This Week’s Key Verses: Luke 9:47-48 (NIV) “Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
“I feel like I’m a two-year-old child, Lord.
I’m the center of my own tiny world.
My ignorance outweighs my knowledge, and when I see something new, I’m filled with wonder.
Even though You always give me what’s best, I stamp my feet in rage or cry with grief if I don’t get my way.
But I lift my hands to You and say, “I’m sorry, Daddy; pick me up!”
And You lift me up into your lap and wrap Your arms around me, and tell me that You love me.
I beg for a story, and You teach me gently about Yourself, and repeat the same stories because I can’t seem to remember them well.
You remind me that even though I don’t understand things, I can always depend on Your love for me.
And I peacefully fall asleep in Your arms.”
I wrote that bit of prose a couple of years ago, when I was feeling particularly incompetent and unspiritual. Now, with a two-year-old in temporary residence in my home, I am constantly seeing her behavior and recognizing my spiritual self. It seems that the more I grow, the smaller I feel! Fortunately, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3, 4)
The Pharisees might be considered the “Bible-thumpers” of the Jewish world during Jesus’ time on earth. One would think that their desire for purity and strict observance of the Law would put them on God’s good side, particularly because the Israelites had been dispersed when they had turned from God’s ordinances. It’s true God calls us to follow His Way and to be pure, but He desires the right attitudes along with that desire, or it just becomes legalism. The desire to know God better so as to increase one’s power over others is not the same as desiring to know God because of love for Him and wonder at Him.
God looks at our motivations, not just our actions. Of Pharisaism and Christianity compared, Unger’s Bible Dictionary says, “It was a leading aim of the Redeemer to teach men that true piety consisted not in forms, but in substance; not in outward observances, but in an inwards spirit; not in small details, but in great rules of life. The whole system of Pharisaic piety led to exactly opposite conclusions. Under its influence ‘the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith’ (Matt. 23:23; Luke 11:42) were undervalued and neglected…”
I encourage you to study the Word, to pray, and exhibit all of the other virtues that we are called to as Christians. But, as you do, keep in mind that
“You [God] do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51: 16, 17)
To hear this week’s message go to www.kpc.org/watch_listen.