READ: Matthew 12:22-50
THINK: The Pharisees were so consumed with themselves--their traditions, positions, comforts and ways of life--that they completely missed Jesus' identity, even to the point of mistaking good for evil and evil for good. They could not comprehend the true nature and purpose of God's kingdom. Are you ever at risk of missing God's plans and purposes because you're caught up in your own image or concerns?
RESPOND: Throughout the Gospels (i.e., the accounts of the "good news" of Jesus Christ) Jesus refers to "the kingdom of God." What does He mean by that? (See 12:28 note and article on The Kingdom of God, page 1294.) What does Jesus mean that "blasphemy against the Spirit" is an unforgiveable sin? (See 12:31 note.) How should your thinking be affected by the fact that you are accountable to God for the words you speak (vv. 33-37)? What does it mean for a person to be possessed by a demon or "evil spirit" (See 12:43, note.) What are some of the things the Bible teaches about demon possession and influence in individual lives and society at large? Why is it important after Jesus has freed a person spiritually that he or she remains faithful to Jesus and continues to grow in a relationship with Him?
PRAY: Ask God to help you keep your focus on His kingdom--His power, purposes and way of life--rather than on your own concerns or things that would distract you from following His plans for your life. Ask God to help you guard your words so that they are not careless or hurtful toward Him or anyone else.
ACT: Go throughout the day making a conscious effort that everything you do honors and promotes God's kingdom and purposes. If you encounter situations that need a miracle or extraordinary solution, trust God to demonstrate His power in that situation. Also, make it a point to avoid careless words. Instead, try to say things that reflect your devotion to Christ and that benefit those around you.
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