“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore, I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:1-3 ESV)
Many years ago, I heard something that left me stunned. Someone was complaining about the Christian training materials my work produced; they said (more or less), “I’m not happy with this ‘Jesus is Lord’ stuff you keep pushing on us; I prefer to think of God as a colleague.”
It took us a long time to pick ourselves off the floor. God a colleague? An equal, a person whom we can feel free to criticize or ignore if we don’t like what He says? No. No, no, no. That is a total misunderstanding of who God is and how we relate to Him. He is God, and we are not. He is wise, and we listen to Him and obey Him. He is loving, and we trust in Him and find our hope in Him.
Nothing about God gives us the right to pass judgment on Him. Anybody who does pass judgment shows that there is something seriously wrong with their understanding of how things work. That is a person we cannot trust, because if they don’t have this one basic thing right, the Holy Spirit is not speaking through them. Who knows what else they’ve got wrong?
Attitudes matter. It’s not just whether a person (or organization!) can spit out the simple phrase “Jesus is Lord” or “Jesus is accursed” that is the true test. I suspect that some liars could control their mouths long enough to get three words out. But what about their attitudes, their actions, their treatment of Jesus’ people—the ones He called “the least of these My brothers”? (See Matthew 25:40.) In all their attitudes and actions, the people around you are saying something. And that something may be “Jesus be accursed!” as they use their power to run right over the top of a weaker co-worker or family member; or it may be “Jesus is Lord!” as they use their power to help and care for the people Jesus claims as His own.
God has called us to pay attention—to discern the spirit that is speaking through people, to notice the difference between those who love and obey Jesus and those who curse Him—whether by mouth, attitude, or action. How can we not notice the way they treat the Savior we love? He suffered, died, and rose for us—and for all the world. And He has given us the Holy Spirit’s help to be able to tell the difference between those who really love and serve Him, and those who simply say the right things in public.
Prayer: Dear Lord, make my words and actions show my love for You, so that many others will come to trust in You also. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
1. Have you ever been shocked to find out that someone you thought was a Christian was actually speaking or acting in a way that dishonored Christ—not just once, but on a regular basis?
2. How did that make you feel about him or her? About Christ?
3. How can Christians be wiser about the people we partner with, so that the message others get is “Jesus is Lord” and nothing bad?