A Revolution of Blessing – Cooperation and not Competition - Wednesday, June 24th

A Revolution of Blessing – Cooperation and not Competition - Wednesday, June 24th

John said to Jesus, “Master, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he isn’t in our group.” But Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you.” Luke 9:49-50

I begged your disciples to cast out the spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” Luke 9:40

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. James 3:13-16

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

It is comforting to know that the disciples were early in their training when we encounter all the “ought not to be” behavior on their part in Luke 9. The novice getting it all wrong is a recurring theme in life and is humorous at times. How instructive it is to see that the disciple’s complaint about someone casting out demons follows on the heals of their failure to be able to accomplish the same thing. Being jealous of the success of others in the face of our own failures happens far too often in our world and becomes for us something far from humorous when it persists beyond the novice stage of our Christian experience. When it comes to the fellowship of the redeemed all are welcome and petty and pious “in group” distinctions must be abandoned altogether.

It seems so right, normal, and justifiable to relate to others in the ways that come so easily to us. Look at the contrast of behaviors and sources of behavior in these two passages. Love is not jealous. What seems normal lies in stark contrast to love and is truly not of God. The Christian way of life and mission is not a competition but rather a Divinely induced cooperative journey of love and blessing that builds God’s kingdom and transforms the world.

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, forgive me for my jealous and competitive spirit. All too often I am petty and pious. Build into me a gracious, accepting, and cooperative spirit in my everyday relationships with all people. I choose the way of your kingdom and embrace your mission of “blessing and not cursing.” Amen!

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