READ: Mark 3:13-35
THINK: There is a difference between religion and following Jesus. Religion has to do with rules and routines aimed at reaching God. But following Jesus is not about religion; it's about a relationship in which God made His way to people and opened the way for us to come freely to Him. Rules and routines have their place, but they do not help us earn God's favor. As a follower of Jesus, your primary concern should be to fulfill His ultimate desire, which is for you to be with Him. Everything else you do for God must flow out of your relationship with Him.
RESPOND: What is an apostle? (See 3:14, first note.) What was Jesus' primary calling for His original twelve disciples, and for His followers today? (See 3:14, second note.) What other tasks and purposes did Jesus give them? What is one aspect of the authority Jesus gave His disciples and what did this involve? (See 3:15 note.) Why do you think that some of Jesus family members thought, "He is out of his mind" (v. 21)? What does Jesus mean by the statement, "If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand" (v. 25)? What is Jesus referring to when He talks about tying up a strong man and robbing his house? (See article on Power over Satan and Demons, p. 1347.) Whom does Jesus consider to be part of His family (v. 35)?
PRAY: Ask God to help you remain aware of your primary purpose and main motives for serving Him. Pray that you will never allow the things you do for God to get in the way or take priority over your time with God. Then ask Him to help you do what He wants you to do out of love and gratitude toward Him.
ACT: Consider all the things you will do this week that are associated with your faith and serving God. How much of this will be spent not just doing things for God or about God, but literally being with God and developing your personal relationship with Him. While time is not always the main issue, it can be one of the best indicators of your priorities. Take extra time today and this week to spend with Jesus.
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