Devotion: Monday, August 27, 2018

A Biblical, Christ-filled word to bless your lives. 

Welcome to “Word from The Center” MONDAY, a devotional word from the Center of our faith, Jesus Christ, reflections from His Word. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s verse is from Mark 7:8, where Jesus says,

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

Whose Law? Whose Life?

Is it my way or the highway?

We’ve always done it this way before, why change now?

Tradition, Tradition!! Human laws and traditions, new and old, have a purpose… but they can’t ultimately save. They might keep struggles at bay for a moment, or they might give a sense of stability for a time, but eventually they don’t hold. Why? Because we are sinners trying to keep those laws and traditions. In time, ironically, we can actually misuse even precious human laws and traditions by pitting them against the Law and the Gospel of God recorded in the Scripture. Our confusion on these matters reminded me of a quote by G.K. Chesterton. He said:

“The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.”

Jesus is getting at the heart of that spirit. He’s challenging the spirit in us that thinks that we have the answers to the big problems that we face in life, when we feel that our traditions, our expertise, our tried and true methods and inventions will be enough to cure the matters that ultimately ail the human heart. But two things happen when we seek to go it alone without God. One, we eventually see our ineptitude in the face of this world’s temptations and challenges; the fears, the insecurities, the anger, the resentment, and the discouragement overwhelm us in the end. Or, two, we discard the things that really matter, the Law and Gospel of God, and we seek to replace it with a cheap substitution, human laws and traditions on our terms alone. One way causes us to be overwhelmed by reality. The other, ignorant of it.

In the face of such an attitude, Jesus replies that people like that are “people (who) honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mark 7:6; quoting Isaiah 29:13). And that’s the point. Jesus wants to draw our hearts to Him. He wants to reconcile us to Himself, overcoming our fears, our ignorance, our sinfulness, so that we can face the real struggles of life with joy that comes through His Law and His Gospel at work in our lives by faith. Today’s the day to repent of the notion that all of life is in our hands. It’s not. And even if it were, we, as sinners would continue to make a grand mess of it all. Jesus teaches us to let the Law of God have its say in our life, to show us what is right, to show us our sin in its reflective mirror, so that we might receive His gift of forgiveness and life as the gracious gift that He has earned for us on our behalf. Let our traditions then be rooted in God’s Law and His freeing Gospel, because His Word ultimately delivers us Jesus, and the Life we get to live by grace in His Name.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, don’t ever let me take myself or my particular views on things more seriously than yourWord, your Law, your Gospel. Because when all is said and done, You can be trusted in all things. Give me that confidence in your saving Word each and every day. AMEN.