I know these last few posts have been hard. I want to write about the things that challenge me because I think that they probably challenge you too. All of us would rather hear the good, the easy and the encouraging words, but if that’s all we heard, we would be missing half the story. Life gives us the good, the bad and the ugly.
Scripture is the same, because it deals with the lives of mankind from the view of a God who loves us and wants the best for us. He must point out who we truly are so that we realize our need for Him.
I found myself reading in Matthew again today.
Chapter 15 begins with a challenge from the Scribes and the Pharisees. They question the fact that the disciples do not practise the rules handed down from their ancestors. Jesus makes it very clear that their rules are mere pious traditions which are often in direct conflict with the Word of God. He reminds them of the words of Isaiah;
“These people draw near Me with their mouths, and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far away from Me.” 15:8
I would prefer to think that God is thinking of the unsaved here...but that thought is quickly squashed in the next verse.
“Uselessly do they worship Me.” Uh oh!
There are so many things that cloud my thoughts and affect my priorities and take me on a detour. It’s so easy to be led off track--even by those who are religious guides (pastors) and teachers. Jesus makes a statement that has become a familiar phrase even today. “And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a ditch.” We are responsible to know what the truth is ourselves.
Then Jesus gathers them together—such comforting words!
He tells them:
“It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles him.”
“But whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this is what makes a man unclean and defiles him. For out of the heart come evil thoughts such as murder, adultery, sexual vice, theft, false witnessing, slander, and irreverent speech.”
Did you notice those last few? False witnessing ? That can be as minor as leaving out or changing a small detail!
Slander? That would be insults, libel, smearing, defaming, complimenting...complimenting! Think about that one!
What about irreverent speech? That could be considered cheeky, mocking, impertinent, rude, impudent, flippant, bold and disrespectful according to my Thesaurus. Ouch! I think we’ve all been guilty of that!
The problem is that it reveals our heart conditions, and thus who we are! Our hearts come out through our mouths, and the words we speak reveal who we truly are. Once again, God is not mocked. He knows us, but do we know ourselves?
Are our lives a reflection of the latest tradition to come down the pike (no smoking, no dancing, no dating—not that those things are good or bad, just that they do not affect our salvation), or is the Word of God, with the important truths it points out, a lamp to our feet and a light to our paths?
But hey, don’t believe everything I say! Go check it out for yourselves!
I do appreciate your visits, especially through these difficult posts! Blessings!!