God confronts (a 40-day devotional series)

(In 2017, I wrote this series for the 40 days prior to Easter to prepare our hearts and minds for the significance of Jesus’ resurrection.  I’m reposting the series now for the 40 days after Easter to encourage us to follow through, living in the risen Savior and King.)

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I love stained glass windows, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of Jesus flipping those tables in the temple.

Few of us like confrontation, and the few who do (or seem to) . . . well, let me bite my fingers before I type something judgmental and hypocritical.

Still, we cannot deny that the Lord confronted people and still does.  In fact, when Jesus describes “the second greatest commandment” in Matthew 22:36-40 and Mark 12:28-31, did you know that He was referencing Leviticus 19:17-18?

“Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.  Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

It’s a call to godly conflict toward repentance and relational restoration.  It’s a call to part of love – not the one extreme of internalizing anger until we’re bitter or the other extreme of seeking revenge, but talking to them face-to-face to work it out.  The Lord Himself gives us some very basic principles for how to do that in Matthew 18:15-20.  But instead offering the many beautiful truths, practices and nuances of that passage here, I will simply recommend “The Peacemaker: a Biblical guide to resolving personal conflict”, by Ken Sande.  It’s one of the most practical, Bible-centered, loving books I’ve ever read.

If you know my wife and me, you may have heard us say that we do not fight.  But we do sometimes have “intense fellowship”.  We invite you to be a fly on the wall in this 7-minute video as we talk about the goodness of loving confrontation or ” intense fellowship “.

Confrontation is part of love.  In fact, we can see the plain-speaking of Christ in the second day of creation.  “How?”, you ask?  Notice that the second day is the only day in which God did not pronounce it “good”.  That’s because the physical separation of the heavens from the earth is a symbolic picture of what He knew was coming:  the spiritual separation of Heaven and earth due to sin.

If you refer back to yesterday’s devotional, “God graces”, you’ll see that the first day of creation was God coming to an undeserving world:  formless, fruitless, and favorless – even the Spirit of God was hovering over the earth, not yet working in the earth.  Therefore, even though God comes by His grace, the second day reminds us that He cannot bless us if our lives remain mixed or covered with sin and fruitless.

If you have a best friend, I can almost guarantee you that they are someone you trust to tell you the hard things about yourself.  We need friends like that, and we need to be friends like that.

Jesus was like that, and He still is.

 

 

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10435502_855049431182935_4536762765713190951_nUnless otherwise indicated, Jeff Dillard is the author of all posts in this blog, the goal of which is your greater joy in Christ through leadership and counseling.  Jeff and his wife, Lauren, have been married since 1995.  By God’s grace, they have four wonderful children and two grandchildren.  Jeff was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in America and commissioned as an Army Chaplain in 1998.  He has Master’s degrees in Divinity, History, and Counseling.  Since 1998, he’s had the privilege of equipping and encouraging others’ faith and service to the Lord Jesus by leading congregations and counseling in multicultural settings across the United States.  Seven of those years have been in Germany, Korea, and Iraq.  For leisure, Jeff enjoys simple time with his family, exercise, playing guitar and trumpet, and trying foreign foods with friends.

Please note that the contents of tools4trenches do not necessarily reflect specific beliefs or practices of organizations in which Jeff works or worships.

You can also follow Jeff on Facebook or Twitter.

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