There is a difference between following Jesus and believing in Jesus. I believe I should eat healthy but…donuts. See what I mean?
When what we believe is different than what we do there is a major disconnect. Belief in something is a starting point, not an ending destination.
One of Jesus’ best friends and leaders of the early Church wrote, “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”
We all fall short of Jesus. We all make mistakes. We all stumble.
But there are times where our actions aren’t a stumble it’s a blatant ignoring of what Jesus said.
Our goal as Christians is to become more and more like Jesus. That only happens when we follow Him by obeying what He taught. The following are 5 major commands Christians love to ignore.
- “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
We all get angry. We are way more fragile than we like to admit. The anger Jesus is talking about it not a flash of anger. It’s bitterness. According to Jesus if we have an issue with a fellow Christian we should do our part to reconcile even before we bring a gift to God. It my understanding that Jesus wants us to have a right relationship with others before we come to worship Him in services at church. It’s way too easy to raise hands while singing to Jesus while we have a proverbial fist raised against someone we are angry at. You cannot follow Jesus and hold onto bitterness.
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
True peace is a gift. Today, we have a lot of fears. Fear is a natural response to what we cannot control. The peace Jesus gives is different than what the world offers because it’s an eternal promise. Following Jesus means we see how God is in control. When we believe God is in control we receive the peace Jesus promised. In the midst of chaos we can have peace in Jesus but…
- “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34
I’m convinced worry is not a sin. Worry is an emotion. Like laughing, crying, or getting angry we worry. The problem is our worry doesn’t take us anywhere. If we could spend the same amount of energy seeking Jesus we would be moving in order to do something about our worry. Following Jesus means you aren’t standing still. Our biggest problems happen when we cannot get out of our own head. Get up, follow Jesus, and the rest will follow. I love the quote by pastor Mark Batterson, “Pray like it depends on God, work like it depends on you.” We can sit and worry or we can take action and follow Jesus. When we try to follow at a distance we miss all the amazing things Jesus does.
- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
This is a command that is easy to ignore. What does it even mean? I don’t believe there is anything wrong with having “stuff.” The problem is when our stuff has us. You can tell by the way you react when something is lost, broken, or stolen. What do you own currently that would wreck you if you lost it? Whatever that answer is points to what has your heart.
- “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
There is right and wrong and then there is the perception that someone has less worth because they don’t do it like you. The latter is judgment. When someone sins differently than we do, a Christians response should be heartbreak. No matter what the sin.
Why do you think it’s so easy to ignore Jesus’ teachings? Which one of Jesus’ teachings to struggle with the most?