Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 13, 2018
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. Mark 7:8
I am increasingly convinced that one of the most important questions you can ask is this: what is your vision of the good life? What motivates the things you do? What captures your imagination? When you take the time to silence the busyness and distractions that swirl around you, what are the things you find yourself thinking about?
In Mark 7, we have conflicting visions of the good life. Different groups of people have different visions of what it truly means to be happy, fulfilled, and as religious people, to live a life that is pleasing to God. On the one hand, one group says the good life comes through obedience to the rules, customs, and norms of society and faith. Jesus, on the other hand, is calling people back to the original vision of the good life, life as it is truly meant to be lived. He reminds them that all of these rules and customs were never really the focus, never meant to be an end in and of themselves. They were meant to lead you into the very life of God. As it says in Leviticus, “be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).
Holiness doesn’t mean to simply follow every rule and never step out of line or else God is going to smite you and wish he’d never created you. No, holiness is linked to our ability to behold God, to be like him so as to know him and be transformed by him.
Christianity, rightly understood, is the outright rejection of religious substitutes for the good life and is instead the transformation of your entire life as you encounter the living God. Jesus wants nothing less than this, and he loves us so deeply that when he sees us accepting substitutes for the good life, he calls it out for what it is!
The commandment of God is to be holy as he is holy. This, we could say, is God’s vision of the good life. And all of these traditions and customs and rites are only helpful to the extent they are enabling you to become, in the core of your being, more and more like God. They are beneficial only to the extent that they are deepening in you your capacity to be a woman or a man who can be filled with the life of God.
Jesus invites us to tend to the deepest parts of our soul, not just our external conformity. You may attend church, small groups, bible studies, and serve the poor, yet your heart may still be far from God and desperately in need of his life giving Spirit. Pray today that the whole of your life may begin moving towards Christ and his kingdom. This is a truly flourishing life as it is meant to be lived. This is the good life!
Father, teach us what it means to seek your grace and invite your renewing presence into our lives so that we can live the good life as your sons and daughters. Amen.
Are there ways that you have accepted a false vision of the good life?
Jesus invites us to tend to the deepest parts of our soul, not just our external conformity. #WisdomHunters #teachable
4 minutes – Need to Breathe:
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