Meanderings of a Minister


Five Easy Ways to Wreck Your Life, Part 2 (Matthew 23:16-22)
January 27, 2011, 2:25 pm
Filed under: Articles

Courtesy of PowerpointSermons.com

Part 2, Change Inconsistently

 Last week, we started a series of looking at Matthew 23:13-33 and Five Easy Ways to Wreck Your Life.  Last week, we looked at changing without aim.  We said that one of the easiest ways to wreck your life was to begin with no idea of where you are headed.  Simply, like Charlie Brown of the Peanuts comic strip, shoot the arrow of your life, wait for it to hit and then draw a target around where it landed and pretend that was what you were aiming for all along.

In this installment, we continue to look at this passage and another Easy Way to Wreck Your Life.  If you have not, yet, stop and read Matthew 23:16-22.  In this passage, Jesus continues His criticism of the Pharisees by saying they were trying to look good by making a big show of promises to do something, but had created an intricate system for not having to carry out the promise.  In other words, they could start something, find it distasteful and, rather than feeling like a failure, they could simply “take it back” and go on as if nothing ever happened.  Allow me to explain.

The Pharisees had created an elaborate system of making promises or taking oaths or cutting covenants.  For instance, let’s say that you and I enter into an agreement for business, but I want to make sure I can back out at any time.  I would take off my sandal and put it on your foot.  You would take your sandal off and put it on my foot.  As long as we continued to wear the other’s sandal, the agreement was enforced and in effect.  If either of us decided the business transaction was not benefiting us sufficiently, we would simply return each other’s sandals and the covenant would be null and void.  This would not be a failure at business and there would be no legal ramifications.

Now, if we decided to enter into an agreement that we wished to be non-reversible, we would enter into the salt covenant.  In this arrangement, I would take some salt from the pouch that I carried with me due to living in the desert.  I would take some of the grains of salt from my pouch and you would take some salt from your pouch.  I would place my salt in your pouch and you would place your salt in mine.  We would then shake up the pouches to mix each other’s salt grains together.  The only way to break this covenant would be to sort through each other’s salt and pick out every solitary grain of salt belonging to the other and return it and for you to do likewise.  As this would be impossible, the covenant would be binding.

The Pharisees created this elaborate system so that they could change until it became uncomfortable to do so and then they could go back on their word without feeling recrimination for doing so.  Jesus criticized this because He knows that all change is hard.  Whether it is the discipline of God towards godliness, prayer, weight loss, time management or learning to communicate better with your spouse, change is hard.  When we enter into efforts to change our lives, whether we lean on God’s power or not, change is hard.  If you want to wreck your life, just start and stop when the going gets tough.

Kids misbehaving?  Get rid of them.  Wife complaining?  Get a divorce.  Husband lazy and won’t help around the house?  Trade him in on a new model.  Pregnancy not convenient?  Get an abortion.  Church not fun?  Quit.  College too hard?  Drop out.  Losing weight stinks?  Go eat a dozen donuts!  When this is our mentality, we wreck our lives.  We end up waking up, one day, to wonder why we are so lonely, unfulfilled, frustrated, limited and 400 pounds!

If you are not really into wrecking your life, why not commit your life to Jesus Christ right now.  Confess Him as Lord.  Surrender your will to Him.  Allow Him to direct your paths and your change?  (And don’t cross your fingers behind your back when you do!)

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