Have you read these words and been flooded with fear and trepidation? I think even a casual believer in God pauses at the following verses. Every time I encounter them, discomfort definitely rises. I’m quick to want to skip over them. But maybe that’s exactly why Jesus said them …. to create tension and discomfort.
When confronted with these verses, do you ever worry that you may fall into the goat category? Or, maybe you think you got it right, thumbs up, good to go, firmly in the sheep pen? And then that day comes when we all stand before the throne and give an account of our lives. Gulp.
God really cares about how we spend our time, the condition of our hearts, how we engage the world around us. And certainly while these verses serve as a warning, I think the heart behind them is to encourage us to live a life of abundance and blessing that can only come from seeking to please our Heavenly Father.
I think by the time Jesus spoke these warnings He was pretty fed up with the hard hearts and stiff necks of the religious leaders and teachers of the day. Maybe they needed some harsher imagery to get them to go back and remember …. what pleases our God?
Have faith (Hebrews 11:6) (Mark 11:22)
Be spiritually minded (Colossians 3:2) (Romans 8:6-8)
Revere Him (Psalm 147:11) Psalm 115:3)
Follow Jesus (Matthew 17:5) (Matthew 28:18-20)
Be obedient (1 Samuel 15:22)
Do His Will (Hebrews 13:21) (Luke 9:23)
Live sacrificially (Hebrews 13:15-16) (John 15:13) (Ephesians 5:1-2)
Love God, love others (Mark 12: 30-31)
Live in unity (Romans 12:16)
Be just, merciful and humble, kind, compassionate and forgiving (Micah 6:8) (Ephesians 4:32)
The more we know God, the easier it is to discern the heart of the father.
Lord, Lord. Thank you that when we seek you, we find you. Equip us with your Holy Spirit that enables us to live lives that glorify and honor You completely. Soften our hard hearts and stiff necks. Make us more like your son Jesus each day. May our thoughts and actions reflect Him and be ever pleasing to You.