Doing What Jesus Said To Do – Part 2
For nearly three centuries from 1729 to the end of the last century manners and propriety marked at least the goal of most Christians and most societies in the Western world. Since that time and particularly in the last 20 years or so, the idea of “dos and don’ts” has become anathema to the contemporary Christian and totally dismissed by most of the secular world. And in most cases for good reason since much of it has been generally associated with legalism and condemnation.
Now, we know that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1
Nevertheless, Jesus set forth clear dos and don’ts for His disciples. Consider these direct commandments.
If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23
“And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27
Did you feel a tightness in your stomach as you read that? Did you have a thought to dismiss it as not really meaning what it says? Did you imagine, if only for a moment, that your cross was much too heavy for you to bear daily? Or who wants a cross to bear, period?
How about this one?
“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24
Is trying to worship God in in anyway less than spirit and in truth, still worship?
“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:27-29
This is a combination commandment. It’s both a doand a don’t. The commandment is to work, put forth effort to obtain that meat that endures unto everlasting life, but don’t labor for the meat that perishes. That is, don’t strive. Don’t spend extended time energy and resources to obtain things in this world that will never endure. Stuff fails. It decays, it rots, it loses it’s luster, and worth overtime. Creature comforts are fine and are to be enjoyed to the extent that they can provide temporary pleasure. But stuff breaks down and eventually all of it becomes useless, particularly tech “stuff.”
In context Jesus is not literally telling the disciples to put forth no effort to provide food, shelter and clothing for yourself and your family. “…the meat that perishes”is a metaphor for the transient things whose value is tied to this world only. They are not worth our labor. But the things that are eternal are priceless and their value never diminishes or waxes old.
“So Samuel said: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15:22