MARK 10:35–40 – And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
THEME OF THE DAY. WATCH OUT FOR SPIRITUAL IMPULSIVENESS. I am sure every Christian at some point in their walks with the Lord found themselves right where we see James and John in today’s scripture. I’ve been in that place more than once. I hope that place is in the past as I mature in the Lord. This place I label “spiritual impulsiveness” or we might say, “Making commitments to the Lord without weighing out the cost to pay in fulfilling them.”
Spiritual impulsiveness covers a wide range of possibilities. It might be a hasty decision to read our Bibles for a certain amount of time each day that fizzles in three days. Or maybe it is getting all excited through a sermon, song, or book and we quickly volunteer for some ministry only to find ourselves struggling to keep the commitment when the “tingle” or excitement wanes. Another area easily prone to spiritual impulsiveness is something as simple as saying, “I am going to be faithful to church each week and attend prayer meeting with my brothers and sisters.” But Sunday rolls around. It has been a long week and a busy Saturday. The flesh is screaming, “You are tired. It is okay to miss a Sunday. You have a full week ahead. Rest, relax. The Lord understands.” By the way, it isn’t okay to take a Sunday off. The Lord’s Day is not an exhausting chore. It is a privilege and delight to satisfy. And if we self-justify missing one Sunday, we just opened the door to inconsistency and unfaithfulness. But back to James and John . . .
These two brothers reveal their immaturity by their spiritual impulsiveness. They ask Jesus for a “blank check” with Him but really, they want to be exalted to high places of prominence with Jesus in heaven. Regardless of the right or wrong of their desire, Jesus shows them the real issue about their request – the failure to understand His ways and His demands on His people who want to follow Him. He said, “You do not know what you are asking.” I am wondering what went through the minds of James and John. Maybe, “Of course, Lord. We know what we are asking.” And their response to Jesus affirms this mindset – “We are able.” And that, friends, reveals the spiritual danger and self-deception in making hasty, impulsive spiritual decisions. We really don’t know our hearts. We really don’t know the ways of the Lord when it comes to what He will put us through when we commit to Him. It will hurt. It will cost us our lives, but it will be full of joy and never regretted. But what is even more important is His attitude and expectations of His people who make commitments to Him. Let’s close this nugget with both revealed from King Solomon in his book of Ecclesiastes. Go slow through its reading and make it part of our decision-making process toward commitments to the Lord . . .
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore, let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words. When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow (Ecclesiastes 5:2-4).
PRAYER: “Father, protect me from mistaking emotionalism for spiritual discernment and damaging my testimony.”
QUOTE: “Make sure we weigh the cost of a commitment to the Lord before making it, if not, the regrets will be many.”