July 21 I Tuesday
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” —2 Corinthians 3:17
Some people just love rules because it enables them to stay in control. That was exactly what the Pharisees were like. In John 9, a man, who was born blind, encountered Jesus and Jesus healed him. But when the Pharisees heard of this, what they were more concerned about was the fact that Jesus healed on a Sabbath than that a man who was born blind now sees.
In Luke 7, Jesus was in the home of Simon, a Pharisee. When a woman, who lived a sinful life, heard where Jesus was having dinner, she came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’s feet. The Pharisees watching this remarked, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner” (Luke 7:39). Then Jesus asks Simon, “Two people owed money to a certain money-lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answers, “...the one who had the bigger debt forgiven”
(Luke 7:41-43). Yet, these Pharisees did not understand the heart of this woman and why she was doing this.
In Matthew 12, Jesus’s disciples were hungry and as they went through a cornfield, they began to pick some corn to eat. When the Pharisees saw this they exclaimed, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath” (Matthew 12:2). But, the Pharisees could care less about the fact that Jesus’s disciples were hungry.
From these three events, we see what happens when rules replace relationships, where knowing God ceases to be about joy and freedom, instead about rules and regulations. If we do not enjoy a personal relationship with God where we talk to Him, hear His voice, be in His presence, we will substitute Him for rules. Like the Pharisees, we will measure ourselves and everybody else by how perfectly we keep those rules.
Things are still right or wrong, good or bad. But under the New Covenant that we currently live in, Jesus came to emphasize that it is not based on His laws, which are imposed externally, but based on His life indwelling us that works out internally. It is not by keeping the rules on the outside that somehow things happen on the inside; it is something happening on the inside that causes things naturally to begin to happen on the outside. May our lives be transformed by Christ from the inside out.
Prayer: Dear Jesus Christ, thank You for Your indwelling Spirit in me that transforms me from the inside out. I am grateful that my salvation is not earned by observing the laws but by having faith in You. Praise You!