Set in Your Spiritual Ways?

by Jan Silvious

We all have our preferences, even if it sometimes seems a little inconvenient to hang onto them. We also have our ideas about how things should be done.

In the spiritual realm, preferences and tendencies are no different. I have a precious friend who measures spirituality by a person's regularity in having a quiet time. I have another friend who doesn't feel a relationship is really all it should be unless you pray together. Still another friend believes that a table blessing does not count unless you mention the food. Oddly enough, the friend who wants to pray with me doesn't have a regular quiet time, and doesn't ever mention the food when she asks the blessing. The friend who wouldn't think of missing her quiet time has never prayed with me, nor has the one who always mentions the food when she prays at the table.

Are you set in your spiritual ways? Do certain acts make you feel more spiritual, yet you pass over others? Do you have certain rituals that you hold to as Truth?

Even some folks in Bible times couldn't believe that true worshipers would deviate from established religious practices. In Matthew 12, such an incident is recorded: "At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath'" (vv.1-2).

Jesus, always the radical, said: "If you had known what these words mean, I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" (vv. 7-8).

Often, the things we hold to most rigidly tend to bring condemnation on others because we're convinced our way is the right way. The Lord knows this tendency and cautions us: "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom. 12:2). Unfortunately, that change of mind will come only when we acknowledge that our views are distorted and need changing.

If this is the case, and you are stuck in the rut of tendencies that are harshly critical of others, Jesus invites: "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" (Matt. 11:29-30).

In other words, He is saying, "Please join with Me and learn from Mefor I am gentle and humble. There is no place for harshness and judgmentalism in the lives of my children. My yoke will be easy for you, and it will be easy for your friend. Just make sure it is My yoke you are wearing and not another."

You may be set in your ways, but as your mind is gradually renewed, ask God to show you the bondage of your ruts and the freedom of His Word. You'll be amazed at the good things He has in store for you and the sweet  release He has for your friend. The Truth that Jesus gives is liberating.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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