Watch your tone!

John 15:20 – Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

John Stott said in “The Cross of Christ” that, “The concept of substitution lies at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.” From the beginning, when Adam and Eve were tempted to eat the fruit that would make them like God, humans have been trying to substitute themselves for the Creator.

The irony is that, when God comes to earth and offers us the chance to walk in his sandals and carry his cross, no one seems ready to step forward and volunteer. What we have learned from Jesus is living a life of faith is no picnic in the park. If wetruly strive to live as Christians first, we make our lives much more difficult than if we would simply forego belief and take life as it comes.

Jesus reminds his disciples of this hard truth: if you want to be like me, be prepared to be treated like me. If the mock me, they’ll mock you. If they spit on me, they’ll spit on you. If they kill me…well, let’s not go there, shall we? All of a sudden having a Messiah complex doesn’t seem like as much fun.

But with trials come triumphs; with struggles come sacred moments. Yes, as Christians we can expect our faith to invite persecution, or at least cause some awkward silences at dinner parties. But as Christians, we are also vested with an authority far greater than anything this world has to offer. We are called to speak the Good News as if Christ himself were saying the words. This is not imitation or mimicry; this is God’s words come from our mouths.

When you speak the name of Jesus, what tone of voice do you use? Is it timid, halting, almost apologetic? Or is it bold, confident, and spoken with a certain tenor that conveys authority and commands reverence? No servant is greater than his master, but with the power of the Holy Spirit poured out on us, we are called to speak on the Master’s behalf. When you speak of the Good News, say it like you believe it.

Empowering God, I don’t understand why You have granted me the authority to speak Your words. And yet, You have. Give me the courage to endure the hardships of my faith so that I may find the strength to speak Your name. May every word that comes out of my mouth give You glory and praise. Amen.


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