Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: Lars Janssen
There are many complex circumstances in our world. Between such things as the war in Ukraine, Pride month, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Christians are often left wondering how to respond. The world we live in is undeniably complex and requires us to turn off the auto pilot. We must be thinking Christians.
Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Jesus’ analogy presents a complex scenario: How can a sheep speak peaceably with a wolf when wolves cannot be expected to be gentle with sheep?
Philippians 2:5 answers this question by telling believers to have the same sacrificial mindset that Jesus has. The Son of God humbled himself by becoming human and willingly allowed himself to be murdered at the hands of the “wolves”. How did Jesus’ perfect mind come to terms with that situation?
1. Jesus treasured God the Father more than his own life (see Matt. 10:28-31 and Phil. 2:8).
2. Jesus gladly paid the cost of obeying God the Father (see Matt. 10:34-39 and Phil. 2:8-9).
3. Jesus found joy in pleasing God the Father, even through suffering, and he was eager to share this opportunity with his followers (see Matt 10:40-42 and Phil. 2:9-11).
Notice that in the analogy Jesus used, we are sheep and not carnivores—not even small carnivores. Our teeth are blunt, our legs are slow, and our flesh is tasty. Think with me, my tasty and defenseless friends. We are not called to be war-like creatures because our struggle is not to fight people but to treasure God, to obey him at any cost, and to pursue God’s glory as our enemies seem to overtake and devour us.
This may seem discouraging, but we find hope in the fact that we are sheep, just like Jesus! Revelation 5:12 tells us that Jesus is the worthy Lamb that was slain and Revelation 5:5 called this same Lamb the Lion of Judah! With Jesus as our Lamb and our Lion, self-defense is not essential—he will bring justice in his time. So, by the Spirit’s grace, we are free to be lamb-like just as Jesus was.
Jesus opposed oppressive governments with submissive love, not anger (see Matt. 21:22). Jesus approached perverted movements with friendship and care, not condemnation (see Matt. 9:10-13). Jesus confronted decayed values with tears and a broken loving heart, not demonizing rhetoric (see Matt. 23:37-39 and Lk. 19:41-44). Think with me, my believing friends. We do not bite or kick or rail against those who oppress, pervert, or cause decay. We wisely and innocently offer hope in Jesus to the “wolves” even as they devour us.
Here’s your challenge, Central:
If you’ve had the auto-pilot on, will you prayerfully endeavour to turn it off and be a thinking Christian starting this week? Pray that you might enter complex circumstances holding God’s worth high, willing to pay any price in your pursuit of a relationship with Jesus, and using everything within reach to point the “wolves” in your life to
Jesus—especially when it feels like their jaws are closing down on you. Then watch what the Lion of Judah will do through you.