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Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Twilight Time”
In this episode, the Cutie Mark Crusaders learned the benefits that come with being associated with ponies in power or with authority. Their popularity in school grew considerably when they started to name-drop that they had connections to Princess Twilight Sparkle. They started to outshine their peers and eventually earned favors and adoration simply due to their perceived position. While they obviously milked it for all it was worth and abused a friendship to get themselves personal acclaim, it does illustrate a point that’s true about society.
Way back in high school was the first time I heard the phrase: “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This was used to illustrate that even being well-learned and responsible in school wouldn’t necessarily translate to a job placement unless my name was also known to people who were already reputable in the field. Now, just as in this episode, in some cases this can be abused when individuals start playing politics or family favorites or using the whole principle of quid-pro-quo in order to get ahead. Yet it holds true as a general principle in anything.
If I want a good job in biology, then it would help to have done lab work or been a student under researchers or professors who are making cutting edge advancements in the field. If I want to work in an engineering field, it would help if I had gotten some experience working with individuals in that area who can vouch for me. If I end up in a legal dispute, it would help if I knew personally a lawyer or legal authority who was well-versed in that area of law. If I had a medical emergency, it would be nice if one of my friends or close acquaintances who might be nearby had some experience with medicine or health.
Even when applying for any form of work, we list references. What references do we put down? People of authority who can vouch for our character, conscientiousness, work ethic, and positive attributes. A person whose own authority and position is qualified to render a good judgment of us and ensure our status as a good individual.
And when it comes to references about life, there is no greater “reference” or “name drop” than Lord Jesus Christ.
We’re all sinners, without exception. And what is sin? An act of evil or wrongdoing. A time in which we knew what the right thing was to do and we purposely failed to do it. And everyone has done that at some point in their lives. Maybe it was an act of revenge. Maybe it was something to get us a bit ahead. Maybe it was for the thrill of a momentary act of spite. Whatever it is, everyone has done something they regret. There’s no one who has ever been good enough to not commit any sin, and odds are we’ve likely done it many times. Maybe here or there. Maybe habitual through abuse or bad lifestyle choices. In any event, sin is also a complete separation from God, the Creator of All. It’s a willful act of disobedience against him that constitutes a total break from him. The punishment for this break is eternal separation from God, which is eternal death and condemnation to Hell. And since all have sinned, all are doomed to receive this punishment. Since God must maintain justice, and the just penalty of sin is death, God cannot be just unless he enacts the penalty. Even if God wants to forgive, he must maintain perfect justice or God is no longer perfectly just and ceases to be God. Therefore, there is no avoiding or overlooking the punishment for sin that all are condemned to. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23); “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12); “For the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23a).
However, there is a way for God to both maintain perfect justice and “get around” inflicting the punishment: a sacrifice of equal value. If the punishment for sin is death, then if another individual who had not committed sin was to be put to death in the place of the individual who had done the wrongdoing, then the record would now be “clean”. Only such an individual would be the perfect candidate or sacrifice. No such individual exists among mankind since all have committed sin and all are liable to the same judgment, so God provided his own substitution in the form of his Son, Jesus. He came to Earth incarnate as being fully human, therefore beset by the same temptations, weaknesses, and trials as all of mankind…yet, unlike mankind, never succumbed and was wholly without sin. 2,000 years ago He was put to death on a cross in spite of being completely innocent and having lived a blameless life, and in doing so He became the sacrifice for all of the world’s sins past, present, and future. Therefore, anyone who believes in Him and accepts this sacrifice freely given on their behalf now has been absolved of their sin and will one day inherit eternal life with God in Heaven. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16); “He(Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2); “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (John 14:6); “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we now have the “ultimate reference” and can claim association with the greatest of “name-drops”. Not only in being delivered to eternal life and granted freedom from sin, but from everything that life throws our way. No matter the hardship, the history of abuse, the feelings of regret, the depression about past mistakes, the sense of worthlessness, or whatever comes up against us in life either internally or externally…no matter how much we are being told internally or externally that we are doomed to failure and misery…we can boldly say that as Jesus has conquered the world, so have I. Our destiny is bright and glorious, and nothing temporary in this world can destroy that or take it away from us. That’s not to say that just accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior will be a magic wand that takes away all our problems, but through Him and with Him (as well as a healthy church environment), we can conquer and overcome anything.
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39)
If you have never accepted this free gift before, I encourage you to do so by praying today’s suggested prayer or something similar:
“Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs that I have done. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me. I invite you, Jesus, to come into my heart and life as Lord and Savior. I commit and trust my life to you. Please give me the desire to be what you want me to be and to do what you want me to do. Thank you for dying for my sins, for your free pardon, for your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Amen.”