Suddenly in the middle of the night I woke up and said to myself, “Cheese!” I had forgotten the mozzarella and provolone. How in the world can you even think of making what is basically a pizza turnover and forget the cheese? It’s like planning to make brownies and forgetting the chocolate!
We are no better when we try to be children of God and forget the basic elements.
The Pharisees thought that since they tithed even their herb seeds, they were good Jews. They were certainly right to be so careful. Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the LORD's; it is holy to the LORD. You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year, Lev 27:30; Deut 14:22. Yet Jesus reminded them that they had left out “the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faithfulness” Matt 23:23. How did they think they could be children of a just and merciful God and leave those things out? It should have been unthinkable.
John dealt with people who thought they could be followers of Christ and live immoral lives. He was plain about their mistaken ideas. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:4. He reminded them of the same thing Jesus reminded the Pharisees. How can you think you are a child of God if you don’t live by his rules? No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother, I John 3:,9,10. I don’t know about you, but I get really tired of famous athletes who wear crosses around their necks and “thank Jesus” before the cameras, but live like the Devil otherwise.
It’s time for all of us to stop trying to make calzones without the cheese. You can’t pick and choose which commandments you want to follow and then claim to be an obedient and faithful child of God.
Children do not tell their parents which of the house rules they will and will not obey. They are obedient to the parents in all things, and they understand that being a child of their own particular parents means certain things simply are or are not done if they want to stay faithful to the values of that home. How many of us have said, “Your mother would roll over in her grave if she saw you do that?” We understand what faithfulness to the spirit of the parent means, even if some specific idea is not spelled out in black and white. Why are we so dense when we come to our dealings with God?
The next time you make your family’s favorite dish, using every single ingredient because you would hate to disappoint them, remember not to disappoint God either.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27