Glorifying God devotions by Pastor Chris
All of us have a weakness for keeping the letter of the law but flunking the spirit of the law.
The doctor may have ordered a glass of wine but our deceitful hearts succumb to the hughest and most gigantic decanter of it!
We are suckers for “looking the part” but not “living the part”. We “cross the Ts” and “dot the Is” of looking legal, moral or even spiritual but miss the point of what God demands of us.
Jesus diagnosed this crippling problem at length in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). He highlights six areas not simply for contemplation but for deep repentance. Each has this formula: “You have heard that it was said, but I tell” (Matthew 5:21-48).
It is a contrast between the acceptable norm of doing business with God and the radical new way of relating to God which Jesus is ushering in the kingdom of heaven. What’s the contrast?
The old way prescribed “do not murder”, Jesus says: “do not be angry”. The acceptable norm was: “do not commit adultery”, Jesus declares: “do not lust”. The teachers granted divorce on frivolous grounds, Jesus pronounces: “do not divorce”.
The former way said only some oaths needed to be kept, Jesus says: “mean what you say, say what you mean”. They said “an eye for an eye” when wronged and seeking retribution. Jesus prescribes: “turn the other cheek”. The Jews said “love your neighbours”, Jesus trumpets: “love your enemies”.
What out of this world teaching! Who can live this way? Jesus is not merely advocating keeping the spirit of the law as a corrective to keeping the letter of it.
He is “radicalising” God’s law by upping the ante of what God desires of his people in the light of his kingdom crashing into our world.
In short, if God suddenly turned at your home – what mess would you to have clean up? If God was to return to rule the world once and for all – which He has in Jesus – what junked up thoughts, words and actions would we have to junk?
It’s called living in the light of Jesus’ coming into my life.
I think, we will travel very quickly from going through the motions of superficially keeping the law to whole-heartedly pleasing God in our hearts.
The curse of our life is “keeping up appearances” while breaking God’s and our neighbour’s heart.
A soul-searching question: “So what appearances do you need unmask urgently?”
Some of us need to discard the “Mr or Ms Nice Mask”. We need to stop believing we are inherently nice, when we are deeply nasty without God.
We can be rather nasty when others get in the way of our self-pleasing (just try stopping a spouse or child from using their hand phone or their gaming), self-ambition (try deterring someone from a lifelong self-actualising goal) and self-righteousness (try winning an argument against someone who has learnt to defend their sinfulness).
Others need to throw off the “ministry mask”. Where each thing we do in the name of ministry, church or God misses the point.
We may be leaders who rejoice in being noticed and known rather than in serving people. We could be reading the Word of God but missing the God of that Word by our superiority. We could be planting churches by supplanting others’ good work. We could be doing the work of the Lord without loving the Lord of the work.
Please sort out with God which mask he wants you to unmask today. Or else, we will be superficially fulfilling what the doctor ordered but we will forever miss the point.
If we miss pleasing and glorifying God from the heart – instead of keeping up appearances – we have missed the point big time!
A Desperate Prayer: “Father God, please be merciful to me. Help me not to keep up appearances with my spouse, child, parent or friend. And totally miss the point of pleasing and glorifying you. Give me a new heart to do good, not merely learnt behaviours to look good. I know this is only possible through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Like and Share this.
(I will try this new style of including “A Soul Searching Question” and “A Necessary Prayer” in this Blog and FB post. The goal is to help people glorify God by trusting in Jesus wholly. Please tell your friends about this).
Jesus’ new way to God’s Law.