My husband knew I was waiting for a message, the title of which would have something to do with the letter "X". The messages for "Y" and "Z" had come easily some time previously, but I was stuck on "X". Clearly he was getting tired of waiting. Each time he'd ask me how my writing was coming, I'd answer, "I'm waiting for 'X'." As we lay in bed discussing the situation one night recently, he said, "I've got the answer. Just write, 'This letter is an eXception' on the post for 'X' and move on!" We both laughed and went on to sleep.
Two mornings later I realized that my husband was absolutely right… that the letter "X" was to represent the eXceptions to the rule we are to be in the world around us due to our relationship with Christ.
A visit to the Word proved His point. I first visited the book of John to see the first of God’s "eXceptions": "Jesus answered and said unto him, verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3, emphasis mine).
Not everybody can enter the kingdom of God. Only the exceptions. Only those who are born again - who have asked and received forgiveness for their sins and are now leading a life of service to Him will ever walk beyond the Pearly Gates.
And how does one get to be "born again"? Again, you have to be an exception. Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…" (John 6:44, emphasis mine). Only when the Holy Spirit is doing His work in our spirits, drawing us to a relationship with the Father, are we receptive to the call of God. At any other time the Words of Life fall on deaf ears and hardened hearts. ("But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" 1 Corinthians 2:14). It's only when the Holy Spirit has prepared the way by softening hearts of stone and opening closed minds that a person can come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The exceptions don't stop there. We can't enter the kingdom of heaven except we become as little children (Matthew 18:3). We can't bear the fruit that God expects from us except we die to our own desires like a corn of wheat dies when it falls to the ground (John 12:24). As a branch springing forth from Jesus, the Vine, we can't bear fruit except we abide in Him (John 15:4).
Others are looking for what we have found in Christ, but they'll only receive help in finding it from the exceptions among us. "And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me?" (Acts 8:31, emphasis mine). "And how shall they preach, except they be sent?…" (Romans 10:15 emphasis mine). It's even the "exceptions" that edify the body of believers with the gifts of the Spirit: "Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine? (1 Corinthians 14:6, emphasis mine), or "…except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying." (1 Corinthians 14:5, emphasis mine)
Sometimes being an exception is not a good thing. Jesus clearly rebuked Thomas for his lack of faith when Thomas told the other disciples, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe." (John 20:25, emphasis mine). And earlier Jesus had expressed disappointment in the Galileans he was visiting when He said, "…Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe" (John 4:48, emphasis mine).
Jesus Christ was the ultimate exception to the rule in the world in which He lived. And it's only by imitating His example in thought, word and deed that God's will is done in our world and we are able to lead exceptional lives in Him.
"He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done"
(Matthew 26:42, emphasis mine).
(Matthew 26:42, emphasis mine).