DATE: January 5, 2020
Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed.
TEXT: James 4:8 – ESV - Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Sometimes the world wants you to compromise. You know, take some of its wisdom, and, some of God's.
Sounds good on principle, but.... I remember a joke in which begins with a hunter raising his rifle to shoot a large bear. Before he could pull the trigger, the bear spoke in a soft, soothing voice, "Isn't it better to talk than to shoot. What is it you want? Let us negotiate the matter." Lowering his rifle, the hunter replied, "I am looking for a fur coat." "Good," said the bear, 'that is a negotiable issue. On my part, I want a full stomach. Let us negotiate a compromise."
The hunter and the bear sat down to negotiate and after a time the bear walked away...... alone. The negotiations had been successful. The bear had his full stomach, and the hunter was wrapped by a fur coat.
That same thing happens when the wisdom of the world meets the Word of the Lord. The world says, "Come, let us negotiate. This will save you. That will help" But there are some things that can't be negotiated.
Fumes from gasoline and the flame of a match can't negotiate. Good and evil can't negotiate. We cannot compromise and try to find a happy meeting place between the wisdom of the world and Christianity. If we do, we get eaten alive. Negotiations and compromises can't save us. The wisdom of the world can never bridge the gap between us and the Lord.
The world wants you to compromise; it would have you believe that it has the solution to your problems, your future, your salvation. The world would have you compromise and buy into its pale, shallow imitation of peace. But only Jesus can save.
Now if the world, with all its money and resources can't save you or make you happy, is there any possibility you can save yourself? Once a man had a bad toothache. It lasted two days. In desperation, he got out a small drill and fixed it himself. It worked very well, and he didn't have a bit of pain, until the following day. Then it hurt worse than it had before. So that day he drilled that tooth out some more and filled it with some plastic goop that he bought at the hardware store. It didn't hurt anymore. It didn't hurt anymore for a whole three hours, but then the pain became excruciating. He couldn't protect himself from a little toothache. He couldn't save himself. Not any more than we can save ourselves from our bad habits, from our addictions, from our sins or our shortcomings. Only Jesus can save.
You may not see Him, but He has done that which is impossible for us. Once, when I was much younger, I saw a strange event. It was started with a strange tapping noise. When I looked I saw a butterfly in my parent's living room. It was flying around between the storm window and the inside glass. It was flying with great fright and outside a sparrow was pecking, that's the noise I heard, and trying to get at that butterfly. The butterfly did not see the glass and expected every minute to be caught and the sparrow did not see the glass. He expected every minute to get the butterfly.
Yet, all the while that butterfly was as safe as if it had been millions of miles away. The glass between it and the sparrow kept it safe. So it is with a Christian. We may not see Jesus. But He is there. He is saving us. He has saved us. Satan cannot touch the soul that has the Lord Jesus Christ between itself and him.
Ponder a moment upon your sins. Jesus, the Man of sorrows, did not just understand, He did not just sympathize. He made your sins His own. No government, no wisdom of the world can do that. No amount of compromising can do that. Because of Jesus, you are saved. In eternity, most certainly. But right now as well. Jesus has become the glass to keep you safe. Nothing can harm you. You may not see Him. But He is there, as surely as the glass kept the butterfly safe, Jesus, Your friend, Your Savior, is keeping you safe as well. God grant it be so. God grant we accept this truth. Amen.
THE PRAYER: Lord there are days when I think I have done some pretty good stuff. Help me always remember and be grateful that Jesus has done that which we could not. In His holy Name I pray it. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html