Day 144: May 24, 2013

Today's Reading(s)

Luke 11:14-36 Read Online

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Today's Reflection

Key Verse(s)

Anyone who is not with Me is against Me, and anyone who does not gather with me scatters.

—Luke 11:23

Only Two Options
by Cliff Duren, Music & Worship Associate Minister, Brentwood Campus

This passage is loaded with great teaching moments. It serves as a great warning against gossip and complaining among fellow believers.

Also, Christ lays out an incredible statement in verse 17 about the dangers of division among His among His followers. In the same verse, we learn that Jesus knows our thoughts—a convicting reminder to protect what we allow to enter our minds.

Perhaps the strongest statement comes in verse 24. Jesus metaphorically draws a line in the sand when He says, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”

Two options. Only two.

Being a musician, the first illustration that came to mind after reading this passage might seem a little odd to any non-musicians reading this devotion. But hang in there. I think it will be worth it.

Whenever I’m working with a choir or orchestra and they need to play or sing a long note for an extending period of time at the same volume, I always encourage them to gradually get louder the longer they hold the note.

Why? Because if you hold a long note at the same volume, it actually sounds like it’s getting softer from the perspective of the audience. Therefore, by staying the same, you’re actually fighting against the overall sound being produced by the choir or orchestra.

So it is with our relationship with Christ. To remain still or inactive in your spiritual life is the same as fighting against Christ and the kingdom of God. Christ immediately recognized what was happening and addressed two kinds of people: the ones who were talking and the ones who were listening to their complaints and gossip.

He addressed two groups, but placed them into only one category: enemy.

In the context of the Christian life, there’s no neutral, no middle ground. No one is sitting on the bench in this game. In fact, there’s not even a bench! Everyone plays. You just have to decide which team you’re on.

Many have taught this principle in the context of leadership and careers. If you’re not growing, learning more about your profession, or raising your skill level, you’re actually becoming weaker as an employee/leader.

You cannot simply maintain your current state and expect to be effective. Again, there are two options in the workplace: being effective or being ineffective.

Consider an IT specialist who refuses to learn about new software. Eventually, he will not be able to serve his clients. Instead, he will actually hurt their business by slowing down their productivity. This may seem absurd, but many attempt to live the Christian life in the same manner.

Today, may we all be found actively serving Christ, desiring to draw closer to Him, and longing to make an impact in His name and for His kingdom.

Reflection Questions

  1. In Acts 20:24, Paul refers to the Christian life as a race. Do you feel that same forward motion in your walk with God? Why or why not?
  2. Is there an area in your Christian life that feels complacent? If so, spend time asking God to change your heart and mind in this area. He can do it!
  3. What could you do today to serve Christ in a new way? Write it down and then take action! What an opportunity we’ve been given today to live for Him!

About the Author

Cliff Duren

Originally from Georgia, Cliff graduated from Shorter University with a music education degree and from Lee University with a masters degree in church music. Before he came to Brentwood Baptist in 2012, he served as the Staff Arranger at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Georgia for six years. During that time, he was nominated for five Dove Awards. In addition to leading worship to Brentwood Baptist on Sundays, he also arranges, orchestrates, and produces music resources for various publishers and produces multiple artist recordings. Cliff is married to April and they have three children: Mac, Sydney, and Emma Kate.