Today’s Reading: John 21:22 (NIV)
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
How do you live faith? Have you ever wondered how you might measure up on the faith scale?
It is human nature to compare ourselves with each other. Personally, I believe we spend way too much time trying to imitate and adapt to social and cultural standards set and measured by imperfect humans. When we pass judgment on our next-door neighbors, we may try to fool ourselves into thinking that we are somehow better off than they are. Are we really? This is such a dangerous and costly attitude to embrace. Gawking and fence sitting can be hazardous to our spiritual health. We’ll find gaping holes left in our sagging britches, caused from the rusty nails extruding through life’s fence posts, ripping our preconceived notions and grandiose thinking to mere shreds.
Jesus repeatedly points out the sins of the self-righteous. We tend to flaunt our faith in public, praying and fasting so that others might see and be awed by our superficial holiness. We begin to fool ourselves into thinking that if we try to imitate our brothers, we have somehow earned the right to be redeemed. Does Christ’s offer of salvation hinge upon anything we could possibly say or do?
When we fall in love with Jesus Christ, our standard of comparison is no longer based on human terms. We begin to look at Christ’s life example as a spiritual measurement for our daily living. It is far more important to focus on the nature and character of Jesus, recognizing that He is the only One who has the power to completely change our hearts from the inside out. We are less concerned about our neighbor’s business, and we begin to focus our attention upon our own personal relationship with Jesus. That is not to say that we stop caring about the needs of others. Christians find great joy in helping and loving each other, just as Christ loves each and every one of us. Yet, the only accurate measurement on the faith scale is weighted in the life example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Two hundred years ago, John Wesley asked a pointed question to his Holy Club members, and I ask the same question of myself today: Am I more like a self-righteous Pharisee or a penitent sinner?
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
© Copyright 2009, Deb Spaulding
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