God’s law loves you too

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 27–28:19; Psalm 119:1–24; Isaiah 54; Matthew 2

June 22nd, 2016

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. – Psalm 119: 1-11

To me the law is a beautiful thing. It is full of judgement, mercy and faith (Matthew 23:23-24). The law is love written on our hearts (Romans 13:10, Hebrews 8:10). In my estimation, so that we are hardwired with the ability to love others with the love of Jesus Christ. Like an operating system for our soul, when we divert from the law and choose not to love another, the system gets confused and pushes back; “processing, processing, processing…” God reboot my soul, reset my system anew with love. My soul longs for it. God’s law leads me, directs me, governs me and to the extent that I accept this truth, seek after it and hold to it moment-by-moment, my soul is at rest in the peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Still from time to time I encounter a sort of push back amongst Christians when the phase God’s law is used. For some the word law carries with it evil connotations of the very worst sort. To the extent the word ‘law’ or phrase ‘God’s law’ is perceived as an enemy of love. A fear arises in some that God’s law will push non-believers away. The phase “old testament god” is used, as if there were such a thing. God is God and has always been, no shadow of turning (James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8). Oh how this angers me. I hate this perversion of my Masters holiness. My anger of course is with the evil that has managed to redefine the meaning of the word law through hypocrisy.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. – Matthew 23:23–24

James Tissot, Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees.
James Tissot, Woe unto You, Scribes and Pharisees.

In my estimation, Jesus here criticizes the religious leaders for their blinding attention to detail that caused them to lead others astray from the truth of the law. My prayer is that the Pharisees and hypocrites perversions of the law will be untwisted and made straight. That we may dismiss the worldly definition of God’s law, wave God’s banner and return to the truth proclaiming a biblical definition of His law. That we would all fall in love with God’s beautiful law. That we would never be deceived into a judgemental nor self righteous nature. That we would not be fear-driven conditional lovers and so pervert God’s law. That any inner Pharisees within us would be vanquished by God’s truth (Psalm 139:23).

Judgement is not about one person assessing another’s keeping of the law but rather the law helping one keep their own affairs in order (Isaiah 1:17, Jeremiah 22:3; Zechariah 7:9–10; Micah 6:8; Habakkuk 2:4). Praise God for writing His law on our hearts that we may live abundantly (Jeremiah 31:31-34)!

Keeping the law is beautiful

Straining out the gnat is not evil in any way. Jesus makes it clear that we should do it. His criticism is that the Pharisees had done it to the dismissal of things that were more important.  Loving the LORD thy God with all one’s heart and soul and mind and desiring to do His will in all things; Beautiful. Thinking one’s self capable of judging another’s love for God. Ugly; Deep concern for one’s own stewardship; Wise. Being overly concerned for someone else’s; Foolish. Judgement is a gift from God to help us with our stewardship. Let us not pervert this gift by trying to unwrap it for another. Instead let us rejoice in it. Praising God for His gift to us in humility as we are judged in grace and mercy to the glory of God. As we are made whole and mature in Christ.

Let us also consider the inverse. If we pass by and see another straining out a gnat and think, “that hypocrite” are we not in judgement of another? Is it not a matter of their heart whether they should strain the gnat in secret or let the light shine? Are we capable of knowing their heart? By straining a gnat have they said everyone else must also do the same, that it is right for all, certainly this would be judgement on their part, but have they done this by simply straining out the gnat? If so how is one to obey Jesus command to let their light shine? (Matthew 5:16)

Shine Your light oh LORD and vanquish darkness. Here is truth about the law:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. – John 13:34–35

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:10

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. – Matthew 22:36–40

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. – Matthew 7:12

 

Extra Credit:

  1. Check out the eight woes of the Pharisees, this post mostly drew on the fifth.
  2. Golden Rule thought experiment on the power of God’s law in love

Scripture: Matthew 7:12, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Ephesians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 13:5

God gives us a simple and basic, at the most fundamental level, instruction on how to keep the law well. Many call it the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12). I say it is most fundamental because it is by way of that which we are most intimate with than any other; ourselves. We know exactly how we should like to be treated and regarded and so forth. Even if not consciously, subconsciously we are hardwired to love ourselves well. Follow along for one simple illustration of this truth. We know that love thinketh no evil or, put another way, keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5).

What if we were to apply how we feel about ourselves in this matter on to others? In order to explore this question I encourage you to join me in a thought experiment on your being wrong. Popular exercise, I know.

  1. Name a time when you were wrong; no excuses, no circumstances at work that were out of your control, no anything but you and your wrongness hanging out being wrong.
  2. Let’s say you came up with something. Then let us go to how long it took to recall. Checking all those excuse boxes may have taken a bit of time. Well that one wasn’t really all my fault, etc. So how long did it take you to recall?
  3. Now think back to the first time you had admitted you were wrong in this instance. Think on how quickly and completely you forgave yourself. Did it even take a second? Did it really even register?

Is not love a beautiful thing?!?! Praise God that His law is written on our hearts! (Jeremiah 31:31-34) His forgiveness, His grace and His mercy are written on our hearts!!! The questions then become, does it take you as long to come up with something someone close to you has done wrong? Has it taken you more than a second to dismiss it from your mind?

The point here is that our love of ourselves is much nearer perfection in fulfilling the law than our love for our fellows. God has written it on our hearts to help us, to enable us for the good work He has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). How can we not fall in love with His law? Is it not beautiful? Does it not equip us to save souls and rescue others from bondage as it all the time

How to prepare for battle

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 20; Psalm 107; Isaiah 47; Revelation 17

June 15th, 2016

Deuteronomy 20 contains laws pertaining to warfare. Today we will dive into those focused on the army (verses 1-9) but instead of closing with a question, here is one for your consideration as you read; if you knew a battle was coming soon that you were going to fight in, what would you do today?  

When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. – Deuteronomy 20:1–4

Like everything else, the Israelite conception of war centered on trust in God. This meant they did things different than most nations. For example, God’s law discouraged them from keeping a standing army. Back in Deuteronomy 17:14-20 we see the restrictions placed on the king. You might think things pertaining to the king would list off rights and privileges, instead we find a list of restrictions and obligations. The restrictions and obligations all pointed to trust in God. The law restricted the king from amassing power; no amassing horses for a cavalry, nor wives, nor wealth for paying an army. He and the people were not to build up trust in things of this world. The obligations pointed to where the king’s power actually comes from and where he and his people should place their trust. The king’s obligation upon taking the throne was to write a copy of the law, to keep it by him and read it every day he lives that he may learn to fear the LORD his God; to keep the law and do it that his heart not be lifted up among his brethren nor turn from the commandments. With this in mind the verses above were to a civilian population formed in to a militia only when needed. The law regarding the army continues.

jerichofall

And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her. – Deuteronomy 20:5–7

Here we have another oddity when compared to other nations. In the time of war a nation will often call up the young men from among the people to fight for her. Here is the opposite. We see here a list of able bodied men who were told in a sense ‘we don’t need you to fight for us, get out of here.’ Let me explain my presumption at them being able bodied. They either just built a house, planted a vineyard, or married. Interesting. Again clearly we see a different idea of battle plans; trusting in things of this world are dismissed and replaced with trust in the LORD.

tissot_gideon_lapping529x800

And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart. And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people, that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people. – Deuteronomy 20:8–9

The last law pertaining to the army is quite clear. The first two sections we looked at apply to who we trust in and who we do not trust in. This law deals with those we do not subscribe to the truth. Go home. God’s got this. The dismissal of the faithless protects the faithful.

Extra credit:

  • Exodus 17:8-15 – Moses trusts in the LORD in battle
  • Joshua 6 – Joshua trusts in the LORD in battle
  • Judges 7– Gideon trusts in the LORD in battle

Looking for direction?

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 12; Psalms 97–98; Isaiah 40; Revelation 10

June 8th, 2016

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a highway for our God. – Isaiah 40:3

One of the most peace filled promises our God makes to us is to provide us direction. This life is filled with choices and consequences. We desire to know our future holds an improved state today, yet we live in a fallen world. God promises direction amidst the wiles of the Devil. From the beginning the prophets had clear direction.  Isaiah 40:3 is a prophecy of John the Baptist. If you went down to the Jordan river to see John the Baptist this is what you would hear:

Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. – Matthew 3:2b

Throughout scripture the prophets came, Jesus came and then the Holy Spirit came and they all brought with them the truth and it pointed in one direction. This prophesy is no different. The prophets, Jesus and the Holy Spirit all brought a message of repentance, identification that it was needed and to highlight a way to it and with it redemption with God. Here Isaiah is paving the way for John the Baptist who paved the way for Jesus the Christ who died on the cross, rose from the dead in three days and went to heaven. Jesus thus paved the way for the Holy Spirit who brought to remembrance all truth Jesus spoke to the disciples and now we have the divinely inspired New Testament (John 14:26). From the beginning there was direction. Everything pointed to the cross. Which is where we should still be looking and headed today. Clear direction.

All truth points to the cross. The Word is truth (John 17:17). The Word became flesh (John 1:14) and the truth helps the lost find their way (Luke 19:10). It reveals and indicts (John 3:19). Jesus pardons those who believe on Him and confess with their mouth (Romans 10:9). The love of the pardon’s heart pours out in obedience to their Master (John 14:15). They love the LORD their God with all their heart and soul and mind as they begin to calibrate with their eternal citizenry in God’s kingdom. The works are evidence of the belief (James 2:17). Works do not save (Galatians 5:4). Faith saves (Romans 5:1-2). The works bring forth a testimony of salvation (James 2:18). The works belong to God (James 1:17). Do you feel God working in your life? Are you sure you truly believe?

From Isaiah 40:3, the word translated as ‘make straight’ is ישׁר. It means to please, to be straight, smooth and right. It is the same word that is translated several other ways, one other way is ‘direct’. It’s translated as ‘direct’ three times in the KJV, one of these three is in Proverbs 3:6:

In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.- Proverbs 3:6

The word translated as acknowledge is ידע, it means to know, notice, hear of, learn; to reveal, be/become known; to realize. The idea here is simple to understand. By God’s grace may we observe it and truly believe. God is worthy of all our trust. All of it. He has provided a way through the cross to salvation. Acceptance of this way brings with it abandonment and repentance from all and every attempt to attain salvation or reconciliation with God by our own strength or wisdom. Realize this truth. Do not forget it when you walk in the way. When you go out and come in. Carry it with you. Make use of it. All the time. When you are deciding left or right, go or stay, this or that; realize. IF you truly believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your mouth that Jesus is the LORD, your future is already made perfect. You have already been purchased. You are a child of the light. Bring this truth with you to all your decisions and go in peace. There is one way. There is one path. Their is one direction. It is narrow and strait and it is headed to the cross. Are you on it?

Morning worship: Lead Me to the Cross

May God bless you all today and give you a single eye for Him. Amen.

Lukewarm

Today’s reading: Numbers 34; Psalm 78:38–72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

June 1st, 2016

Last Wednesday we studied Satan’s promises and wrestled with whether or not we were trusting in them. Today’s reading brings us to Christ promises in Revelation chapter 3, where we find the last of seven letters to the seven churches. Each letter follows a general outline; a greeting, an ‘I know’ statement, a praise, a rebuke, a command, a warning, and a promise to the one who conquers. The last letter is to the Laodiceans. Their letter is different from all the rest in that it includes no praise. Here is the letter, see if you can pick out the other elements:

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. – Revelation 3:14–22

The ‘I know’ statement indicted them as neither cold nor hot. The consequence? Being spued out. Translated as vomited. A violent rejection and most fearful woe, to be utterly rejected by Christ as loathsome. A pretty serious consequence in my estimation. Certainly then worth consideration and meditation. Why did this happen? Luckily we have clear answers. They had placed their trust in things of this world (v17). They were deceived (v17b). They had fallen for Satan’s lies. I wonder, if there was one letter that American churches (that is you and me) should mind, which it would be?

While Satan’s promises are empty lies that leave us alone and destitute our LORD’s promises are full of the truth and they lead to our being adopted into His family (Revelation 21:7). After the rebuke they are then counseled to buy true riches that they may begin to see. Take one step and see it true. That their eyes may be opened to their deception (18). Then the way is laid out for us to repent. Restoration to relation with Christ. Believe and abide in Jesus. Let thine eye be single (Matthew 6:22). Trust in Him and Him alone. Reject the world and remain in Christ. Live simply (Ecclesiastes 7:29). Put God at the top of your list of one.

I’ll conclude this entry with an excerpt from Believer’s Rewards by John MacArthur. I Highly encourage you to listen to it in its entirety, perhaps on your way to work this morning;

Did you know the Bible talks about five crowns: the incorruptible crown, crown of righteousness, the crown of rejoicing, the crown of glory, the crown of life. Each a separate reward for faithfulness. There’s going to be wonderful rewards. The incorruptible crown, that’s for the one who obeyed the Lord’s command and made self-sacrifice and disciplined his life to live for God. The crown of righteousness, that’s to all who love His appearing. That means everybody who is so in love with Jesus Christ that the looking for His coming dominates their life. The crown of rejoicing, the soul winner’s crown, the crown of glory, the shepherd’s crown, that’s for the elders, the pastor teachers. The crown of life, that’s for the guy who went through the persecution and martyrdom for Jesus’ sake.

Extra Credit: a quick history lesson as we consider another why from verse 16

Verse 16 tells how lukewarm people will be spued out. In considering why such a violent rejection if the state of the gaze of the follower is not fixed on Christ, consider a bit of history. Why such a harsh consequence? After all why wouldn’t lukewarm be better than cold?

lukewarm

After Jesus died the New Testament outlines the persecution of the early church. All the apostles were martyred except John who was exiled to the Island of Patmos by Emperor Domitian who demanded his subjects worship him as lord and god. He and John didn’t get on. The persecutions that followed through the second, third and fourth centuries were horrific to say the least. Christians were heretics, believing in a religion not ordained by the state. In these times that meant death. Thousands upon thousands of Christians were killed as the state invented new ways to torture people into renouncing Jesus. Yet people continued to choose death. This continued on through the third century until Emperor Constantine installed the Edict of Milan in 313. Emperor Constantine claimed that while in battle he saw a cross in the sky and heard the words “by this symbol conquer.” After he won the battle he converted to Christianity. The Edict of Milan reversed the role of religion in the Roman Empire. Now the pagans were heretics. At first glance you might think this a ‘win’ for the church. However as history played out we see that it was horrendous. Instead of the state going around killing Christians who would not convert to the religion of the state, they now went round killing pagans who would not convert to Christianity. Christianity then became the new tool used by the state to unite the kingdom. This powerful tool then began to attract all the wrong sorts of people. People seeking popular status even power and riches.

Those seeking power and riches sought new found titles in the Catholic Church. Papal power was out of control and trumped the Emperor. In fact, in 800 Pope Leo the third crowned Charles’ Martel’s grandson also called Charles who became Charles the Great or as we know him Charlemagne, as the Holy Roman Emperor. So now we have Pope’s making Emperors. One more quick example on this, and there are several. Pope Gregory VII who lived from 1073-1085 produced the Dictates Papae which was a compilation of 27 statements of powers arrogated to the Pope. So basically he created authority for himself. Here’s a sample of one of them for you to consider; “Only the feet of the Pope shall be kissed by all Princes. His name alone shall be spoken in the churches and this is the only name in the world. The Pope’s judgement may be retracted by no one and he himself cannot be judged. The Roman church has never erred nor will it err throughout eternity.” The current Emperor Henry IV was not too pleased with this and threatened to remove Pope Gregory VII. So Greg exiled Henry and absolved all Greg’s subjects from having to obey him. Henry was eventually reinstated by Greg, but only after performing the penance assigned; walking across the Alps barefoot and waiting outside Greg’s door for three days in sackcloth.

Commoners gave up worshiping several gods for a more convenient single god, not to mention the not dying part, that seemed to swing some folks too. People ‘converted to Christianity’ for seemingly every reason but the love of Christ. A lukewarm Christian state indeed.

While the Christian state was becoming lukewarm and Papal power was raging out of control. There was a man named Mohammed who lived from 570-632 AD. It is my understanding that, in the early 600’s he was in Mecca looking for religion, he had tried Judaism and Christianity but found that neither lived up to what they promised. He found Christians in his hometown to be worldly and didn’t live according to their gospel which meant to him that it was faulty. He was sickened by this and retreated to a cave. He came out of the cave with the book of reservations, the Quran. He then founded the first Muslim community and by the time he died most of Arabia had been converted. He was a warrior king. His successors also took the message by way of massive armies starting in Mecca, conquering Jerusalem in 638, the Persian Empire in 651, Carthage in 695, all of India to North Africa defeating the Vandals 711, the Visigoths and Spain with it in 750.

This way to happiness, trust me – Satan

Originally published on BibleJournal.net

Today’s reading: Numbers 34; Psalm 78:38–72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

May 25th, 2016

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on thee: Because he trusteth in thee. – Isaiah 26:3

Trust is a fundamental emotion. Here we see its link to perfect peace. Certainly a desirable state of soul and so I would conclude trust is important. I will suggest that everyone trusts. If this is true the key question then becomes, what are we trusting in?

The deceiver would have us trade perfect peace for an endless pursuit of lies. The deceiver promises perfect peace and happiness but they seem to always be just round the bend. Work a little harder now and it will be better later, focus on the future a little more, the present will be there tomorrow. The deceiver’s needs it this way, his promises always just out of reach. For if they were to be within grasp we would realize, when we went to take hold, there is nothing. We would realize the pursuit of his lies were empty and we might look past them, past this world. At a moment of clarity such as this beware of the next thing (1 John 4:1). Trust in yourself, trust in others, the deceiver would have you trust in anything of this world so long as it is not in Christ. One after another lies realized empty after years of toil until hope is lost that this longing in our souls for something we call happiness will never become. What do you long to do each day? What do you look forward to when you wake up each morning?

The truth: the pursuit of happiness by way of trusting in the promises of this world are destitute, they are empty lies. The Good News: there is a way. One true way. All you need do is trust in Jesus. Put God in that place of what you long for in the morning. Have a single eye for Him. Take a step towards Him on Thee path and it will prove sure. The light will shine brighter and brighter. It will become clearer and clearer, this is the true way.

Know this. Trust is linked to worship and there is a battle for your worship. The deceiver is prepared to give you things of this world to trust in so that he can steal your worship from God.  

We know the deceiver’s battle tactics. We’ve seen the war for worship play out through the pages of scripture. One of the largest battles was when Jesus was tempted by the deceiver in the desert. After many failed attacks the deceiver goes in with everything he has. His last assault of this battle. He takes Jesus to an exceeding high place and shows him everything.

Perfect Peace

It is a simple proposition that he still uses today: if you will worship me instead of God I will give you things of this world. The proposition’s underpinning value lies solely in trust. In my estimation, the key question when considering this proposition: where should we place our trust, the promises of this world or the promises of God? We must choose. How often is Satan proposing this to you? Are you aware of it? Of your choice? Jesus showed us the truth. He was tempted with it all. All the kingdoms of the world in all their glory. His response:

Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. – Matthew 4:10

At the end of Matthew chapter 16, just after Jesus tells Satan in Peter to get behind Him, He goes on to talk about taking up your cross daily and losing your life. In my estimation, this is all about looking past this world. The best I can tell from my studies, taking up your cross daily has nothing to do with bearing a burden. It is all about letting go of this world. All about not trusting in this world. If you had taken up your cross in the first century in the Roman Empire it was clear what was about to happen. You were a dead man walking. Literally carrying your cross. At this point thinking on, and trusting in things of this world were over. I believe Jesus is instructing his disciples to trust in him and not in this world by giving them a clear mental picture of the sort of mindset that is needed to stay on the path and not be deceived. Here Satan interjects again to have Peter trust in this world. Peter receives a sharp rebuke and a clear correction with instruction in righteousness. I encourage you to read it now Matthew 16:21–28 and then reflect on these questions from today’s journal entry, talk about them with your friends and family, wrestle with them:

  • Why is Satan proposing things of this world in return for your worship?
  • Are things of this world worthy of your trust? 
  • What do you trust, things of this world or God? 
    • What do you long to do each day? 
    • What do you look forward to when you wake up each morning?
  • How often is Satan proposing that you trust in this world?
    • Where, when, how?
    • Are you aware of it?
    • Of your choice?

May thine eye be single and thy body full of light.  

Extra Credit: 5 min video on simplicity and having a single eye for God.

Scripture references:
Trust in yourself (Genesis 3:4–5, Luke 12:18, Galatians 6:3)
Trust in others (Psalm 118:8, Jeremiah 17:5)

Cardinal Virtues: Prudence

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.

-CS Lewis

Path Through Grass In Misty Sunrise

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” Matthew 7:13–14

Followers of Christ are called to take the strait way. Strait, a middle english word meaning a narrow passage, from the old french estreit meaning tight and narrow. The old french from the latin strictus meaning drawn tight. The closest modern english, strict. So then Christians are called to a strait path. But why? 

Here is one example. From the fourth principle of the ten commandments we see that reputation is a form of property. In the fourth commandment God tells us to remember the sabbath to keep it holy. Why? Why are we to keep it holy and what does that have to do with God’s reputation?

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:11

When we keep the sabbath day we uphold God’s reputation. We are called to take a different path from the rest of the world and observe the sabbath, we are a signal to the many that our God, the Creator, is real. This is just one way that one may or may not be called to take a strait path. To be different, not for the sake of being different but to the glory of God. I have come to believe that we are all called to different but each narrow paths. One to this, another to that, all headed the same direction of truth and goodness.

Darkness and light. Christians are called to be a light to the world. A city on a hill. Something people take notice of. Christians are called to be different. To take the difficult way that others do not. We are called to consider the things we do, the paths we take. Day to day there are things we do. Right. Well then, why? Why do we this or that? Because everyone else is, so we figure it the right? The wide path is easy mind you. The way of the many. The thoughtless way. What decisions have we fallen into all at once like an ox lead to the slaughter? God give us understanding so that we may keep your law and obey it with all our hearts.

When we stop and consider the things we do; what is God’s will, what will honor God, what will bring glory to God?, we find ourselves a narrow path very much different the path society in the whole.

May we all find each other on the narrow path that the Spirit calls each us to and may we all honor our God in righteousness and truth.

 

-A takeaway from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

As always good books, takeaways, stories, and/or lessons learned on the subject are most appreciated.