It’s a questions all Christians could ask themselves: Who would you rather rule over you–or even the world? Jesus or a Pharisee? For those who don’t know what a Pharisee is, they were the religious learned of Jesus’ day. Those who studied, meditated on, and taught from God’s Words, and one would expect them to know God best.
But Jesus bumped heads with them regularly…
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. (Matthew 23:27)
God was always more concerned with our inner condition than our words or actions. Yikes.
Religion, on the other hand, is easy. It skips the inner transformation and focuses instead on appearances, rules to keep, e.g. don’t touch, don’t taste… and God forbid you question or break a rule-Woe to you!
Pharisees religiously followed rules, like giving a prescribed 10th of some of their goods to to the Temple/Church. But Jesus said they neglected weightier matters of life like Justice and Love (Luke 11:42). How do Christians you know score on those matters? How about you?
“…experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. (Luke 11:46)…”Isaiah was right when he prophesied of you: ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Mark 7:6).
In a recent Presidential election I made a deliberate choice not to vote based on my party preferences, but to really seek God’s direction. I looked intentionally and with love at both candidates and their policies, and in the end made one of my hardest decisions ever– maybe because it seemed illogical.
I chose not for the party promoting “biblical values and principals,” but the one that acted more like Jesus.
It’s not my intention to write a political post. That said, I do feel compelled to speak when so much from some “Christian” voices rings, to me, so un-Christ-like.
As a mom of four I’ve seen firsthand how amazing life in the womb is, even in the earliest weeks. Abortion grieves my heart deeply, but, sigh, God Himself gives us Choice–and not just a one time ‘have-a-relationship-with-Me-or-not’ choice, but freedom to choose what we do or say all the time. Good and bad, for better or worse (else our freedom would be a farce; freedom is an intrinsic part of Love).
If God Almighty grants people choice, who am I to take it away through policies or laws? Dare I make myself greater than God.
Do you want Grace and Love to rule, or Law and Religion?
There is much focus on marriage and bible verses on homosexuality. Some scriptures put people on opposing sides
and I myself was a bible-toting, finger pointer (albeit inwardly–which is where it counts). But God broke my heart, showing dramatically how people, including children, have been/are bullied, abused, even slaughtered simply for their love choice (see for example Matthew Shepard).
Jesus gave a sneak peak of Heaven, and our unfathomable equality, when he said there will be no more giving in marriage there. Instead, we’ll be like Angels (Mark 12:25).
So why do we entangle ourselves with affairs of this world like sexuality, when there are weightier matters to bear out, like Justice and Love? (Christians note: 2 Timothy 2:4) And anyway, aren’t we supposed to support people settling down as opposed to sleeping around? Just Saying.
The calling card of a Christian is supposed to be Love, and when you see it in action (e.g. kindness, patience…) you glimpse God. If you see hatred, name-calling, mean talk, etc. you see something else. And when we start accepting the latter as good and right we enter a Biblical Danger Zone (post here).
Christians everywhere should be alert internally —how is the condition of my heart?– because Jesus is calling us out all over the Bible, including:
“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me you workers of lawlessness. (Matthew 7:23, see also Luke 13:25-27)
It’s possible to be all over “Jesus” and not even a part of His Kingdom–just like Pharisees were all over “God” but so far from His Heart!
So do you know who you’d want to rule? Jesus or a Pharisee? Grace and Love, or Rules? I hope you go for Jesus because the alternative is frightening. Pharisees called Jesus the devil and plotted successfully to have him crucified.
He didn’t fit with their rules.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
For everyone talking about or studying so-called Demands of God, check the ‘Golden Rule’ again. Its literally Royal (original Greek here).*Notice how God took Himself out of the equation..? Before we were instructed to love Him with our heart/soul/strength and our neighbor as ourselves, but in this verse God is only asking that we love one another…
- Did you think Make God an Idol? Did you think you had to go to church every Sunday, pray rehearsed prayers, or do some other rituals to have a relationship with God? Read: God’s Glass Elevator to help break down the religious walls/lies.
- Trying to reconcile Hard Biblical Law with God’s Tender Heart? Check: Pearl and Mother of Pearl: God’s Great Handiwork
- Having a hard time believing God’s Existence or Love in a Totally Wrecked World? Check my post here.
- Want to know more about your God-given Divine Heritage? Check: Born to be Free, or the whole “Wild Kids, Wild God- 31 Days Looking into God’s Heart” series.
Jasmine, thank you for a most profound/thought-provoking lesson: that because God gives each of us His sweet gift of Choice — thereby not making all of us into a planet of Jesusbots — no man, or lawmaker on earth can remove His gift of Choice in His name, since no man is greater/better/higher than God.
I believe those who try to remove/delete/eliminate/erase our God-given gift of Choice, even as they call themselves “Christians,” actually pervert Christianity, and give true people-loving Christians a bad name. This is IMHO.
Thank you for a deep and enlightening post.
Thanks for this message… Indeed, it’s a sweet gift, but one that has cost us all so much, most of all God…Whose Heart has broken every time we chose to hurt and destroy one another, especially the little ones. May He make a swift end to this ‘old order’ of things.