Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Thought for Thursday 8/22/13

“You who teach another, do you not teach yourself?”  Romans 2:21

St. Paul is castigating those who consider themselves Jews who abide faithfully by the Law primarily by demanding of others the requirements of the Law but refusing or failing to live themselves by its terms.  We should not misunderstand Paul’s message, however; he is not undermining the Law which is the Word of the Lord.  He is rather taking a shot at those whose lives are inconsistent, at one time upholding and preaching the Law and at other times dismissing the Law in their own lives.  It makes me think of those in our world today who preach and demand “tolerance”  but are themselves entirely intolerant.  Or those who preach and teach civil rights but are largely silent when those who become victims are not the right color.  Or the people of the Church who live according to what suits them best as the situation requires, “as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” (Romans 1:29).

It happens this way to the people of the Church, though, because the earnest practices of discipleship are absent from the lives of those who call themselves “Christian”, “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5).  It is that inconsistency by which the character of what we propose to be good and true loses its appeal, and ultimately exposes us for what we really are despite what we claim to be.  As is so often said, people believe what they see – not what they hear (unless it’s gossip about someone else!).

Few of us can escape the trappings of hypocrisy, however, because we are human.  We are hard-wired in a certain way according to our nature.  Our Lord, however, calls us to rise above our natural impulses.  So Grace came to us in Messiah, not as an excuse but as a way out!  Grace grants to us the capacity and the ability to make right the wrongs in our own lives.  Grace requires that we get the “log out of our own eye before we worry about the speck in our neighbor’s eye”.  Grace exposes to us the more Excellent Way, and encourages us to take Messiah at His Word as we follow Him diligently and faithfully by partaking of the Sacraments of the Church, by studying the Scriptures, by prayer and fasting, and by worship of our Lord in fellowship with other disciples.  Grace does not leave us where we are because where we are is not where our Lord intends for us to be.

Let us forge ahead in the Journey which is before us, and let us be the ones who encourage others to follow; for there is no other way than The Way.  There is no other truth than His Truth, and there is no other life than the Life to which we are called in Messiah.



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