YES, HE is Talking to YOU! (continued)
Love is the Fulfilling of the Law
We wound up yesterday in a discussion about consistency and this is indeed the hard lesson to accomplish. To be steadfastly looking to the Kingdom and to the Christ Within to the degree of not thinking at all about one’s place in the world and what cares and desires we may have as men is perhaps the most difficult of all things to do and, at the same time it is perhaps the most important. From the words of the Master that we reviewed in yesterday’s post, we should have an understanding of the importance of this consistency and of the solemn dedication required for the true realization of the Kingdom of God and His Presence. We can believe what we want regarding our place in relation to the Kingdom but it is in the words of the Master that we find the truth of it. Unless we are doers of the words that He teaches us, we are but deceiving ourselves; as the Apostle James aptly puts it: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). The Master confirms this thought in several sayings and in particular this one that we discussed as the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders (In the Words of Jesus part 145):
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:21-27). This same saying is recorded in similar fashion by the Apostle Luke but with a different beginning which poses the question: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
Is there anything here that we really do not understand? We should remember that Jesus does not shy away from telling us the requirements and the difficulty of achieving His Kingdom and His Presence which we know starts with our own Christ Within, our own Soul’s Light, which shines forth into our conscious personality and upon which we act. And in this saying we can see our trials of consistency as well; staying in the Light of the Soul while we live in this world of men and in the body of a man. As a testimony to the difficulty and to our wherewithal to overcome these difficulties, the Master tells us what we should do in these two complimentary sayings which are likely different perspectives on the same idea:
- From Matthew: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
- From Luke: “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in , and shall not be able” (Luke 13:23-24).
There is a narrow, strait, Path which is difficult to find and perhaps more difficult to stay on but still we strive to enter and in this is His instruction, that we strive. If we can be consistent in striving, that is to be continually striving, we can eventually be consistent in all. Again, this is not where we were intending to go today but this is such an important subject to understand as regards our approach the the Path and then our ability to stay on that Path. All is a matter of hearing and doing and not hearing and interpreting what we hear into something that we can comfortably do.
I was reminded about these things in reading from Isaiah 58 which comes at the end of the year in the ‘bible in a year’ plan that I have been using. The Master often called the Pharisees hypocrites and accused them of contorting the law into men’s ideas that were easier to accomplish than the law itself and a picture of this appears in this text from Isaiah. These people, especially the scribes and the Pharisees knew the sayings of the Lord through their own reading of Isaiah yet they did not what they should have done. Jesus explains His frustration with them this way: “….a certain Pharisee be sought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. And when the Pharisee saw it, he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner. And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without make that which is within also? But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets…..” (Luke 11:37-43). We have seen this text before through its counterpart in the Gospel of Matthew and we can see here the displeasure of the Master with the attitudes of these people who he accuses of putting on an outer show but not keeping the Truer measures of God’s laws found in “judgment and the love of God”. We must remember that not all were acting in this way but certainly the ones that found it in their hearts to question all that the Master did that was Good.
We need to see in the words of Jesus to the Pharisees and to the scribes and to the priests and to the Sadducees not only His condemnation of their actions but the lesson also to His disciples in that day and to us here today. The Master tells us plainly that we should not be like them whom He accuses of doing what appears righteous for the sake of doing only or to be seen doing by others; He tells us this of giving and of fasting and of praying (In the Words of Jesus parts 42 and 123), He tells us often of how this will make one a hypocrite. In the text from Isaiah we see these ideas put forth to the Jews some 750 years before Christ says the same to them and in this is likely the greater part of His displeasure. Here and now, 2000 years later, is humankind all that different? Doing for the sake of doing only, doing to be seen by others and reconstructing the words of the Master into a form that is palatable for us. The Lord says through His Prophet Isaiah:
- On Fasting: “Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call , and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday” (Isaiah 58:3-10).
- On the Sabbath: “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isaiah 58:13-14).
The ideas here are the same as those that the Master speaks of above and in the text in Matthew. When men do the things of God only to the degree that it suits them and not to the degree that it suits the Lord, both the Christ Within and the Greater Lord, they will not find the reward and the Peace of His Presence and in this we should see that any thoughts that one may have of being in His Presence without doing what He says is right, is folly, it is self deception. It is the words of Isaiah also that the Master quotes regarding the reconstruction of the precepts of the Lord into the easier ways of man. The Master says to them in His day the same words that the Prophet Isaiah says earlier, because they were still true. And, He says them to us as well: “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9). As we said, the Master took this saying directly from the words of Isaiah who said it this way: “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13). Can we ask ourselves ‘what part of the religious and spiritual knowledge that I have and I use are from the doctrines of the church and of men and what part is actually from the word of God?’ This is a hard question to answer because man has also the tendency to interpret the word of the Lord in ways that are conducive to worldly living. Whether we speak of salvation, the Kingdom, prayer, tithing, marriage and sexuality, or one’s focus on worldly things, these all are reconstructed into the doctrines that we have received of men.
How then do we know the way? Only by reading and understanding the precepts of the Master by way of our own Inner Man, our own Christ Within. In this Light, the Light of the Soul, all things become clear. Looking away from the things of the world and refusing to interpret His word as though it was meant for this realm of Earth, we can find the Truth. We may also find that those things that are most controversial from denomination to denomination and from sect to sect and even from religion to religion, are the things of which we should be most suspect. It is these that are likely relevant to the ways of the world and that are also just the created doctrines of men.
What we should see in today’s post is that the things that were told to those men in Isaiah’s time, and even before, are the same things that the Master told the people in His day and are the same things that He is still telling us through His word today. There is little difference and there has been little change although we, as the human family, are likely closer to God and to our own Souls today than we have ever been before.
Again we did not get to the intended text for today; perhaps it was not so intended as I may think.
Let the peace of God rule in your hearts!
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Note on the Quote of the Day
This daily blog also has a Quote of the Day which may not be in any way related to the essay. Many of these will be from the Bible and some just prayers or meditations that may have an influence on you and are in line with the subject matter of this blog. As the quote will change daily and will not store with the post, it is repeated in this section with the book reference and comment.
We repeat here as today’s Quote of the Day the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians and a prayer that all can use as it is focused only on the spiritual and not on the carnal. This is also an excellent way to start the NEW YEAR, 2012.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen (Ephesians 3:14-21)
We will add this to the Prayers and Meditations section shortly.