Sunday, May 01, 2005

Whitewashed Tombs


We have so many reasons to thank God! In psalm 118 the psalmist
Writes “give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever." This command, this cry of thankfulness does not come from someone whose life has been easy. Later in the Psalm they write: "in my anguish I cried out to the Lord…” Sometimes it’s hard for us to think that God is nothing but good. It is a unique concept, God has no undesirable attributes. Here in psalm 118 it is revealed that the writer knew hardship, knew “anguish,” pain. This cyclical cry of thankfulness is coming from someone who has great reason to be thankful. They were “set free.” The Lord “became [their] salvation.” This psalm is a declaration of what God has done. The psalmist writes “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.”

I hope that my life can look like that. I hope that I am truly living. That word “live” has deep perlocutionary meaning for me. Jesus said that He came “so that we might have life and live it to the full.” I want life, the abundant life shown in psalm 118. I want my life to be a declaration for what God has done for us. Jesus once called some of the religious leaders “whitewashed tombs.” He said in Matthew 23; “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” I have written about God being after our hearts before but I can’t say it enough. Why do we worry about what’s on the outside. Why do we worry about having all the answers and being right? Why do we judge so much but on the inside there is nothing but death? Dallas Willard once posed an appealing question, he asked “what’s more important; to be right or to be Christ like?”

My hope for my life is to be one who is full of life. I want to be a thankful outward person. I don’t want to be bitter, disparaging, angry, perturbed, anxious, disturbed, upset, frustrated, negative, Judgmental, and gnashing my teeth. I have known that “anguish” and I want to be free and I believe that Jesus Christ is the answer for my pain here, at the present, and ad infinitum. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his love endures forever.”

5 comments:

Flip said...

Interesting post...the one question you placed in your post: "Why do we worry about having all the answers and being right?" I think that is just natural for humans to want answers to all of their questions and yes we always want to be right.

I still grapple with that one. I was looking for a passage to read...maybe I'll read Ps 118.

Daniel said...

Being right is very important. The validity of being Christlike rests on the true claims of Christianity. If Christianity is not true, then why would anyone want to be like Christ.

On the other hand, we must ask our motivation for being right. Are we being right just so others are impressed with how right we are? Or are we being right because we are longing for the knowledge of God? If the former is true, I probably struggle with a pride problem and others will notice what a jerk I am. However, if the latter is true,Christ receives the glory and honor that he deserves. Plus, others will notice a geniune concern for their well-being.

WES ELLIS said...

the real question is are we getting caught up in being right. how often do we argue theology and nothing results from it. I'm pretty sure that I'm right but that's not important, I want to rach and connect and love people not argue with them like I have all the answers. I don't have all the answers.

Ashley said...

I couldn't agree with you more, as far as the being right subject goes. I think that is something we all need to remind ourselves about!

Chris P. said...

Re: your comment on the whitwashed tombs remark that the Lord gave;
Was Jesus ever wrong? If not, then I want to be right like Him, all the time, in the same way that He was. You are assuming that judgment automatically equals hypocrisy and pharisaical behavior. We are encouraged to judge everything in the Church.
Jesus exercised judgment, and said that he came to judge.

Concerning Himself:
John 3:
16"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil
John 5:
22The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
John 5:30
"I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

For us:
John7:
23If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."


1 Cor 5:
11But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one. 12For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you."

Matthew7:
1"Judge not, that you be not judged. 2For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

In Matthew 7, Jesus says that we should remove the log out of our own eye so that we are then able to remove the speck from our brothers eye, implying that it is possible to do so. We always focus on the first verse alone,never in context.
We set such lax standards in the name of "unity" that the church is now full of all kinds garbage passing off as truth.
We need to understand that the true prophetic ministry is to correct,reprove,rebuke and encourage. All of these things when done properly will edify and build up the Body. The reason why people get tired of fighting over Truth is, that they are not called to that task.
Jesus never said don't worry about being right, and being right does not equate to spiritual death.
Bweing right is being Christlike.