December 15

Jeremiah 20:8-9,11 (NIV) 8Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long. 9But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

11But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.

Jeremiah complained that God didn't tell him all that he was getting into when he was called to be a prophet. God never tells us everything upfront. God will tell us what we are able to hear when we are able to hear it.

Jeremiah was proclaiming a message among people who hated what he had to say. This made him the object of mockery and scorn. There were even plots to assassinate him. Jeremiah would have liked to just quit speaking God's words. There was one problem. The word was in his heart like a fire. If he tried to hold it in, it would weary him with the effort. He just couldn't keep quiet.

Jeremiah was proclaiming destruction and misery, but we have the words of life. How blessed we are that our message is one of hope and salvation. Yet, it is also a message of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In that sense, it is like Jeremiah's message. We are preaching the need to surrender. People will mock and scorn us as they did Jeremiah, because they do not want to change their ways. We may want to quit speaking the truth, just as Jeremiah did, but His word is in us like a pent up fire.

Consider: We have one great consolation. The LORD is with you, reader. He is with you like a mighty warrior.

December 15

1 John 2:5-6, 9 (NIV) 5But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

9Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.

Are you in Christ? There are millions of people that claim to be Christians that love only themselves. John is giving us a chief indicator of Christian life. He tells us plainly that if anyone is obeying God's Word (since Jesus is the Word made flesh this means to be walking with and obeying Jesus), then God's love will truly be made complete in that person. The indicator is love.

If we don't have love, we are only fooling ourselves. We may have a form of religion. We may have a desire to be good or even to please God, but we are missing something vital. The presence of Jesus in us will manifest Himself as the love of God through us. John saw the love of God as one of the main characteristics of Jesus. If Jesus is living in us, that characteristic will be in our lives as well. To walk as Jesus walked is to demonstrate love for God and our fellow man in all we do and say.

We cannot hate our brother if we are in the light. Hatred is an expression of darkness. It demonstrates the condition of our heart. Hatred is antithetical to the presence of Jesus in us. If Christ is in communion with us, we will find it impossible to go on hating a person. His presence will change our perspective to understanding, sympathy, and love. The mind of Christ will reveal the causes of a person's offensive behavior. Then we will hate the sin, but love the person enslaved by it, even when they hurt us. They "know not what they do".

Consider: Is the love of God being truly made complete in me?