How much time do we spend asking God for understanding in comparison to how much time we spend asking God to equip us to express his love to others? How much time do we spend learning compared to worshipping?
All of it is important, and I certainly do not want to minimize any of it. However, I think we sometimes want the knowledge about God and his will more than we want his motivation and prompting. It makes sense, because we’re practical. We want the nuts and bolts of something. We want to be able to fit issues and people into categories then make our decisions based on those categories instead of realizing he’s not into categories as much as we are. He doesn’t need to label people as much as we do, because he sees the potential. He sees the possibilities. He sees the healing and redemption. He knows what his love—which includes grace, mercy, forgiveness, discipline, and justice—can do.
We rely too heavily on categories—perhaps because it protects us from having to constantly interact with God and trust him even when he prompts outside our comfort zone, assumptions, and experiences. When we step away from the rules and categories, we have to trust him in the ongoing. We have to seek him with a fervor and let go of required answers before we’re willing to respond in faith.
The Pharisees were excellent at knowing and following rules, but we know what God thought of their compassion and humility. They short-changed their faith and witness because they found following rules and structure was more important than following God. Religion became more important than faith.
We can’t throw out everything about the Pharisees’ approach. We can’t throw out all of God’s rules and structure. He has purpose in them. But we must keep them in the perspective he intends. We need to pursue him. We need to not define faith by what we most want and dismiss other aspects of our relationship with God.
What truth do I need to know in this situation?
In what way can I express your love best in this situation?
I trust you to guide me, God, and cultivate my faith in the process.
If we are willing to approach God with humility and willingness each step of the way, I believe we will grow, serve others, and honor God.