Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Reaction - Not the Action

"Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, 'I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.'" (Matthew 18:2-4 NLT)

Greatness in the kingdom of God requires humility. Humility shows itself when pressed for a reaction to an action. It says I will not let what you do to me or say about me discourage me or change how I act and feel (as a Christian).

The world will draw you into sin but woe to the man through which they come. We are responsible for our reactions to sin. My reaction should be based on my values and principles, not on the normal or usual response to another action.

Matthew 18:12-14 tells us the importance of each soul.

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.”

A normal reaction of the 99 would be, “Hey, what about us? That sheep left us. He’s on his own now.” The opposite of humility is pride. Pride says I made it alone and by myself. They can do the same. Are you ever jealous that a new believer coming from a life of sin is now getting all the attention? That is clearly pride. The prodigal son’s brother had that problem.  The story is found in Luke 15:11-31 where a man had two sons. The younger wants his share of his father’s estate, goes off and squanders it all, then goes back home where he is greeted by his dad as if he was a king.

The older son is not happy with the attention given to his brother. Instead of being glad that his brother is back, he is jealous. Most people can relate to someone who we feel is not as worthy as we are and is getting more attention. That also is a pride and a heart issue. Pride causes our reaction to be less than Christ-like.

These are types of situations that require us to pause before giving our “natural” or “typical” replies. We have a new nature that needs to reflect a Christlikeness different from our old nature. I, for one, need to be one who like Ephesians 4:1- 2 (NLT) says:

“... lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.

Copyright © Bob Noebel. Used by permission.

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