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April 27 | Luke 3:7-16


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Who's Your Daddy?

by Mary Alice McGinnis


Try to imagine yourself in today’s scene. John the Baptist had just begun his mission. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Messiah. Imagine you are part of this large crowd who was curious about what this “prophet” would have to say. Then, the first words out of his mouth are, "You all are a brood of vipers, born from a whole family line of venomous snakes!” How would you react?


Soon after God created all things, Adam and Eve turned their backs on God their Father, and followed the lies of Satan, who came in the form of a deceiving snake.


Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other of the wild animals the Lord God had made.”


Why does John start with such harsh words, saying that they all were snakes, coming from a long line of snakes, with the father of all snakes (Satan) being their bloodline? As a forerunner of Jesus, John needed to prick the hearts of his listeners so that they understood the gravity of their condition. We all, born of a sinful nature, are ALL in Satan’s grasp. Our natural bent is to be evil children of the devil. Not a very pretty picture.  


We can try to excuse ourselves, thinking that we are exempt from this dire condition. The Jews thought that since they were Abraham’s children; they were safe, and could never fall out of favor with God. Yet the truth is we all have fallen short of the glory of God.


John says, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”


What is repentance anyway? We often think of it as feelings of guilt, being sorry for what we have done. Have you ever said you were sorry, even asked for forgiveness, only to go back to doing the exact same thing again and again? The word repentance in the Bible is more than just feelings of guilt and sorrow. It is a turning or a change of the mind. Turning from what once held our affections and hating it. Then setting out on a different way of living. “It embraces both a recognition of sin and sorrow for it and a hearty amendment, the tokens and effects of which are good deeds.” (Josephus, Antiquities 13,11, 3)


But a snake cannot produce anything but other snakes, right? So our fate seems sealed and hopeless. The crowd, feeling the weight of this message, in desperation ask, “What should we do then?”


The reality is we cannot conjure up enough sorrow or repentance in our hearts to turn ourselves around. It is impossible.


Jesus tell us, "Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit." (John 3:5) We must be born again!

 

How is fruit produced? Does a tree decide, “Today I am going to produce an apple?” No! Only through being grounded in the promise of redemption, being bought back from the grips of Satan, being filled with the Spirit, dying to our old self, and being raised again to new life, are we born anew.


Romans 9:8 says, "It is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring."

How will the fruit of this turning around, this Spirit filled changing of our hearts, show itself in our lives? How will our living be different as "children of the promise"?


Often God calls us to walk in His ways, follow Him as a Father, in integrity, honesty and compassion in the ordinary things of life. In how we live our day-to-day lives, in our occupations, in the ways we share our money and possessions, being fair and kind in how we treat those around us, and being content with what God has given us.


In what practical ways is God calling you to display His heart changing work in your heart today?


PRAYER

Jesus, you have called me Your own. You have purchased me back from death, into true life. Help me live my life as a reflection of being Your child, in real tangible ways, even in the ordinary everyday pages of my life.  






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