Tag Archives: Pharisees

Ensnared by God’s love

I wound up watching some episodes of a show yesterday that seemed relatively harmless.  The characters drew me in, the plot was intriguing, and the setting was lovely.  

As I lay down to try to sleep last night; however, I realized the show had affected me more than I’d realized.  The scenes replaying in my mind revealed how quickly I had been drawn in and accepted things that go against my very beliefs and values.  

Here was my next thought:  If sin so easily ensnares and holds up captive, why aren’t we making the love of God so captivating that it ensnares everyone around us in the same way?  

Hear me out.  John 3:16 says that, “God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”  

God’s love is captivating!  He says His yoke [the tie we have with Him] is easy, and His burden upon us is light.  They are not things to weigh us down or make us feel overwhelmed and unable to measure up.  

As I prayed about and contemplated this last night, I thought about the Pharisee’s & the Sadducees of Jesus’ day.  They made so many rules and burdens for the people that the people could hardly get to God.  As the church grew after Jesus was resurrected, there were times when rules and burdens placed on the people were beyond what Jesus instructed.  What about now?

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much we are loved, and that what we have been offered is a relationship. We can understand that once we fall in love with Him, He changes us when & if necessary.  We don’t change out of obligation to rules or burdens.  We change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

If we read the Word of God for ourselves, pray, and seek God, we find out just how much He loves others, and we understand that once we can point them to Him and His love, offering them a relationship with the One who loves them as much as He loves us.  How marvelous!  His love will change their lives and their futures for all eternity.  

And He is the One who asks them to make any earthly changes, if necessary.  They don’t change out of obligation to rules, burdens, or traditions; and they don’t change to suit us.  They change because of a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  He is faithful, and He can be trusted.  

Yes, there will be a judgment one day, and until that day, remember, God is love!  

John 3:17 reminds us, “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them!”

Let’s go forth today, and make God’s love so captivating that it ensnares those around us!  And maybe binge the Word.  😉

jamie

Have you been listening?

Pr. 10:8:  “The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall.”

 

This verse reminds me of the scribes and Pharisees about which Jesus spoke in Matthew 23.  They would tell the people all that they should do, lay heavy burdens of duty upon the people’s shoulders, and loved to be the center of attention.  These men would be seen in the synagogues, at the best feasts, and making long eloquent prayers in order to draw all attention upon themselves.

With their many words, they exalted themselves.  Jesus said, “but all their works they do to be seen by men.”  Jesus called them hypocrites, fools, and blind, saying they were clean on the outside but full of uncleanness on the inside.  “Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”  Mt.23:28

Over and over, Jesus reminded those who listened and received His commands that He came to serve and they we are called to do the same.  “He who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Mt.23:12.  Those who are truly wise in heart are those who listen to the words of God and hide them in their hearts.  The wisdom they receive from the Lord is then put into practice.  It is not something about which they simply chatter.

Learning from them, we must examine ourselves from time to time.  If we find ourselves talking more than those around us, there is a strong likelihood that we’re no longer receiving commands, but possibly trying to give them.  Constantly stating our own opinion is a warning sign, as well.  Unless speaking is our full-time job, having wisdom within is not something we must prove with words.  Putting our beliefs into action usually what speaks the loudest.

To be truly wise servants, we must ensure that we are clean on the inside.  As we’ve heard, the outward appearance means nothing to God.  The blood of Jesus washes and cleanses us from the inside out, and the Word pierces to the division of soul and spirit, and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart.  If there is anything in our hearts that needs to be cleansed, God is the answer.  He will cleanse us from our sins, create a clean heart within us, and draw us nearer to Him.

When we are truly clean, God can use us to minister to and encourage His people.  Listen closely and serve joyfully.  When our works of service are done for His glory, He uses us more and more.  This is the recipe that will keep us from falling.  We won’t have to exalt ourselves.  He promised to exalt us Himself one day.

Shhhhhh,

jamie