Daily Devotional

Monday, August 15, 2016

Challenging

Jesus answered Nicodemus, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?” John 3:10

Jesus was not a pastoral caregiver or a counselor. Jesus was not in the business of carefully listening and gently responding to the needs and questions of those who approached him. Jesus could be harsh, unflinching, and challenging. When old Nicodemus approached Jesus under the cover of darkness in order to find out more about the fiery Galilean prophet, Jesus berated him. “You need to be reborn. You need to be moved by the Spirit. You don’t understand anything!”

One thing we need to understand about Jesus is that he does not intend to help us on our way to a more comfortable and successful life. Jesus isn’t interested in incremental steps toward holiness and blessing. Jesus entered the world intent on radical change. People needed to repent of their sins. People needed to start aiming their lives in the right direction no matter the cost. People needed to face up to their flaws and failed understandings and make major changes to their lives. Jesus challenged people, because Jesus wanted to change people.

What challenging words do you think Jesus would speak to your life?

Lord, I would like you to deal gently and lovingly with me. I do not want your harsh criticism anymore than I want anyone else’s. Perhaps that is why my life always seems the same. Day in and day out, I make the same mistakes, travel the same sinful paths, and settle for the same kind of unremarkable living I always do. Challenge me, change me, and grant me the courage to welcome your correction. In your name, I pray. AMEN.