Sunday, May 14, 2006

Don't Look for Shortcuts

I got The Message Bible recently and I am fascinated by it. Peterson offers a fresh take on the Bible which is very interesting. I thought I would post some of the interesting passages on here with a little commentary. This one is from Matthew 7:13-23.

"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life--to God!-is vigorous and requires total attention.

"Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don't be impressed with charisma; look for character. "Knowing the correct password--saying "Master, Master,' for instance--isn't going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience--doing what my Father wills. I can see it now--at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, "Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.' And do you know what I am going to say? "You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don't impress me one bit. You're out of here.'"

There are some very serious statements in there. How often do we as Americans want to take the easy way? The shortcut? With God, there are no shortcuts. A relationship with God requires my total attention. I must admit that so often other things get my total attention, and God gets what's left.

Charisma vs character. Charisma is outward. Visual. Noticed by all. Charisma gets attention. Character is inward. Hardly seen or noticed by anyone but God. Character doesn't make the headlines like charisma. But which would my life say that I am pursuing?

Would I describe my obedience to God as "serious obedience", or am I still "fooling around" with obedience?

When have I been guilty of "using God" to further my own agendas, popularity, or importance?

The words seem to hit hard when they are presented with new words. I am thankful for The Message. More to follow.

1 comment:

Joel Maners said...

My wife and I picked up a copy several years ago. It put some real excitement back into reading the scriptures. It's like taking a new road to a familiar destination. You may know where you're ultimately going but you just don't know what's around the next bend.