Recovery - It's a God Thing-- July 10, 2010
- 2010 7 Jul
Scripture focus: So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You've had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God. 1 Peter 2:1-3 The Message
"The Tahmud, a collection of ancient rabbinic writings, relates the story of Rabbi Akiba, who was imprisoned. Rabbi Joshua brought him some water, but the guard spilled half of the container. There was too little water to both wash and drink, and Rabbi Akiba faced the possibility of death for lack of water if he chose to use the water for ceremonial washing. He reasoned, "He who eats with unwashed hands perpetuates a crime that ought to be punished by death. Better for me to die of thirst than to transgress the traditions of my ancestors! Jesus responded harshly to such reasoning: ‘You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!' (Matthew 23:24). The Lord cautions that the weightier matters of the law (such as justice and mercy) are overlooked when attention focuses on strict observances of religious practices. This leads to a corresponding negligence of the eternal laws of God. Jesus told people to pay more attention to cleansing their hearts and not be like their leaders who cleanse only their hands."
Each day we spend hours going through the motions of life without any thought - we drive down the road, stopping when the light is red and going when it is green. We wash our hands (hopefully) before meals. We brush our teeth after we eat. We open the doors for strangers pushing babies in strollers. We put our car in park once we reach our destination. We comb our hair. We bring in the mail. We go to work. We answer the phone when it rings. We feed our pets. We wash our clothes.
True or False. Days can go by without consciously thinking about the weightier issues like mercy and justice.
I say false. When Peter spoke of cleaning house, noticed what he suggested we clean up:
· Malice - a desire to harm others or to see others suffer
· Pretence - a false appearance or action intended to deceive
· Envy - a feeling or discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another
· Hurtful - causing injury or suffering; damagingActing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God (see Micah 6:8) aren't always grand epic gestures intended to feed all the starving children of the world - or at least in China. These attributes can be practiced at home. They help us grow up mature and whole in God. They are produced by a heart that has made the decision to trust God. Inattentive, we may not realize how often the opportunity to love justice and mercy present themselves in our daily routines. May we grow conscious of the small moments of our lives - filled with weighty opportunity.
Daily In Christ, by Dr. Neil Anderson with Joanne Anderson, copyright 1993 by Harvest House Publishers, January 28th entry.
 Definitions from thefreedictionary.com