Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Revelation 2:4
We have reached that annual time of year in which you may spend more time waiting in line at the gym for your turn on the stair climber than you will for Space Mountain at Disney land! That time when the buzz in the office lounge is all over whether you’ve chosen to pursue the Atkins, Paleo, or Slim Fast diet to shed those unwanted pounds that came after eating quite possibly our own body weight in holiday delights (or was that just me?!). Having to losing weight: a problem most countries in this world would probably see as a blessing to get to experience! Perspective.
In Matthew 23:2 Jesus says, The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. It seems as Moses was up against the Red SEA, Jesus was up against the PhariSEES. Jesus said, They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to to move them. Matthew 23:4 This made me do some self evaluation… am I a Pharisee, in my home, church, workplace, as a sister, mother, wife, friend? In every area God has placed my life as an influence do I behave as a Pharisee? Because Jesus also said, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 If I am behaving as a Pharisee I am certainly not following Jesus example thus the “Jesus” people perceive in my sphere of influence would be incredibly skewed!!
Jeremiah 17:9 states, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? So I believe in my heart inspection for Pharisee tendencies I need to desperately pray daily (maybe even more frequently), Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Do I live like Jesus? Do I display gentle humility which takes incredible strength? Do I offer non-judgmental yet tough true love in my relationships? Do I behave as someone who believes Eph. 2:4-6? That I already have a seat at the most important table (unearned no less) so I don’t have to play the political games! That I have jobs prepared only for me in advance by the King of kings (Eph. 2:10) so I don’t have to play the competition/comparison games, but can celebrate others! Do I “sing” directly to God, is He my deepest desire, is it His validation that means the most? Do I pursue Truth over traditions? Do I capitalize on strengths or weaknesses? Am I more concerned about what size I’m wearing or about the actual garments; have I chosen to put on praise and His joy, His armor? Do I just find the burdens or do I offer to lift them? Do I locate or am I apart of problems or solutions? Do I serve or look to be served? If we put as much time into counting our complaints as we do our carbs what would we find the health of our hearts to be?
Psalm 10:4 In his pride, the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. How scary is that!!! To be in a state of mind that has lost room for God! Back to Matthew 11:28-30 and Psalm 139:23-24 The cure to prevent that selfish, prideful pharisitical (if that’s a word) state is to “Come to me…” go to Him and say, “Search me, know me, test me…” and then God give me eyes that truly see and a heart willing to fully surrender, to go Your way.
Folks all I know is Jesus is the answer. Human yokes are not easy and our burdens are not light, its in coming to Him that we find rest for our souls because we find it’s not what or why we are going through something; its Who is with us in it. Genesis 35:3 God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone. He is love. The most loving Father. Like Jacob’s sensitive response to Joseph’s dreams in Gen. 37:11 and Mary’s sensitive response to Jesus in Luke 2:19, 51. God treasures His people, in Gen. 7:24-8:1 it states, The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind on the earth, and the waters receded. When it says God remembered Noah it doesn’t mean He forgot him, God doesn’t forget it just means He was now ready to act on what He had held in His heart all along regarding Noah.
Are we living like we know He remembers us, or like a small child riding on a fathers shoulders clinging for dear life to his head not realizing that the saving grip is not our own but that of the father holding onto us? If we could begin to grasp how dearly we are loved and how much He has saved us from as believers in Jesus and that He has seated us in an unearned seat at His table maybe we our natural tending Pharisee hearts would soften to flesh from stone. However this Truth is something only He can reveal but we need to chose to come.
Jesus, may we stop counting “carbs”, walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way of sinners or sitting in the seat of mockers but rather let our delight be in You (Psalm 1:1-2). For those of us that have wondered deceived as the Pharisees open our eyes and bring us back to our first love – You God.
Independent Read: Jeremiah 33:3