As His ministry became more well-known, Jesus became more popular among the social outcasts. Why? Because He wasn’t concerned about maintaining His squeaky clean image, or only being seen with the right people. Jesus went where the need was. So here we find Jesus at a large banquet made up of every kind of questionable personality and reputation. But He looked beyond the person and saw their potential… and wasn’t afraid to go where they lived. You won’t find the healthy in the hospital…you’ll only find the sick. Just as you won’t find most lost sitting in the pews on Sunday. As Christians, we need to be willing, just like Jesus, to go where the need is.
Turning away from the Lord can be very subtle. Every time I tell myself that I believe God…but then in the next breath lament that I’m not worthy enough to be used by Him…I’m turning away. Or every time I’m confronted by God’s truth and I distance myself rather than allow His truth to change me…I’m turning away. The deception of sin will always be veiled in mistrust and disobedience.
When Jesus spoke of man’s corrupt, sinful nature He always addressed it in its ultimate result. For example, Jesus never warned us that we must not covet because it might lead to stealing…He said rather, You must not covet because it is stealing. The same goes for all the fleshly appetites and passions that come from our human nature. If you think it – Jesus says you’ve already done it in your heart…from lust to murder. For anytime we allow fantasy to fill our mind instead of truth, our flesh is winning.
I am my worst critic. I lie in bed at night annoyed with myself that I didn’t accomplish everything I should have. Or I’m aggravated at myself for not speaking up when I could have. I react with self-loathing as I play back the events of the day… as the “I should have, I could have, I would have’s” run in a loop through my mind. What’s so sad is… most times, I’m beating myself up over things no one else even knows about. They’re things that are only important to me…so why am I so perturbed? In a word…it’s guilt. Self-directed anger is fueled by guilt…and it doesn’t need to be guilt heaped on us from someone else…for we can do that all by ourselves! But this guilt-ridden self-anger can be changed by the last few words of this verse…for it says to “search your hearts and be silent. Selah” That means we listen and not speak, allowing the Holy Spirit to whisper truth into our heart and mind. It means then we pause and ponder these truths not allowing our mind to race negatively. It’s positive reinforcement, Holy Spirit style.
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not go along with the crowd. Sure, the peer pressure is strong, and we want to fit in and not seem odd…but we also realize what the crowd is about to do is just plain wrong. Deuteronomy 13:8 tells us to not yield to or even listen to the enticements from those who are sinning. And the old excuse of, “Everybody’s doing it!” can’t stand up to the truth if it goes against the word of God. For any words of persuasion, guilt, or deception we hear will never change wrong into right.
We probably all know a person who has fallen away. Someone who consciously rejected the spiritual enlightenment they had once received…who had tasted of God’s goodness, but chose instead to abandon their faith. And when we intentionally reject Jesus Christ, we’re essentially saying that His sacrifice on the Cross meant nothing. For when anyone falls away, they have turned their back on God’s truth and can only then look forward to His final judgment.
The world doesn’t talk about sin as such. To them, sin is an archaic word. They’d rather shape the idea of sin into a palatable and more tolerable commodity that people will just accept without question. I found an interesting quote about this. The world says, ” My right is my duty.” The Christian says, “My duty is my right.” The question here being – what is your focus…putting yourself before others… or putting others before yourself? This is where sin and truth collide…it’s where the world deceives us into thinking sin isn’t that big of a deal…but truth tells us we need to come out from under the cloud of lies and self-indulgence and repent.