The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, December 29, 2021 comes to us from Jason John of New South Wales, Australia.
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured
into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?
40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Luke 6:37-49 NIV
“Change the World”
My friend Adam and I were camping, celebrating my decision to follow Christ. As I sat by the campfire, wrestling with the responsibility of my new faith, I felt a firm encouraging hand on my shoulder. I knew it was Jesus – Emmanuel, God with us.
I once would not have appreciated God’s presence with me. When I was young, there was a Christian television ad which claimed that “God might not change your circumstances, but he certainly changes you.”
Back then I didn’t want to be changed; I just wanted God to fix things with miracles like those in the Bible. Only after my fireside encounter with Christ, as I read the whole Bible for myself did I see beyond the miracles like those in the Bible. Jesus expected his followers to live out his teachings by doing for others and choosing God over power. I discovered that discipleship means being transformed so that we can help change the world rather than sitting back and waiting for God to change it for us.
Being a Christian means not just saying, “Lord, Lord” but doing what Jesus said. Following Christ’s teachings is scary sometimes, uncomfortable at others. It can cost us money, jobs, friends, family, even our lives. But God promises to be with us as we walk the way of Christ, being changed ourselves so that we can change the world together.
I truly appreciate Jason John’s reminder that following Jesus means to be transformed so that we can “do” those things that Jesus teaches us to do, instead of waiting for God’s miracles to somehow “solve” every situation. We often say that we are God’s hands and feet. That is to say that God’s work is for us to carry out, remembering that each and all of us are Blessings from God, so we are called to go and be blessings to others.
Prayer: Dear God, as we walk with you, help us continue to change to become more like Christ so that with you we can change the world. Amen.
Prayer Focus: For Courage to follow Christ’s teaching
Thought for the Day: With Christ’s help, I can change the world.