Friday, February 04, 2011

Leviticus 19

While preparing for my Sunday School lesson re: Joseph and his brothers, I came across Leviticus 19:17, which says, "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him." That in itself is instructive, but after reading the entire chapter, there was so much more.

Have you ever wondered why Christians can't do certain things? In that chapter, the Lord repeatedly points out the two main reasons for obedience to his commandments: (1) it is good for you, and (2) our actions reflect on the Lord. The first should be a no-brainer. But it actually comes down to whether we trust the Lord's judgment about life in general. Those who love the Lord will willingly submit to his laws, because they have learned to trust that God knows what is best.

The second reason is also important to those who love the Lord. Our actions can bring disrepute to his name. In the case of verse 17, hating a brother or neighbor can make others wonder about the God we serve and proclaim. Since God has changed our lives, shouldn't 2 Corinthians 5:17 be evident on a daily basis. The sad case is that many Christians fail repeatedly in the work place not thinking of God's reputation at all. They claim the title Christian but act no differently than those who do not. That's a big problem. God's reputation (as well as your own personal testimony and effectiveness) is at stake. So, be wise the next time you speak or act.

2 comments:

Jay said...

What do you think of this idea? I was listening to a song the other day and the writer seemed to be saying that your "heart" can fluctuate. But Jesus says that "out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart." This leads me to believe that we act and speak from our heart, or who we are deep down. Maybe pastors have done a poor job of working people through heart changes? Just trying to get people to make behavioral changes? This could lead to the issues you mention here. What do you think?

Andy Rupert said...

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life. Prov. 4:23

The Bible talks a lot about our heart.If our heart is right we are more apt to make godly choices. But the Bible also tells us to do things, to think right and to live godly lives. So, while the heart is important if it doesn't translate into action, what good is it (see James)?

Of late there has been a lot of people talking about heart issues assuming that if the heart is right, everything will fall into place. While that should be true, my fear is that many Christians are thinking that a good heart feeling (apart from godly living, choices, etc.) is all that matters.