou for your love, grace and promises of hope. AMEN.