Substance or Shadow?
Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
How often do we find ourselves in conflict and disagreement with those whom we should be standing in unity, over some truly inconsequential principle or doctrine? Even to the extent of showing ourselves a poor example and witness, of the very grace, mercy and love that has been extended to us, and should be flowing through us to others.
Thought for the day
Many times we decide that for the principle we are going to argue a point, sometimes for no better reason than to simply prove that we are right, and someone else is wrong. We should all ponder well our real motivations, and the intents of our hearts. Do we really need to prove someone to be less than, just so we can feel superior? Do we really need to stroke our self esteem in that way, by putting someone else down? Is that what being right is about?
Often we are much better off not proving ourselves “right” for the sake of the relationship. And then again sometimes, others need to experience a “victory”. Why not make it come true for them; after all everyone likes smart people…but no one likes a smart ass! Before you load your head to shoot your mouth you may want to consider the Moravian motto; “In essentials, unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, love”. There is much wisdom in these words.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don’t let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch.” Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires. ~Colossians 2:11-23 (NLT)~
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
~Hebrews 10:19-25 (NASB)~
My dear Father, Abba, and Lord, I come to you and I praise you for your unconditional love for me and all my brothers and sisters. What an awesome family I have! Please remind me daily Lord that it is impossible to serve you without serving my brothers! We are so divinely intertwined that you call us to love You and our brothers and we are one and the same. It’s as though we are part of the Trinity. Your son, Our Lord called us to love you and to love our brothers as the only way to worship you and so I ask you daily to ignite the holy spirit in me that drives my Christian radar to look for opportunities of service to my fellow man. Help me to keep that bright flame alive in me…that I might never be empty of the love you call me to share with you and my brothers. This I ask in the name of Jesus, your son, the sacrificial lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Amen.