Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Pastor Jeremy Heikkinen
A couple of weeks ago, in my sermon, I shared the phrase that came out of a conversation with my wife Jessi, “Be honest with me in 2023”. When I got home that Sunday, Jessi encouraged me to clarify what I meant by that. It was not that we had been hiding the facts about the circumstances of our lives, it had more to do with being honest with how our hearts were responding to the facts of our circumstances. We had been having a discussion the day before about all that was going on in our lives and
how this has been one of the most difficult seasons. From the isolation of Covid, the ups and downs of foster care, and the toll of sleepless nights and sickness, we are both exhausted! But underneath the external exhaustion there are disappointments, deep sorrows, and unmet expectations that last beyond the moment of circumstance.
I am not very good at sharing what is going on under the circumstances. I often just put me head down and ‘go to work.’ So, what are we to do with our disappointments, deep sorrows, and unmet expectations? Soldier on!? Suck it up buttercup!? Fake it until you make it!? Many of you know me enough to know the question that is coming next… “what does God’s Word say about this?” Well, Eph. 4:15 tells us that it is impossible for us to grow as an individual and a church without “speaking the truth in love” to each other. Paul goes on to discuss the life changing hope of being taught and learning about the truth that is in Jesus in verses 17-24. In verse 25 it says, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another.” Speaking the truth not only includes the facts about what is happening but also my heart’s response to what is happening, the emotions that are attached to the facts. Jessi and I have been through the same circumstances, but our responses are different. So what does it sound like to “Be Honest with Me in 2023?” Well, here are some great examples to follow:
– Psalm 13 (“How long, O LORD…”?)
– Psalm 31:9-24 (“Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress…my eye…my soul…my body…my life…my years…my strength…my bones…”)
– 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (despairing of life itself)
– 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (accepting weakness when dealing with a chronic ailment)
– Matthew 23 (Lamenting the state of Jerusalem and its unwillingness to turn to Him)
– Matthew 26:30-46 (Foretells of Peter’s denial and praying alone in the garden)
Which one do you resonate the most with? Here is your challenge, what area of your heart do you need to be honest with someone this week? Now, remember, Ephesians tells us to speak the truth in love. This is not a license to be brutal, cynical, or sinful. It is an invitation to be honest with your heart’s response to your circumstances and, thus, an invitation to grow to become more like Jesus! Take the passage that resonates with you the most and share why it resonates with a friend or family member. Don’t text about it, don’t put it on Facebook, don’t send it in an email. Talk to someone face-to-face about it. Let me know how it goes.