John: Day 6: A Sheer Show of Strength

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Text:  Mark 1:21-28

Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.  And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit.  And he cried out, saying, “Let us alone!  What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth?  Did You come to destroy us?  I know who You are – the Holy One of God!”

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”  And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.  Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this?  What new doctrine is this?  For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”  And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.

Stop and Consider

  1. Why does God often seem to delight new converts with bold, visible displays of His glory, while trusting His older saints to follow with less flowery fireworks? I think it is because He knows that we respond emotionally to tangible things and experiences.  Once we trust Him, though, He shouldn’t have to “show” Himself.  We should be able to sense Him and trust Him by faith.  No, we won’t be able to sense Him all the time, but that is where we learn to walk by faith, and not by sight.
  2. How dependent have you been on big splashes of emotion and spiritual splendor?  What tends to happen to your Christian fervor when things are quieter and more at ease? I have been too dependent on emotions and “feelings.”  Much too dependent.  I forget that emotions can’t always be trusted.  When things are quieter and more at ease, we tend to get that way, too.  We get comfortable and complacent.  We get lazy.
  3. What kinds of temptations come along with being on God’s “side”?  What elements of our human nature must be watched like a hawk when we begin championing the way of Christ among our unsaved family, friends, and others? Pride, arrogance, self-righteousness, false piety, false modesty and humility, legalism, judgmentalism – all traits of Pharisees and those who somehow feel superior to others and start seeing themselves as “better” instead of merely “forgiven.”  Watching out for these things doesn’t mean that we stop championing the way of Christ 0r, heaven forbid, water down His message and compromise the statutes that God has laid out for us in His Word.  It just means that we need to do so with humility of heart and love of people.

Praying God’s Word Today

It is quite obvious, God, that I have not yet reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of this life You have given me, because it is You, Lord Jesus, who have taken hold of me.  So may I forget what is behind, reach forward to what is ahead, and pursue as my goal the prize promised by Your heavenly call (Phil. 3:12-14).  Help me be drawn to You and You alone, Lord, not just to what You do.

Help me to trust and never waver, even when I can’t seem to see You at work or don’t understand why You are allowing some things to happen.  Help me to reverence You appropriately and seek You even when I can’t sense You, for You have said that You will be found by those who earnestly seek You.  Help me to reverence You for who You are, not what You do for me.

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