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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Hard Messages

"God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love - like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do." - Ephesians 4:15 MSG

Some time ago, I heard from a young woman who basically told me, "I really enjoy the encouraging messages that you write, but I wish you would stop writing the ones that challenge us so much." Was she serious? Did she really only want to hear warm and fuzzy spiritual messages - messages that didn't convict her, or incite her to grow up in the Lord? Unfortunately, there are a lot of Christians who feel the same way as this young woman does. And it's crippling the Body of Christ, and preventing them from making the kind of impact on the world that God intended.

The apostle Paul had some startling words for immature followers of Christ who only wanted to hear "fluffy" messages. He wrote: "Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly - mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready." (1 Corinthians 3:1-2 NIV) Paul had to refrain from giving these believers good, solid teaching, because they simply couldn't handle it. Like little children, if someone confronted them about their conversation or conduct, they would likely respond with - "How could you say that to me? You hurt my feelings. I'm not going to listen to you anymore!" These unfortunate people would then live the rest of their lives at the same level of spiritual maturity that they started at. And they would never be able to fulfill their God-given purpose or potential, because the Lord simply couldn't depend on them, or ask them to do anything they didn't really want to do.

Paul wrote: "For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to right teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever they want to hear. They will reject the truth and follow strange myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NLT) If we want to fulfill the call of God on our lives, then we need to listen to teachers who are not afraid to deliver convicting and challenging messages. I began doing this years ago, and though I often find it difficult to have to subject myself to regular "spiritual spankings," I know that the Lord would not be using me as He is today if I had shied away from this kind of teaching. God is calling His people to receive tough messages, so that His will and purpose may be established on this earth. Are you prepared to answer His call?

Prayer: Lord, please don't let me live my entire life as a spiritual baby. Fill me with the desire and determination to grow up in Christ, and to become all that You created me to be. Lead me to teachers and preachers who will give me the direction and correction that are Your will for me, and make me receptive to what they have to say. Thank You that as I fully cooperate with You for my growth and maturity in Christ, You will make me a world-changer for Your glory!

- J. M. Farro


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