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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pros and Cons (08/14/14)

By Jason Barnett


I was very fortunate to grow up in a church where truth was preached every Sunday. The pastors in our pulpit had their own unique style of presentation and method of delivery. Many of them used different forms of imagery that still echo in my heart today. But one illustration has stuck we me the longer than the others, and it was on the topic of Christ-likeness. Like other speakers before him, this particular pastor decided to breakdown the word for us, but that is where the similarities ended. Instead of explaining the meaning of the word to us, he literally broke it apart. Christ being Jesus, like meaning that Jesus fancies something, and ness as in the Loch Ness Monster; in short Jesus likes monsters.

Of course, the pastor jokingly made those statements, but hidden in the humor was an element of truth. Jesus really does love monsters. During his time on earth, Jesus hung out with the tax collectors, beggars, and thieves. His everyday companions were uneducated grunts of society, who Jesus later entrusted to spread the Gospel. Even to this day, Christ still chooses to work with the scum and unwanted members of society to build his kingdom

Why? Any coach, general, or CEO would say it would be wiser to pick from the cream of the crop, but God chooses the monsters. God uses the least of humanity because they recognize that apart from Christ they cannot achieve the standard God has set for each of us. Too many “church people” parade around with their chest puffed up in hopes the world will put them on a pedestal. Meanwhile the “monsters” display the love of Christ, and all they can do is give God the glory because they are still in awe that He accepts them for them.

The believer who walks around proclaiming to be a professional Christian is not displaying the image of Christ. They are showing the world that they have a heart full of selfish pride. To be Christ-like, we should have the heart like the person who the church is afraid will walk through their doors, because in reality the pride filled pro Christian is a con, parading around pretending to be something they are not.

What are you, a conman pretending to be a pro? Or a monster that recognizes the need for Jesus in their life? You can read your Bible everyday, attend church every time the doors are open, and donate millions of dollars to the ministry, masquerading as angels of light. But in a reality their daily walk is joyless and empty because pride has blinded them to their actual identity as monsters. In the end we are all monsters, not worthy of the grace given to us and unable to accomplish anything good apart from Christ. When are hearts are completely surrendered to that fact, the Spirit of God will begin to reflect the image of the Master, because Jesus loves monsters.

EPHESIANS 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in ever way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (NLT)

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This article has been read 170 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joe Moreland08/21/14
I love this devotional break down of the superficial life as a "Christian" verses the meaningful life as a "monster" of Christ (sorry, you didn't say that, but it's how I interpreted it).

It reminds me a bit of the Ragamuffin Gospel, and it all hinges on the same thing: Honesty. We either accept, admit and confess who we really are, or we go around pretending that none of it is true and that we really do deserve the salvation Christ offers.

We know which is authentic, even when we pretend otherwise. But there is so much freedom in admitting who we really are and our true nature and no longer living to try to please men, but only God.

Honesty is also much harder for some reason.

Great job with this. I was drawn in by your title, and thoroughly enjoyed the read. You had a few typos, but those are easy to fix, especially if you have someone else who can give your story a quick read before you hit submit. :)
C D Swanson 08/21/14
Interesting approach to the topic. A well written entry in thought, meaning and message.

God bless~
Larry Whittington08/21/14
You present a good view of the needs of our churches of today. Once we are "in" we don't want the rest of the bad ones in.

Re-read this slowly. There are some added, misplaced or extra words in a place or two.

But your thought are well written and well taken.
Brenda Rice 08/22/14
Thanks for sharing your interesting devotional with us.

It's obvious you have given this much thought. God can and does use anyone He chooses.
Rachel Barrett 08/26/14
That was well done. What a powerful message. I loved your humorous beginning anecdote, and then it turned around to a most beautiful meaning.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/28/14
Congratulations on ranking 6th in your level and 22 overall! The highest rankings can be found on the message boards.