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Today’s 333 Devotional: “Getting To The Heart”
If I were to give a definition of religion, part of it would be that religion is about the business of keeping and maintaining laws and the traditions that surround and are interwoven within them.
Jesus, however, basically nullifies the rules and regulations in favor of a relationship, and within that relationship all the laws of God are contained and worked out.
Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
Back in the days of Jesus, the religious leaders were devoted to carrying on lengthy debates on religious traditions and the laws they considered more important.
Jesus, however, never got caught up in such debates; rather He taught these were tied up in what He called weightier matters, or what we call the principles contained within them.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.” (Matthew 23:23)
The religious leaders were so intent on keeping the law to its minutest detail that they forgot what the laws were about, and the principles God desired to teach us through them.
The reason Jesus was so intent on the principles rather than the specifics was because no one can keep the full extent of the law. And by trying to make some laws greater than others would give people an excuse for not keeping laws they considered less important, thus discounting God’s word altogether.
Just because we may deny the importance of some of God’s laws doesn’t make them unimportant. They still condemn us no matter how little we may value them.
Our focus should then be upon this one commandment, to love the Lord our God and then others as ourselves, it produces an overflow where all the other commandments are naturally kept.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study