Caution: Mind at Work
Luann Prater

"'Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. 'Go now and leave your life of sin.'" John 8:11 (NIV)

"Hey! I want a do-over!" she screamed. The sun was clearly blinding her as she struck the volleyball with her fist to serve. She didn't see the serve fly straight into the hands of the opposing team. It was interesting to watch the reaction of her teammates. Some agreed to offer her grace, others muttered, "Tough stuff! Too bad!" Middle school volleyball resembles a story that Jesus lived.

In the middle of an ordinary teaching day Jesus shared a revealing truth about our Savior. The Pharisees interrupted His lesson by dragging in front of the crowd a woman who had been caught in adultery.

This woman had obvious, visible sin in her life. She was caught red-handed. It was easy for the lawgivers to snatch this life and display it before the crowd. They had their motives for bursting onto the scene, but Jesus flipped their intentions upside down. When these puffed up leaders asked Jesus if this woman should be stoned, "Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger" (vs. 6b, NIV).

Did you catch His reaction to the confrontation? Silence. His mind was at work, but His mouth was not. We learn from scripture that Jesus asked His Father in heaven about every decision before moving forward. Why would this situation be any different?

We've probably all heard that pausing to count to ten before getting angry can diffuse an argument, but I want to park here a minute to see what Jesus did.

Jesus' agenda had just been altered by a bunch of self-righteous leaders. He was preparing to teach truth, and now He had the opportunity to live it. Instead of a quick response He hit the pause button while the Pharisees continued the barrage. Jesus was in no rush to respond.

As He bent down, I imagine Him offering up prayers. He saw that broken woman, He heard that accusing crowd, and yet His focus was on truth. The verse tells us He didn't just stand up, He straightened up. Jesus knew about body language before it was hip to study it. The power of this visual communication meant that He was about to say something that would pierce their hearts.

Many scholars have guessed Jesus was writing on the ground all of the sins of each of the accusers there. His words, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her" (vs. 7, NIV), must have been the first glimpse of light this woman had seen in a long time. Finally, someone saw value in her beyond the bedroom.

Can you imagine the flood of emotions filling her at that moment? She witnessed hope in the middle of her circumstance. Jesus then straightened up to speak to her. He declared that He did not condemn her but she must leave her life of sin. She was given a do-over!

Have you ever wished for a do-over in life? I have. I've been that woman who had no hope. I'm a witness: Jesus is the master of second chances. Throughout the Bible He not only raised the physically dead, He resurrected the spiritually and emotionally dead as well.

Romans 3:10 tells us, "There is no one righteous, not even one" (NIV). Jesus wants you to see that you are not alone. If you look around and think that everyone else has it all together, this story is for you. No one is righteous, not even one! Everyone has their sins, some are just more visible than others. But Jesus knows your heart. He knows your struggles. He sees what plagues your life.

Where are you in this story? Are you the adulterous woman looking for hope? Are you the leader looking to condemn? Are you part of the crowd standing silently in the background? There was only One in this story without sin and He offered grace.

Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live the truth. Quietly seek the Father's guidance. Think before we speak. Then straighten up and live redeemed.

He has come to give you a second chance; a do-over. Will you listen to His voice?

Dear Jesus, I need a do-over in my life! My sin may be hidden from others, but it is so obvious to You. I'm listening to Your Voice. Will You cleanse me and teach me to straighten up and live redeemed? In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know this Redeemer?

Visit with Luann at Encouragement Café!

Confessions of an Adulterous Woman: Lies that Got Me There, Truths that Brought Me Back by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz

A Perfect Mess: Why You Don't Have to Worry About Being Good Enough for God by Lisa Harper

Application Steps:
Kneel down in prayer and ask God to forgive every sin in your life. As you stand, straighten up to experience the symbolism of the new redeemed life you are about to live!

What sin is hiding in my heart?

Do I offer grace to others?

Am I willing to listen to His Voice and live redeemed?

Power Verses:
John 1:16 "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." (NIV)

Psalm 71:23 "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you- I, whom you have redeemed." (NIV)

© 2010 by Luann Prater. All rights reserved.

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Blogger Arté Marté said...

Dear God,
You brought this devotion to me out of the blue. I knew I should go to my Bible, but I was dilly dallying around. You put this in front of me to show me You want me to put You first! Praise You and thank you, Elaine, for sending this link to me!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. However, it's so amazing that our heavenly Father mercies are new every morning. And throug the precious blood of Jesus Christ we are saved.

For years l kept lot of anger in my heart. I'm a hardhearted person, very critical at times (this was due to the pains & hardships l've encountered). I lived by expectation of other people. Until God rescued me from my bondages. When l am so unworthy and unlovely God loves me He send His son Jesus Christ to save me. The greatest achievement l had is knowing Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. So everytime l want to retaliate (because of mistreatment/misjudge) l jst focused on the love of Christ, knowing that He loves me is more than enough. Every one of us is a work in progress, God is at work to everyone of us. Let the love of Christ overflow in our hearts so that we can share that love to others (Agape kind of love).

Thank you Father God for using these wonderful women whom you are using to inspire us in our everyday life. Thank you for the words of wisdom we are receiving each day. May you keep and bless them always. In Jesus name l pray. AMEN!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday I wrote about the difficulty I was havng in my job with a fellow employee, I was touched by the message in the devotion. Todays devotion is similar, because Jesus was quiet before He spoke. He spent quiet time by bending down and writing in the dirt. So to me this is another example of how we should live our lives when circumstances want to swallow us up. Thanks again for reminding us how to live through these trials.

Anonymous Belle said...

I bless the Lord this morning for the way He teaches, we dont need to break our heads in fusteration we just have to make it a daily practice to enter into His teachings through His holy word and receive all with open heart.Thank you for this devotion its one more way of His assurance for us, His perfect grace. BLESSINGS!

Blogger linda said...

Luann could you or Lysa tweet this from your devo today.

Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to live the truth. Quietly seek the Father's guidance. Think before we speak. Then straighten up and live redeemed.

This so spoke to my heart. So spot on as we begin the week to come.

Thank You,

Anonymous Anonymous said...

God thank you for sending me this devotion today. Somehow, you knew I needed to hear it.

Blogger Familyof6inTX said...

Thank you for reminding me that God is the God of second chances. I have let too many people make me feel like my past has total control over my future. Thank you for reminding me that as long as I leave my sin I can start new in God.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I most certainly need a do over and hope. But I also realise I need to be willing to listen , to follow and obey. I've let God and others down badly and have let blessings slip away. But it is of such comfort to know we can start afresh every day. Thanks for the posting ( and to the earlier posting here re being hardhearted...I can be like this too but will keep on praying for the heart to soften...and thanks to you for the reminder that we are all a work in progress)x

Blogger Arté Marté said...

Praise the Lord that we are a work in progress!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - this is just what I needed to hear. Yesterday I came home from work and told my husband, "I wish I could redo this day." My main frustration from yesterday was the fact that I did not respond as well as I should to a critical remark from someone in the crowd during a presentation I was giving. His remark was out-of-line and (in my opinion) incorrect. I don't think I was blatantly disrespectful to him, but I could have responded better. Additionally, my pride was hurt and I was embarassed. Needless to say when I got in the car to drive home, I started crying.

I know that God uses trying times to make us stronger. I have learned a lot from this experience, and I hope to truly grow from it. Through my 'bad' day yesterday, I was also revealed some insecurities and pride issues that I know I need to ask God to help me with.

Thank you, Lord, for loving us enough to make us better, and for your grace and unending love. And thank you to Proverbs 31 ministries for relaying God's message of inspiration and hope!

Anonymous Jessica said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear! I'm thankful for do-overs, and second chances!! Thank you Lord for your grace and forgiveness! I love you so much.

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