Friday, April 26, 2024

Do You Try?

Do You Try?
by David Brenneman 

"‭And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’  Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”"
Luke 10:25-37.

We honestly have thousands of books, lecturers, movies, and more to teach every single generation how to justify their actions and life. 

Every single generation considers itself better than the one before it. 

Everything only appears to be getting more sophisticated and advanced. 

Yet, in all of this, the human heart has time and again, proven that what the God of the Bible has absolutely true about it. 

The heart is desperately wicked who can understand it?

We are born in selfishness.  Sin is in our DNA until our physical death.  Sin mars our hearts and distorts the truths of God's word and world.  

Mankind isn't going to space to seek out new life and new civilizations.  It isn't boldly going where no one has gone before.  Scientists have been trying to find a single shred of evidence to disprove the God of the Bible. 

We are all susceptible to the cancer of justification.  We want to justify our food cravings.  We want to justify an outfit that we bought.  We want to justify our attitude and behavior in public that we displayed for all the world to see. 

We want what we want when we want it.  We justify out ways and means of achieving it.

We justify even our turning away from the path that the Spirit has laid out before us to take. 

We are to what? Not lean on nor look to our own understanding. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 just happens to be the verse of the day on the Bible app. The passage from Luke just happened to be part of my Bible reading today...coincidence? Hardly.  There are none in regards to growing in Christ. 

Many, I have seen, even changed their place in the body of Christ because of something that happened to them.  Otherwise they would still be doing what the Spirit set them in the body of Christ to be doing. They justified their leaving and even wrote what amounted to a resume of accomplishments to salve their conscience.  

We are experts at the game of justification.  We justify what we go after and wonder why it didn't work out.  We don't even question when it didn't...we look for ways to still go after what we never consulted God about.

There is the catch.  What else does the Bible say?  Psalms 37:4 "Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.".

There isn't a child who has ever not strived to grow up faster than was possible.  Trying to convince children that adage of the grass isn't always greener on the other side is nearly impossible.  

The very next passage in Luke, was about Mary and Martha.  Lesson being that waiting at the feet of Jesus was more important than even being busy.  

Look at your calendar.  Look back over your week.  How often have you just ran out into life and never once talked to Jesus about the world you were stepping into?

All your heart means all. Not the parts that you want Him to be involved in.  It's a very true statement that if King Solomon had held to this Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight...that he would never have strayed from the Lord. The Bible certainly would have been different.

Solomon, for as wise as he was, let in this little justification and that one.  Look at the results.  Countless wives and concubines. His kingdom ends up in distress and division.  Civil War results. Nothing close to the righteous life that God desired for him.

The righteous life that God desires for you is wrapped up in our obedience to God's Word.  We're not to lean on our own understanding.  We should stop ourselves when we begin to see signs of justification that aren't God honoring.  

Many pursue worldly accolades, degrees, certifications, prestige...and sacrifice their place at Jesus's feet to obtain them.  They even appear to show all kinds of good results to God!  

But, and it's a big but, what did Jesus say as well?  Many will say they did many things in His Name. Yes they do and did...yet in reality Jesus had no part in what they did.

It's critical to be sure of your salvation. It's equally important to be sure that your life follows the path that God desires for you.  It may not look like what you envisioned. That's okay.  We are here to grow in Christ and to be who the Potter says we are to be. Set in the body of Christ as the Spirit sees fit. Telling others about the great things that Jesus has done and pointing people to the Savior. 

Standing firm isn't a suggestion.

That lawyer was seeking to justify himself.  We're all good at seeking to justify ourselves.  Both to do the supposed work of God and to avoid it.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. 

Look at what motivates you. Be leery of self justification.  

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation. 

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