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March 6 – God’s People: Demon Possessed or Drunkards?

Which is better: being a morning person or being a person that does better afternoon? Isn’t it funny how we attribute “goodness” or “badness” to either of those qualities? Growing up, I was a morning person. My aunt would drop her husband off at the train station and then come by our house to drink coffee with my mom and her brother (my dad.) I would get up and as I ate breakfast I would trade barbs back and forth with my aunt. We had a great time. My brother wasn’t a morning person. He would drag himself downstairs, get a bowl of cereal and eat it because he knew he needed to eat breakfast. He responded to any attention by delaying putting a spoonful of cereal in his mouth and grunting.

I imagine that some people might look at my brother and sniff that he should have gone to bed earlier. He went to bed at a reasonable time. Others might have looked at me in horror thinking, “What’s gonna happen when he starts drinking coffee?” As different as we are, God has used each of us in different ways. We have achieved success in our jobs. We both have amazing wives, and while my kids are slightly better, his kids are awesome too. Even more, we both put God first in our lives and serve Him daily. Jesus dealt with people who condemned Him and John for their different lifestyles. “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” (Matthew 11:18-19)

Let me start off by saying that as a traditional Southern Baptist, I have a hard time with this verse. While I don’t think Jesus was a drunkard, He makes it sound like He was (looks around to make sure none of my Baptist brethren are reading) drinking wine. And then it hits me that He actually made wine for a wedding. Without getting into the overall drinking v. non-drinking discussion, I am uncomfortable when I see people who are Christians talk about drinking; yet Jesus did it. What did Jesus say about this though: it’s not whether you are a tee-totaler or a drinker. It’s your results. The question isn’t whether or not you drink alcohol, the question is whether or not your works bring honor and glory to God.

Let’s face it. There have been times in my life when I’ve been a real stick in the mud about how faith should be expressed. My kids had to wear the right clothes to church. I won’t even get into my opinions on a few other topics that make me uncomfortable. Success in the end, though, does not depend on my comfort, or your comfort. Success depends on being faithful to God’s call on your life. Success is doing the things of God in a world that needs to know His mercy and love. John prepared the way for Jesus by letting people know about and regret their sins. Jesus came to show the love of God to all people in spite of their sins. Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have been called to remind people of their sins. They do it well. I believe that I am called to remind you of God’s love and grace no matter what sins you have. I can tell you honestly that God loves you no matter what you’ve done and how bad your sin is. In fact, I don’t spend a lot of time pointing out the sins of others because I have found that most people understand that they are sinners no matter how hard they try to hide it. What most of those people don’t understand is the love of God. Now, I believe that people who commit their lives to God will soon become uncomfortable in their sin, but that’s God’s responsibility, not mine.

Oh Lord, help me to show others Your love each day. Remind me that You knew of their sin long before I did. Remind me that You paid the penalty at the cross because of Your love for them and let me show Your love to all people.

Daily Devotion by Bob James


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