Scriptures : Luke 9:51-56
” Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. ” And they went to another village. ”
On one occasion, the Lord Jesus and His disciples went and entered a village of the Samaritans on their way to Jerusalem. But the people of the village did not receive them because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. Two of His disciples, James and John saw this and felt offended. They reacted and asked the Lord if He wanted them to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them. But He turned and rebuked them. Instead of reacting like His disciples, the Lord Jesus responded that He did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. In this story, we see that when bad things happen to people, they can either react or respond. The Lord Jesus and His disciples were rejected. The disciples reacted, whereas the Lord responded.
What is really the difference between a reaction and a response? Both a reaction and a response are a course of action taken by us because something happens to us first, especially something bad or negative. Now, the difference is a reaction comes from an unprepared disposition, thus it is always uncontrolled; whereas a response comes from a prepared disposition, thus it is always controlled. Like when we are given a certain medication, it is expected that our body will give a certain response, not a certain reaction because that would be negative. When the body reacts, we know that it is not prepared for that particular medication.
The disciples felt offended by the rejection from the people in the Samaritan village because they were not prepared for that. They could not believe there were people who would reject their Lord. They reacted angrily because they did not understand the purpose of His coming into this world. The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, knew that people would reject him. But, since He understood the purpose of His coming into the world, He responded calmly.
We have seen that whether we are going to react or respond when we experience a negative situation depends on whether we have an unprepared or prepared disposition. Now, our disposition is the product of our mindset. If we have the right mindset for any given situation, we will never react. Instead, we will always respond. The right mindset is the mindset which comes from the Word of God because it is the mindset of God. This mindset will allow us to respond to a situation the way God wants us to respond.
The word of God gives us the right mindset for any situation that we face or experience. For example, when we are going through a situation that we do not understand, if we have the mindset of Rom 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”, we can still be calm because we believe that all things work together for good to us who love God who are the called according to His purpose. Another example is when we have the mindset of Jms 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”, we will rejoice instead of despairing when we fall into various trials and temptations.
God will always prepare us before we are about to experience adverse circumstances or difficult situations. He will give us His mindset to help us to respond rightly when bad things happen to us. He will do it either through the Word of God we receive directly from God ourselves or indirectly through others. The Holy Spirit always prepared the apostle Paul by testifying in every city that chains and tribulation awaited him (Acts 20:23). On one occasion, God used a certain prophet named Agabus to reveal to Paul as he was on his way to Jerusalem that the Jews there would bind him and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles (Acts 21:11). When the people who were with Paul heard these things, they reacted and pleaded with him not to go to Jerusalem (Acts 21:12). However, Paul had his mindset already prepared. For him, to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phi 1:21). Thus, he responded that he was ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 21:13).
God wants us to learn to respond and not to react when bad things happen to us. Now, what must we do if in any situation of our life, we have already reacted instead of responding? The answer is we must reset our mindset according to the Word of God. Reset here means repentance (from reacting) followed by the renewal of the mind (to have a new mindset so that we can respond correctly). As we stop reacting and begin to respond to the situation correctly, the Lord will make all things work together for our good (Rom 8:28).
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- Faith In God And God's Compassion
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- Meditation On Two Realms Of The Spirit
- Your Joy Comes From The Lord!
- Praying the Lord's Prayer
- United With God Manifestly In Love
- Restoring The Spirit, The Soul And The Body