Verse of the Day

"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God."

~Acts 15:19

Today's Devotional Thought

July 19, 2013 by Rachel Piferi


Making it Look Difficult

Are you making the Christian life look desirable to those around you? Would someone want to be a Christian by watching you? Or are you making it look hard and undesirable?

I am currently studying the life of Paul. And last night, I was in Acts 15 were Paul and Peter and James, among others are debating the need for circumcision among the new Gentile believers. As you recall, Gentiles becoming God's people was a big deal. And, there was great conversation over what they were required to do to be considered believers with the Jewish Christians. And there was great debate over whether they needed to be circumcised like their Jewish brothers to be considered truly saved.

In Acts 15, James {the brother of Jesus and leader of the church in Jerusalem) delivers a strong speech to help settle this debate. And in this speech, he says the following:

It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. (v .19)

How about us?

Are we making it difficult for others who are turning to God? In our homes, in our communities, and in our churches are we making Christianity seem hard? Or are we sharing it with others in a way that seems simple and desirable?

Because bottom line, in my opinion, Christianity's beauty is the fact that the offer of salvation is pretty simple.

It's a gift.

From a God who loves us so much that he just wants us to accept it and get to know him.

In fact, the whole reason he offered us salvation is so that we could restore our broken relationship with him {a broken relationships that we created by disobeying him}. He wants us to know him and be with him again {in heaven} someday.

And we do that by simply receiving the gift of his Son's sacrifice.

Are we missing that simplicity in today's church? In our home? In our community?

I am so afraid that we spend a lot of time proclaiming rules and rituals to new believers or to our children and we lose the simplicity of salvation. And we are turning others away.

Now, please don't get me wrong, I am not saying that God does not have a standard of living that he wants us to abide by as his children. He most certainly does. But, I have found that I want to live according to his principles because of the relationship I have found in him. I want to live like Jesus, rather than am forced to live like him.

Because of the simple gift of grace and salvation.

Salvation requires nothing more than childlike faith. Let's not make it more complicated. Let's not set up our homes or our churches in a way that loses the beauty and desirability of salvation from a God who loves us. We should raise our children and welcome new people to the faith in a way that does not make it seem too difficult. Because it really is a simple gift.

Extend that simple gift.

And then teach new believers what living a life changed by that simple gift looks like. Like Paul and Barnabas and Silas among others did, disciple new believers. Teach them {as James discusses in his letter} how our lives become evidence that we truly believe. That a life that has been radically changed by Jesus' simple gift looks different. Teach them the purpose of the things we do in a way that makes it seem desirable. And as James said, don't make it seem difficult. Make it seem desirable.

I challenge you to examine your own behaviors and see how you may be making being a Christian seem undesirable to non-believers. Don't make the simple gift of salvation seem undesirable or difficult. Make it seem like something others want and welcome them to be a part of it.

Memorize this verse today:

"It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God."
~Acts 15:19

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