The Thief On the Cross [and the Comparison]

After all these years, thinking about Nursing School Semester 1 still makes chills go through my body. Kathy, our professor, was raised on a farm in Upstate New York. She was definitely one of the tough-as-nails, “The Few, The Proud,” without being a Marine. Kathy said many things that offended the entire class in her introduction, but “It doesn’t matter what you think” was her favorite. Eventually, we coined the phrase in our study groups, using it frequently for the naysayers who went against the rationale for the correct answer.

After two weeks into the program, we acquiesced to our professor’s expertise. Kathy was aware that our theoretical knowledge, critical thinking, and nursing judgment would provide us with the qualifications to assess and make decisions that our patient’s safety and well-being depended on. There are two concepts that Kathy taught, which have enabled me to make it through my Christian journey: 1. You will forever be on a learning curve. 2. It doesn’t matter what you think.

For six months now, I have had an online TikTok ministry. There are two areas of contention–Loving and Helping Others and Studying the Bible that have divided believers. The thought of a Christian never studying the Bible should cause shuddering chills throughout our bodies. Still, even more, frightening is the rationale many are using for not studying the scriptures: “The thief on the cross was saved and did not read the Bible.” I will not qualify that statement. But in the words of Jesus, Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. Matthew 22:29

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

The natural mind will never understand the supernatural power of God. You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet. Hebrews 2:7-9. The hierarchy of created beings is defined in the Word of God. We are lower than the obedient messenger and guardian angels, but the animals are under our feet.

Satan continues his most profound deceptions based on the acquisition of knowledge based on human rationales. “Did God really say…?” The demon of pride is innate. Without humility and intentional obedience, we become self-righteous and interpret the scriptures according to what we desire them to be. Why is it so easy to negate the Word of God? We are caught up in self-worship. We are the idols. Many thrive off of the prosperity messages that have replaced God’s truth.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24. It is impossible to serve God and indulge our carnal desires with tangible–material possessions, which prevents us from realizing that we are subordinates to the Almighty Creator God.

We do not realize the depth of our pride. Sadly, we have become a generation of believers who have a sense of entitlement. We are just as disobedient as the Israelites who lost their right to enter the Promised Land [only Joshua and Caleb from that generation were allowed to enter]. Have we not taken on God-like qualities by developing our lists of goals and accomplishments without asking God’s approval and blessing?

At least the thief on the cross realized his wretchedness. He confessed his sins, acknowledging that he deserved death. With a humble heart and contrite spirit, he took a giant leap of faith by proclaiming that Jesus is Lord and truly the Son of God. And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong. Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Luke 23:41-42

No, we cannot compare ourselves to the thief on the cross. We have been given the mercies of a new day. The opportunity to restart our relationship with Jesus simply happens from the confession and repentance of our sins. Until we bow in humility to God and take on the status of a disciple of Jesus Christ, we cannot embrace these concepts: 1. You will forever be on a learning curve. 2. It doesn’t matter what you think.

Repentance and God’s Forgiveness

And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. Deuteronomy 30:1-4

Prayer: God, we ask forgiveness for thinking and living as if we have created ourselves. Holy Spirit, we invite you to come and anoint us with understanding and wisdom of the scriptures. We pray for a spiritual transformation, one of servitude and the eagerness to study the Bible. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers Ministry

Author: steps2successwithspiritualsolutions

It takes courage, perseverance, faith, and trust to serve God in today's unstable world. Yet, we are never alone. Pray daily and pray often. Study the Bible. The Scriptures are a Love Letter from God to those who accept Jesus as their personal Savior. You will receive comfort, knowledge, and wisdom. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." Jeremiah 31:3. Be blessed in Jesus' name. Amen.

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