Tuesday, March 13, 2012

~ "All the right reasons..."

For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:20)

In the Old Testament, there were three categories of law:  ceremonial law, civil law and moral law.  Just as that law was misinterpreted then, the same can be said for today.  Christ did not come (as he tells us) to destroy the law.  We are still bound by the direct commands of God.  Jesus followed the moral law - those Ten Commandments still apply.  They reveal the nature and the will of God!

But it doesn't stop at following the law.  The Pharisees were diligent in their attempt to follow the law, yet they were not "righteous" in so much as they were content to just follow the law and not allow God to change their hearts.  It all comes back to the quality of our goodness, not the scorekeeping of how many good acts we perform.  

God judges our hearts as well as our deeds.  Our attitude (the part people can't see) is what God sees.  Our goodness must come from what God does in us, not what we ourselves can do.  The hand of God on our hearts is what changes us.  Going through the motions will not get us into heaven.  Following the law is not enough.  The attitude we reflect IS God.  Those keychains with the letters ... "WWJD" ... is where the difference comes in.  The approval we seek needs to be that of our heavenly Father, not those around us patting us on the back for a job well done.  If we are doing in order to make the statement "look at me" , then we aren't doing it the way God wants it done.  Boasting is only righteous if we boast in the Lord...what HE has done, not what we have done.

Don't give in to your selfish and self-centered nature.  Allow the Lord to work in you and through you.  Give him all the glory.  Remember that God's law is there as our guide as to what he expects from us.  Jesus did not do away with it (many believe that the two commandments: "Love one another as I have loved you" and "Love thy brother as thyself" replaced the Ten Commandments handed down by God to Moses), he gave us a fuller understanding of what is expected of us.  To be quite technical, if one follows those two commands, one will be following the Ten Commandments.  It's important to know the "law", but it is equally as important to understand why it was made in the first place.  

Put the focus of your life in its proper perspective.  Follow the path that leads to righteousness, the one that Jesus took.  Do for others because it is the right thing to do, not because you want God to see it and applaud your actions.  Give until it hurts, pray until you are exhausted and love because Jesus did.  Know that God sees it all and will reward you accordingly - and if you're doing it for the reward - stop and start again - do it for the right reason...