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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Less is Best"

Date published: 07/20/2015
 
Luke 7:47 “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." (NIV)  

   Please read Luke 7:36-50 about the “righteous” Pharisee and the sinful/repentant woman. This is a story that reveals the bookends of humanity. From one end you see how the proud, “righteous” Pharisee portrays his blindness to sin and to God’s love; while on the other end you see how the sinful/repentant woman’s acknowledgement of her sin opened her heart to God. In the eyes of the proud Pharisee, he had advanced to a level of spirituality that in reality had made him oblivious to God, His purpose, and His presence. In the sinful/repentant woman, you see how her becoming an empty vessel for God allowed her to receive grace, forgiveness, love, and salvation. Jesus reiterated this principle over and over throughout His ministry: Matthew 20:16 "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (NIV)  Luke 18:14 “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (NIV)  Luke 15:32 “But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'" (NIV) Peter heard these teachings over and over for three years, yet in John 21:17, in one of Peter’s final exchanges with Jesus, Jesus questioned Peter’s spirituality, “The third time He said to Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love You.’” (NIV) Jesus knew that Peter’s pride and independence made him vulnerable to the world and, therefore, of little use to God. It is easy for Christians to be no different than Peter. The salvation experience of today’s Christian often leaves their sinful nature intact. The new believer desires God’s grace, but does not understand redemption and the beauty of God’s righteousness. New believers try hard to maintain worldly civility while becoming numb to sin. They want their lives to look good in order to maintain their Christian appearance. All these actions take the new believer further away from the grace, love, forgiveness, power, and transformation that Christ desires him/her to have.  

   In 1 Timothy 1:15b-16 you see how Paul galvanized the Christian church concerning the dilemma of piety and humility, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.” (NIV)  Paul said God saved him to show the church that it is not what one has (abilities and good deeds), but rather what one allows (God’s grace and forgiveness to transform brokenness into a mighty vessel for God’s glory and use).  Matthew 3:8 elaborates, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” (NIV)  Allow your transparency with God to be His invitation to have more of you. 

Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.” (NIV) 

Do you know someone who needs this message on experiencing and knowing God? If so, forward this devotion to them as a blessing for their growth in Christ. 

Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience: “Your Life in Christ” and “Transformation.” 

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