These days you often see “black and white” Christians accusing other ministries for preaching an incomplete gospel. The irony of this is that these accusers are typically devoid of love. They are impatient, unkind, rude, and critical of those who don’t live up to their standards. Which leaves out a very critical part of Jesus’ gospel. Which is why they discourage more than they inspire.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:34-35
Such people are all about definitions. Live up to that definition or lose their approval, and be subject to their forced submission via criticism. Being all about definitions they get fixated on behavior, and obedience; even if it's just whitewash. Never the heart of the issues at hand; and the sinner’s heart is often broken by this fallen world. Something a loving disciple who can see past their own nose should address when reaching out.
Consider the book of Deuteronomy. It's about God's relationship with mankind through worship and obedience. Yet it's more poetic than systematic, and it mentions the heart thirty times. There are only four other books of the Bible that mentions the heart more often. So obviously the heart is critical in producing obedience. Definitions by themselves are inadequate to produce genuine transformation. Definitions are a start, but unless we live them from the heart our holiness will be merely surface, insincere, and far from complete.
My challenge to you this week is to examine your heart, and consider why it struggles with obedience. So you may address the root, not just condemn the action.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. -Deuteronomy 4:29
then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. -Deuteronomy 8:14
Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. -Deuteronomy 15:10
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