Luke 16:15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”
Well, the point about Jesus not being politically correct certainly comes through! He never failed to speak truth, even when it made enemies for Him, but He always did so in love. Here He is really telling the Pharisees, “Why don’t you rearrange your priorities and love what God loves?” He was stripping away their self-justification and telling them how wrong they were, not to condemn them but to give them an opportunity to repent. It has been said, in a somewhat jesting manner, that Jesus came “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” There’s a lot of truth in that! We tend to care what people think of us, but what really matters is what our Creator thinks of us, and whether He is satisfied with the performance of His handiwork. I keep coming back to the awareness that God is far more concerned with what we are than with what we do. However, what we are will certainly be expressed in what we do! When Jesus said to those following Him “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) He was pointing out that they were followers and not really disciples. Being a follower isn’t bad, but we are called both to be and to make disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20) A disciple not only watches what the Master does and listens to Him, he is also instantly obedient, often anticipating what the Master would have him do because he is so familiar with the ways of the Master. God wants us to be disciples, and not just act like one in front of people so they will admire us. God knowing our hearts is both scary and comforting. It is scary if we think we have to perform to please Him, but if we understand that it’s all about being a child of God, then we can indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in Him.
I am having a bit of refresher training in this right now. I am currently in what I trust are the last stages of what has been literally the worst cold I have had in years. I have to be explicit in trusting God for the strength to do anything He asks of me. Yesterday He got me through performing a wedding, and I was amazed, but by yesterday evening the symptoms were back. This morning we have worship, and my message is explaining the Scripture for the Year that the Lord gave me. I consider that very important, but I’ve got to leave it in His hands. I am learning to rest on what the Lord told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Frankly, I don’t enjoy weakness, but if it allows my Lord to manifest Himself for His glory, then bring it on.
Father, thank You for the assurance that You will indeed get me through this morning’s service, and the special New Year’s meal to follow. Thank You for giving me wisdom to pray for the individual churches from my bed this morning, rather than driving around to them like I do every other Sunday morning. Thank You again for the good crowd we had on Christmas Eve, and for the probability of a good group this morning. I pray that the one couple in particular would come, because You seem to have prepared their hearts. May everything about the day be exactly as You desire, to build up the Body of Christ for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!