What do you do when you read a section of Scripture that makes you uncomfortable?
I knew some parts would be uncomfortable and harder to write about when I committed to reading and writing every chapter of the New Testament this year but I was hoping it would take a little longer.
I’m a first-born, Christian church and school educated, married to a pastor . . . people-pleaser. I’ve spent my life trying REALLY HARD to obey the rules and “do it right,” and I sometimes wonder if that’s how many of the Pharisees got started, too. But the problem with Pharisees is that rather than just worrying about their own obedience they worry about everyone else’s obedience, too.
Oh, and they weren’t just worried about God’s commands . . . they wanted strict compliance to all of their man-made rules and traditions. And that’s why, Jesus, who is able to perfectly discern attitudes and motives . . . challenged them with God’s TRUTH.
The truth that says God cares more about our hearts and minds, our attitudes and motives, our showing His grace, mercy, and love . . . than our strict conformity to traditions and regulations.
Jesus said the following when the Pharisees rebuked His disciples for picking grain on the Sabbath:
“But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”Matthew 12:7–8
Time and again throughout Jesus’ ministry, He told His followers about the importance of showing mercy and compassion . . . and He didn’t just tell them, He modeled it for them.
I believe God wants our obedience but He wants it because it is one of the ways our hearts, our minds, and our actions can respond to His grace, mercy, and love. And because our obedience to loving like Jesus . . . shows His love to a hurting world.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at consistently doing this on my own . . . will you pray with me as I ask God for His Spirit’s help with the things that make me uncomfortable?
How to Pray About the Things that Make You Uncomfortable
Father, please help me. I want to obey with pure motives and attitudes that honor You. But the world is in my face and it’s so easy to fall into a pattern of worrying about what people think. And people are so free with their accusations and criticism. We also struggle with voices who declare good – evil and evil – good. I need Your Spirit’s help.
I love You, Lord. I want to honor You with pure motives and attitudes. I want to show others the same mercy and compassion that You have shown me. I want people to see You through me. By Your grace and with Your Spirit’s help, help me love like Jesus. Amen.
Whenever I see myself in the hard parts of Scripture it makes me feel uncomfortable and convicted. But the Good News is that the Father of grace and mercy forgives and gives me (and you) everything we need to trust and obey even the parts of Scripture that make us squirm.
On today’s post-it note write:
God, help me love like Jesus! Amen.
You can read more of the ways Jesus challenged the Pharisees in Matthew 12.
God bless you today as you focus on His love and compassion.
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