I have mentioned in the past, this Lent Devotional for Women post came about as a reflection on an inspiration I had while reading the Passion. It’s based on two separate Scriptures that say the same thing. I love that about the scriptures, no matter how many times I read them, I can always find something new or God reveals something new to me.
The only difference between the two passages is in one, we know who is speaking and in the other, we don’t. Here are the two Scriptures,
“The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.'” Luke 4:3
“…and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Matthew 27:40
Ready to dig into this for our Lenten devotional?
Both of the above Scriptures contain the phrase, “If you are the Son of God…” and although we don’t usually hear that phrase in our everyday life, we do hear something similar. “If you are…” or the closely related, “If you were…”
Someone–anyone–everyone, will always have an opinion about us based on that phrase, “If you are/were…”
If you are a Christian
If you are a good wife
If you are a good mother
If you are a good friend
If you were a hard worker
If you were smart
If you were healthy
If you were trying
The list is infinite right? The list is a bunch of baloney! Well Jenny, why would you say that? Because people use it in an effort to control and manipulate us. If the Son of God wasn’t immune from being taunted, then neither are we. Even those closest to Jesus were confused by His “lack of…” If He was the King of the Jews, why were they traveling around poor, dusty, and despised?
See, the devil and then the people had it in their minds what the Son of God was supposed to look like or the things He was supposed to do. Kind of like how people have it in their minds what a good wife, mother, Christian, etc. should look like and do.
The problem is, they have no idea what they are talking about! The problem is, we let their ignorant expectations control us!
Let’s take the example of how to respond from Jesus. He fought the “If you…” lies with the truth of Scripture. He didn’t argue, try to prove a point, etc. He simply responded with the truth. (* See here for a few Daily Affirmations)
Very few people, if any, who say to us, “If you are…If you were” know the deepest reasons for how and why we made whatever decision or life choice they are scrutinizing. Good grief! We may still be trying to figure out why we did or said what we did or said!
Hold on for a second, I need to clarify something. The decisions I’m talking about are day to day life here. I am not defending blatant, out-right, wave it your face, rebellious sin. You can’t justify sin with Scripture. Ever. You can’t call yourself a Christian and live an immoral life in defiance of the commands of God and not expect someone to call you out. They may just be the voice of God.
Now, back to our thought. People looking down their noses at our non-sinful decisions, well, they don’t deserve an explanation or the time it takes to explain. Here’s why, they aren’t looking for an explanation.
They could honestly care less and no matter how great of explanation and how reasonable and how truthful, they will still find fault with it.
Another one of my favorite stories in the Bible comes from Matthew 21:23-27,
“Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
I remember the first time I read this I had this huge realization! I don’t have to answer people who don’t even know what they are talking about! Talk about a “What would Jesus do” moment. I cannot tell you how freeing that realization was then and still is to this day.
The point of this being, if someone starts in with, “If you are…” or “If you were…” charitably remember, if they were…they wouldn’t be having this conversation with you.
More Lent Devotional for Women posts.