While there is such a thing as righteous indignation, times when we ought to be angry, ungodly anger is sin and gives the Devil a foothold in our heart and life. Even like a beachhead must first be secured by an army invading by sea, before a land can be conquered, even so the Devil must have some space from which to conduct his assaults. When we deny him that “place” or “foothold, ” he cannot overcome us.
O Lord of our hearts, let not anger lead us to sin. Let it not create a foothold for the Devil in us. Let us not go to sleep at night without such anger being already quenched and dealt with. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness that rule this fallen world; let not our anger be focused on men but against our true enemies: the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
For all those who might think that Jesus only listens to Christians, this should give them pause. Of course the people listening to this exchange were Jews, who thought that the Messiah was only for them. They and we are both wrong. This passage is only one example in Scripture where the healing power of Jesus acts in the life of a non-Jew. If we have any questions about it, these should answer them.
Jesus came for all. He answers the prayers of all. No one has an advantage, we are all God’s children, we are all brothers and sisters of Jesus. One difference might be that we know God better and know what is expected of us more clearly than others who do not believe. For that reason, more might be expected of us in return. For those of us who claim a special relationship with Christ, it is not an option whether or not we follow the rules and examples that have been given to us.
We understand the importance of love and forgiveness, mercy and working for justice. The first letter of John tells us that God is love and anyone who loves is of God. Love is the key word. The woman who came to Jesus for healing for her daughter knew love and she trusted in the mercy of Jesus. And he didn’t disappoint. When we reach out in prayer, he won’t disappoint us either.
Only by obeying the Gospel from the heart can we be saved. Merely repeating a prayer or walking down an aisle at a religious event can never save us. The cry still goes out today, “Repent and believe!” And His sheep hear His voice and follow Him, and He gives to then eternal life, and they shall never perish.
Our hearts, O Lord, were enslaved to sin, unable to respond in love to you, but now you have made us alive to righteousness. Help us to continue to obey you from the heart and grow by the sanctifying power of your Word. Help us to strive after godliness for the purpose of honoring you in all things.
Given how generous God is with His love and gifts to us, one would think that He might be a bit vengeful and spiteful when people reject His word. In fact, the exact opposite is the case. God shows extra patience and of course he does not want anyone to perish. If He did, why would he have ever sent Jesus to earth?
Forgive me almighty God for going back on my promises. I have lied and deceived people for selfish reasons, thinking that my needs are more important than theirs. I am therefore, so ashamed and also so grateful that you do not behave as I do. No, you are always there for me as long as I ask it. I ask you today, Lord, to always be there for me as you always have been, and remind me that you always are. In your name I pray. Amen.
People are willing to endure great pain if the outcome is desirable. Take tattoos, piercings, plastic surgery, for example. All of these body modifications are painful. Yet people are willing to endure the pain because the outcome is desirable to them. Sometimes they will endure the pain again and again. We’ve all seen people walking around will full body tattoos or multiple piercings. Childbirth is another area where the outcome far outweighs the pain. That’s why some women have two or more children. If the end result wasn’t worth it, no one would endure that pain more than once. This scripture says that we will have suffering–as long as we are on the earth, suffering is a guarantee–but that the suffering we endure is nothing compared to the glory that awaits us. Ask any new mom. “Was the suffering worth it?” “Absolutely.” When God’s glory is finally revealed to us, we will feel the same way.
Father, You have promised that my suffering on the earth is temporary. Even so, when I am in the midst of it, it feels eternal. When I am caught up in my present circumstances, remind me that it will soon pass and every minute of suffering I endure here will be nothing compared to the Glory that You will one day show me. Amen.