by Brenda Emmons
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“Saul, Saul, why are you attacking Me?” Acts 9:4 (The Voice)
This morning I am amazed that I have never noticed the implication of Jesus’ question to Saul. Saul had gone to the high priest in Jerusalem to gain permission to rid the synagogues in Damascus of the followers of the way of Jesus. His plan was to arrest and chain any of Jesus’ followers—women as well as men—and transport them back to Jerusalem. (The Voice commentary)
I never noticed what implications this tiny verse has for each of us as we walk our roads in this life. Jesus never said, ‘Why are you watching Stephen being stoned with such approval? Why are you leading the revolt against Peter, John and James? Why do your plans involve hurting my children?’ No…this loud booming voice of Divinity and Trinity thundered, ‘Why are you attacking Me?’ Jesus taught His disciples this truth through Matthew 25:21-36 before He was crucified and resurrected. He told of a time when He would come into His glory and sit beside God. Both the righteous and the unrighteous would approach Him with their lives laid bare before the King. Their actions on earth will be their story told in Heaven. Saul got the short version of this story as he was struck by a blinding light. Saul’s attack on God’s people was the same as Saul attacking the Trinity. I only have to look as far as my children to see the anger that arises when they are being treated unfairly. You mess with my children and you have just messed with me – same passion.
Jesus made it very clear that the manner in which we treat others is the manner in which we treat Him. “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’” (Matt 25:40). “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’ (Matt 25:45).
When we look into the face of those who irritate, injure or wound us we are looking into the face of Christ. Our attitudes towards those people whom we would just as soon avoid may be the very attitude with which God takes offense. Just as Saul felt entitled and justified towards treating certain people certain ways, sometimes we tend to be no better. When I am speaking against another, I am attacking the Trinity. When I withhold kindness from one, kindness was withheld from my Father.
Through the grace of God we are empowered with the fruit of the Spirit when dealing with everyone, but it is a choice we must make. “The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” Gal:22 The Voice.
How will we treat Christ today?
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Wow this is such a powerful devotion. You really made me stop and think about my life and actions. My son, who is studying to become a minister, reminded me of the fact that if a mother lives just for her children, all kinds of pain can occur. However, if we concentrating on serving Jesus first, our kids will be blessed, we receive a sense of importance. It's like a three for one by serving God, we also feel better as do those around us. Your devotion reminded me of that,though you expressed yourself better than I did. But I was blessed by your words.
Thank you for your inspiring devotion. I found it to be well written and easy to read. One quick suggestion: "Our attitudes towards those people whom we would just as soon avoid may be the very attitude that God takes offense." would read better as "...that God takes offense with." or "with which God takes offense." I look forward to reading more in the future. Keep on writing!