By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
If you are going to be “all in” as a follower of Christ, it means getting rid of your prejudices.
The Pharisees criticized Jesus for hanging out with tax gatherers. People hated the tax gatherers. They were sellouts to the Roman government. So how did Jesus respond to the Pharisees? Did He say, “I better clean up my reputation”? No, He just doubled down. In fact, Matthew 9:9 says Jesus saw a tax collector named Matthew and said to him, “Follow Me!” And Matthew got up and followed Jesus. Some of the disciples had a problem with that. They wondered, “Why would Jesus choose a tax gatherer to be one of us?” They had their own criteria of who could be a follower of Jesus. I think Jesus called Matthew to remind people that, like 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” If we are going to be “all in” in our commitment to Christ, we can’t limit other disciples by our own prejudices.
We do that today, don’t we? We decide who can and cannot be a disciple along with us. We tend to limit people’s service to God by their race, economic background, or even by their politics. Many conservative Christians think that you can’t be a political liberal and a follower of Jesus. Let me be clear: when I’m talking about politics, I’m not talking about issues like the sanctity of life, marriage, and religious liberty. Those aren’t political issues; those are biblical issues. I am talking about political issues: immigration policy, taxation policy, health care. A lot of Christians believe that unless you embrace every plank of the Republican Party, you can’t be a Christian.
Let me introduce you to Kirsten Powers. She is a liberal pundit on CNN. But did you know she is a pro-life evangelical Christian? In fact, she wrote about her conversion in “Christianity Today.” She said, “If there was one thing in which I was completely secure, it was that I would never adhere to any religion, especially to evangelical Christianity; which I held in particular contempt.” But through her conversation with and the prayers of a former boyfriend, her resolve began to crack. She wrote, “My whole world was imploding. How was I going to tell my family or friends about what had happened? Nobody would understand. I didn’t understand. It says a lot about the family in which I grew up that one of my most pressing concerns was that Christians would try to turn me into a Republican.” Then one day after attending a Bible study she accepted Christ as her Savior, and her life changed forever. She said, “The world looked entirely different, like a veil had been lifted off it. I had not one iota of doubt. I was filled with indescribable joy. The hound of Heaven had pursued me and caught me whether I liked it or not.” People don’t have to believe like you believe to be followers of Jesus Christ. If we are going to be all-in disciples for Christ, we have to get rid of our prejudices.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Jesus’s 4 Tips for Burning Your Ships” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
Kirsten Powers, “Fox News’ Highly Reluctant Jesus Follower,” Christianity Today, October 22, 2013.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.