“Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:19
About a year before I got married, I remember struggling in my faith and living my days for myself instead of for Jesus. I wasn’t in the Word and my prayer life was dull. I had given my life to follow Jesus four years prior to this, but became relaxed in my daily Christian walk.
This passage comes after Jesus’ teaching of Christians being the salt and light of the earth…on us doing the will of God and being Jesus to the world. Our Christianity is not lived out merely in our declaration that Jesus is the Son of God, but in our daily submission and commitment to Him as Lord. The difference may be one who relaxes God’s Words without proper submission to it and one who is a devoted follower.
As I read this passage in the ESV translation, the verb relaxes caused me to ponder it a little more seriously. Other translations say it as whoever breaks, but that word is literally translated as one who loosens or does away with something.
Truth is, we choose to disobey God when we relax the application of His Word in our daily lives, when we become careless toward it, when we loosen its grip on our hearts. The result is the same: we break His commands.
How does this happen? Though many things contribute to it, the underlying cause is this: It happens when we stop seeking Him through His Word and knowing Him through prayer. Satan wants us to relax God’s commands. Even if we’re believers, he’ll distract us so that our days are not lived for Jesus. And then what? Consider this quote…
“How we live our days is how we live our lives.” -Annie Dillard
Friends, each day matters. Do not relax even the least of His commands. Obey and teach others to obey. This is the purpose of our lives…and it must be lived out as the purpose of our days.
The Night Fury. That’s what the vikings on the island of Berk call the most powerful, glorious dragon of the land. He is swift and unseen against the night sky. The blue bullet-like fire balls shoot out of his mouth with accuracy and potency. When he comes, he comes with vengeance. Of course, I’m referring to the animated film How to Train your Dragon. Haven’t seen it? You should…it’s a cute movie. But I won’t give it all away; let me just say that every time this dragon comes, the whole village runs because of two reasons: he cannot be destroyed and he has the power to destroy.
I love this because it reminds me of God. Except for the part that seldom do people fear God. We often don’t have an appropriate fear of Him who has power over life and death. We mock Him. We test Him. We accuse Him. We curse Him. And above all, I think we doubt Him. We doubt—or are just ignorant of—His power. God has the power to destroy. Nothing…nothing…is greater than He. It is the ignorant man indeed who would test or mock or accuse or doubt this God. He alone should be feared. Need I say it again? He alone should be feared.
Big Sigh. And I gotta tell ya…the more I realize this, the more I love Him because I realize He has loved me first and has been completely gracious toward me. It is by the mere grace of God that we live. It is because of His grace that He has compassion on us.
Friends, we cannot take what the grace of God has done for us (given us compassion, love, forgiveness) and then act as though there is no need of His grace. He is a powerful God. At best, His presence would kill us, and at the least, His brilliance would blind us. The Israelites begged Abraham to not let them in the presence of this God. He is full of glory and mighty in power.
Have we forgotten whom we serve? Yes, He is compassionate, kind, and loving. But it is because of His grace. He is a just and righteous God; LORD of lords and KING of kings.
Take a moment to dwell on His power and then rest in the assurance of His grace. I pray this revelation would sink deep into your soul and leave you in a place of reverence, worship, and love for the Almighty God.
I was sleeping peacefully—and deeply—up in the loft of our 350 square-foot cottage. This particular night, I slept closest to the stairs and my husband slept near the wall. It must have been sometime between midnight and 4am, but in my blissfully unconscious state, I was unaware of the time.
Suddenly a BING-CRASH-SHATTER sounded from the kitchen! Someone broke through the window into our home I concluded as my eyes popped open in a panic. I saw my husband literally mid-air, jumping over me, and then watched as he landed on his feet in a crouching position with his hands out in front of him…ready to fight. Uhh…Whooa! I thought as I watched him prepare for action. Who-is-this-man-that-I-married? Bourne? Bond? It’s funny how sometimes we think we know someone so well, and then we see this completely different side of them that completely amazes us (not that I didn’t always think my husband was amazing…).
Though I am certain no thief would have survived, I am grateful that it turned out to be the knives on our kitchen shelf falling to the ground and shattering a ceramic bowl along the way (blame it on the train).
Sometimes I think I know God, like I got Him all figured out. But to think that our finite minds can comprehend such an infinite God is nothing other than naïve. This week, I feel as though I’ve had a Whooa! Who-is-this-God-that-I-serve?! experience. As I read His Word, specifically Exodus 3-15 and Job 38-41, I am literally wowed by a God that I have yet to learn so much about.
I’m praying that we each have a Whooa! Who-is-this-God-that-I-serve?! moment this week…that we realize He is greater than we originally thought, He is mightier than our strongest moments, and He is so holy we cannot even stand in His presence apart from His grace. He is the Lord of Hosts, and He deserves our reverence.