As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. (Luke 9:51-53)
Have you ever been ostracized by others because they didn’t like where you were going? Have you ever been ridiculed, shunned or simply ignored because people didn’t like the spiritual direction in which your life was going? If so, you’re in extremely good company.
The Samaritans in this village rejected Jesus for one main reason—religious pride. They were prejudiced against anyone who didn’t believe like them, and their elitist attitude caused them to miss out on a move of God in their lives and in their city. It’s amazing to consider what could have happened in their town had they allowed Jesus to enter. The blind would have received sight, the lame would have walked, various kinds of terrible diseases would have been cured and the Good News would have been preached to many needy souls. But it was not to happen because their religious pride kept Jesus away. They slammed the door in the face of God!
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” —Jesus (Revelations 3:17)
How about you? Is your heart open to Jesus doing a different work in your life, even though you may not like where He wants to take you? Do you have a Samaritan heart? Are you allowing a religious elitist attitude to rob you of experiencing all that God has for you? Are you full of religious pride? Do you think that you have it all together and those “other churches” have nothing to offer you? (After all, we do not need a thing. Besides, they don’t have the real truth like our church does.)
We must understand that none of us has the market cornered on truth, although most of us act like we do. Do we start thinking that our crowd has arrived at some exclusive religious plateau and no one outside our group of spiritual elitists can teach us anything? Thus, we’ve shut the door in God’s face. Our religious pride then declares, “I have arrived! There’s no need for me to go where you’re going. I’m already here! See-ya…wouldn’t want to be-ya!!!” SLAM!!!
Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline. (Jeremiah 17:23)
This describes me in years past. Most everyone else was wrong. I was right! My religious pride crippled me. I would only travel within the parameters of my particular denominational point of view. Oh, I had friends that were from other churches (the poor little deceived things), but I was constantly sparking off a debate with them. It wasn’t for the purpose of engaging in a polite exchange of ideas. Oh no! I had to change their minds (the poor little deceived things). I didn’t like where they were going. I had to point out how wrong they were and help them get on the right path. You know… my path.
It turns out that I was the poor deceived thing. I was the one who didn’t know how wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked I was. The denominational sign on my church had become a STOP sign. I didn’t travel beyond it and ridiculed anyone who dared to do so. Indeed, I was wretched beyond words and didn’t know it.
However, God eventually got my attention and broke through the religious veneer covering my heart. I repented of my religious pride and He forgave me. That started me on an incredible spiritual journey that has taken me to new heights I never dreamed of before. My heart is now open to whatever God wants to do in me.
How about you? Do you have a Samaritan heart? Have you been slamming the door in God’s face? If so, now is the time to repent and get yourself ready for Jesus is coming to your town today.