A Bible-blog devotion with morning instructor, Sara Armstrong Patton
The world is ever-changing around us: unsettling, upsetting, sometimes even horrifying.
The Bible and its truths don’t change.
Jesus doesn’t change.
God doesn’t change.
The love God has for us doesn’t change.
One truth that will never change is found in Romans Chapter 6. Verse 16 tells us that we must choose whom we will serve – God or sin:
“Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.”
There are no other choices; there is no third option. In this overwhelmingly complicated world, I find rest and peace in that thought. There might be 48 different kinds of cheese crackers at the grocery store, but there is only one God, and we either choose to serve Him or choose to serve sin. Serving Him isn’t always something that comes natural to us, however. Choosing to serve God often means reacting in ways which feel completely unnatural. We must deny our human instincts if we answer the call to mimic Jesus.
And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. (Ephesians 5:1)
Think about what it means to mimic Jesus.
In John 4, Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well. She was ostracized by her community and chose to go to the well in the heat of the day to avoid seeing the other women. Because of her immorality, she was shunned and rejected by those who lived in her area. Jesus knew she had five husbands already and that she was living with another man to whom she wasn’t married. Did He take her in front of everyone and talk about her sins? Did He condemn her? He did not. He told her about “living water,” eternal life, and the only thing which can satisfy our souls. I ask myself hard questions when I read about the Samaritan woman. How do I treat those who are ostracized in my community? Do I judge them publicly, do I judge them in my heart, do I silently watch as others judge them? Do I love them as Jesus does? Do I mimic Jesus? Am I serving God or serving sin?
In Luke 22, Judas betrayed Jesus. He accepted money and handed Jesus over to the chief priests, knowing that the chief priests were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus. Did Jesus retaliate? No, He did nothing to seek revenge. As I read what Jesus said on the cross, I believe He forgave Judas, just as He forgives all of us.
On the cross, he made a statement about forgiveness.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
He asked for forgiveness for those who crucified Him, for Judas who betrayed Him. I ask myself hard questions when I read about Judas. How do I respond when someone is hurtful to me or my family? Do I seek revenge; do I hope something bad will happen to them? Or, do I forgive and love as Jesus loves? Do I mimic Jesus? Am I serving God or serving sin?
We are called to make a choice.
There are only two choices: serve God or serve sin.
I am human and weak, and it’s not always easy, but every day I make choices to serve God. He loves me enough to sacrifice His only son. Do I deserve that love? Absolutely not, but I don’t have to. He gives it freely. It’s a gift, not an award. In my thankfulness, I serve Him, not because I am trying to earn His love or His mercy or His grace, but because I love Him. I pray you love Him and will make choices every day to serve Him too.