November 20, 2021

Both/And Living

Written by Tripp Prince

We must learn to see the interconnected reality of disciplined living and heartfelt devotion.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – November 20, 2021

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Luke 11:42, ESV

In every area of life, we are tempted towards extremes. We see this in our political opinions, our diets, and yes, even in the way we live out our faith in Christ. It is remarkably difficult to live in the tension of the “both/and,” yet it is in this place that true wisdom is found and virtue is faithfully formed.

In Luke 11, we encounter a group of religious leaders who have kept to the requirements of the law – tithing “mint and rue and every herb” – yet have failed to see how this action is connected to the larger mission of God’s love and justice for the entire world. They double down on the letter of the law, yet fail to see how their actions are meant to birth in them, and the world, a life of love, tenderness, compassion, and mercy. 

However, if I am honest, in our own day it seems we run the risk of overcorrecting, falling into the ditch of liberalism and taking on a laissez faire approach to our spiritual practices.

In the name of “love,” we hold at arm’s length anything that looks like a rule, regulation, or requirement. We assume these to be the opposite of the heart disposition that Jesus longs for the Pharisees to embrace. Yet, and this is key, we must learn to see the interconnected reality of disciplined living and heartfelt devotion. As Jesus himself says, “these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Without a life of discipline, our intentions to love and care for others in the name of Christ far too often remain abstract ideals without concrete and tangible expression. A life built on committed principles of worship, giving, sacrifice, and devotion steadies the ship of our lives and enables us to live a genuine life of love and mercy in a way that transcends our fleeting and fickle emotions. With due respect to The Beatles, love is not all we need, for love finds its true fulfillment and power when coupled with devotion and duty, giving love the aim and direction that it so desperately needs.


Father, help our love to be shaped and formed by the disciplines of devotion we adopt, keeping us from both rigid lawkeeping or laissez faire living, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.


How can you today embrace the tension of “both/and” living?

Related Reading

Deuteronomy 6:5; Psalm 33:5; Micah 6:8

Worship Resource

The Porter’s Gate: Instrument of Peace


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