Devotional: ‘Negative Hearts’      

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 Luke 9:54 “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. NKJV

The Bible says that Jesus ‘rebuked them’ for what they had just said. “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” Though Jesus wasn’t pleased with the Samaritans’ rejection, He reminded His disciples that it was not His desire to destroy the Samaritans. In another passage, Jesus said, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 NKJV) Though God hates our sin, He still loves our soul.

What caused James and John to say such negative things? Yesterday we saw that their negative words came out of a negative heart.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. NKJV  

In order for us to clean up our speech, we must first clean up our heart. We must seek to remove all the negative thoughts and feelings that linger there before we can begin to change the way we speak and act. James and John saw the Samaritans’ rejection of Jesus and therefore, they naturally resented them. But their superficial spirituality at that moment was only superficial. Their negative words toward the Samaritans came from something much deeper. There was an inbred animosity within the Jews toward the Samaritans and this particular episode only caused what was already there to spill out. They not only hated what the Samaritans had done, they hated the Samaritans.

Often it is very hard for us to know how to respond to the world around us. We see and hear things that are repulsive to our Christian nature and if we are not careful, we can become very critical and judgmental. We can even begin to think the way James and John thought about the Samaritans. “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” James and John had no love or concern for the Samaritans. As far as they were concerned, the Samaritans should be judged and destroyed. But such thinking was completely contrary to Christ’s mission. The Bible says –

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. NKJV

Jesus did not come to condemn the word because the world is condemned already.

John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. NKJV

God does not love our sin, but He still loves our soul. He loves our soul so much that He was willing to make a great personal sacrifice so that He could redeem us out of our sin and restore us to Himself. The question is, ‘Do we love others that same way?’ Do we see a world in sin that deserves to be judged, or do we see a world in sin that needs to be redeemed.

Until tomorrow, God bless you brethren.

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