Jesus reflected God’s love, grace, goodness and mercy to everyone He touched, from the insider crowd of Israel’s elite leaders to the outcast dregs of society. He wants us to do the same, but too often we struggle with narrow expectations of others and hurt our relationships when someone doesn’t live up to those expectations.
God’s first and foremost desire in the original creation of man was relationship through faith in Him. All He ever really wanted was for human beings–His ultimate creation–to trust Him and follow His perfect plan to exist in perfect harmony with El Elohim and His world that He provided for their use and benefit. But as we all do, Israel had a tendency to short memories of His goodness, provision and instruction.
Because of their waywardness and stubborness, He gave them the Law to teach them what it truly means to be holy and righteous in the eyes of God. Not so they could become legalistic and assuage their consciences by thinking they could placate God with endless checklists of all the religious duties they had performed without putting their hearts truly into it. Although the religious powers that be tried to turn it into just such a rule book over the centuries, what God had in mind was to give them a guide to illustrate His points about what righteous living is really all about. The Law is only a tool, not the “Road to God”–Jesus alone is that! Now that He has come , He is our tutor as the fulfillment of all Law so we are no longer bound by legalistic ritual nor by the death prescribed by the Law as the punishment for our sin. He met the requirement of justice so we only have to believe in Him and follow His example of holy living.
We must then be careful not to judge another’s spiritual walk and Christian life by adherence or non-adherence to man-made religious “traditions” which are superfluous to a true faith walk. Instead look only for how Jesus is reflected in the actions of faith through his or her life and examine your own life to ensure that your actions speak to others of a true love and deep faith in the witness of Christ living in me and through me.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for the privilege of being in your Holy Presence to worship and honor you. May all of my days be filled with praises to You. Keep my heart soft towards You and far from superficial human judgements. Teach me daily how to reflect You to a hurting and broken world in my actions, and to see how You are working in others to reach people for You. I pray that all I do would bring honor and glory to Your name. May my witness of You shine from the inside out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Galatians 3:19, 21-26
by Tamara Christine Van Hooser