Devotion: Monday, October 7, 2019
Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, with reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s reading is from Luke 17:1-4.
And [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3 Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4 and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
GOOD COUNSEL, BAD COUNSEL – IT MATTERS!
I was just talking to someone the other day and they said, “My how things have changed.” He went on to reminisce about TV shows that one could watch with the family and newspapers that weren’t filled with today’s vitriol and spite. He yearned for a time when leaders would lead for all, when parents would parent their children, and when the most vulnerable among us didn’t have to live in violence and fear. I could see his point.
Jesus is especially concerned for the vulnerable and the broken in our reading for today. He talks plainly about what it means to live in a sinful world with a sinful heart. He says, “Temptations to sin are sure to come.” No doubt! But face such things head on. Take them seriously. Pay attention! Temptation to sin is temptation to rebel against the one who created and redeemed you for abundant eternal life. Temptation to sin, falling into sin, and then loving a life of sin ultimately cut oneself off from the source of life, God. Repentance is turning around from such foolishness by the power of the Spirit of God. It involves an ongoing struggle against temptation, yes. But it’s also living boldly the new life in Jesus Christ that is yours by grace through faith in Him!
Jesus is giving good counsel to all of us here. Repentance and forgiveness are so precious that he is telling us to focus. This matters. It matters so much that even sharing that repentance and forgiveness is essential to our friendships and our relationships in this world. If you know someone struggling with temptation and sin (even against you), and they repent, forgive them without measure! Why? Because that’s how God treats you!
And here’s Christ’s backhand warning to “pay attention.” If you are one who doesn’t take temptation and sin seriously, you better not be one of those who leads the vulnerable and the weak into sin. God especially despises that. Good counsel, bad counsel…. when it comes to sin and temptation, it really matters. Listen up to what Jesus has to say!
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, give me courage to listen to your Word, your counsel, even when our culture bids otherwise and even when my own heart tempts me to go astray. Your counsel is for my life, now and forever. “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). AMEN