The Letter KillsFebruary 8, 2022
Generous EyesFebruary 24, 2022
For the video teaching on this, please link to our YouTube channel at 721ministries.org
At the outset of his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us he has not come to abolish the Older Testament, but to fulfill it.1 He meant, in part, that he has come to fulfill the Spirit of his Father’s teachings, and to move us away from legalistic, lifeless rule-keeping, i.e. the Letter of the Law.
Last week we contrasted the Letter with the Spirit. Here are two examples:
The Letter is about, “What I cannot do.” The Spirit is about, “What I can do.”
The Letter is about you and your actions. The Spirit is about Jesus and your heart.
But let us go a step further. What would it look like to go far beyond the Letter of the Law – to move from Lifeless to Better, and then on to Best?
For instance, it is lifeless to think, “I got to.” It is better to think, “I get to.” It is best to think, “I want to.”
It is lifeless to say, “I’ll do my part, you do your part.” It is better to say, “I’ll do my part even if she/he doesn’t do theirs.” It is best to say, “I will proactively look for ways to serve her/him, regardless.”
It is lifeless to say, “I will try not to sin.” It is better to say, “I will obey my Father.” It is best to say, “I want to honor and please my loving Father, who has been so gracious and good to me!”
It can be lifeless to think in terms of “God.” It is better to think in terms of “Father.” It is best to think in terms of “My loving Heavenly Father.”
It can be lifeless to think in terms of “Christ.” That is his title, by the way, not his name. It is better to call him by name, “Jesus.” Perhaps it is best to think of him in terms of “My best friend.” I do. Try it.
Are you stingy or greedy? Of course not! But nevertheless, it is lifeless to say, “I will give … some … when asked.” It is better to say, “I will tithe to the Lord.” It is best to say, “I will proactively look for ways to be generous.”
Do you harbor resentment? It is lifeless to say, “I will forgive but not forget.” It is better to say, I will release them and let go of this.” It is best to say, “I will release and forgive, and I want to try to restore the relationship.”
Do you tend to raise your voice? I’m sure not. But if so, it is lifeless to say, “I will try not to yell.” It is better to say, “I will be careful with my words.” It is the absolute best to say, I will be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”2
‘Lifeless’ is playing defense. ‘Better’ may only be playing it safe. But ‘Best’ is going on offense. Best is being proactive and purposeful. Best is about taking the joy and light of Jesus to those around you with energy. Lifeless is sitting on the shore. Better may only staying in shallow water. But best is getting out there and swimming in the deep water.
Let us move beyond the lifeless life of rule-keeping. Let us be done with, “What are my boundaries? Is this a sin?” Let us move into the Life that is truly life3 of proactive, positive, Holy Spirit energy!
Lifeless to better, and then on to best.
31 Timothy 6:19