My Way or the Highway?

Jan. 23, 2020

Scripture Readings

As human beings, we are naturally concerned about our needs and wants in this physical world. But if that’s all we pursue in life, even after we become Christians, we will jeopardize our newfound relationship with God. This is so because by seeking solely for God’s earthly blessings, we may neglect the many helpful warnings in the Bible. This will threaten our spiritual vitality.

Our orientation in life can skew our interpretation of the Bible, even if we make time to read God’s word.  As a case in point, Jesus in Matthew 16 says to his disciples, “How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” You see, Jesus was warning his disciples about the bad influences of the Pharisees and Sadducees in their false teaching. Yet, as soon as they heard the word “yeast,” they immediately thought of bread, their daily physical necessity. Yes, Jesus cares for his disciples’ daily bread; but he cares for their (and our) spiritual well-being even more.

It is true that we all need to be practical! But if we become so pragmatic in life that we pay attention only to our physical needs, we will develop a harmful mindset. When that happens, our minds can become susceptible to troubling temptations. In fact, we can quickly fall to the voices of this world that promise a seemingly good life. Before long, the statement from Psalm 14, “There is no God!” may sound attractive. After all, it is much easier to achieve wealth if there are no commandments to observe. This path will ultimately lead to a compromise in our relationship with God.

But the good news is that true blessings can be ours as we put God first in our lives. When we are in tune with God, we will be able to sense God’s guidance, which is far better than material things in life. Peter, an uneducated fisherman, was able to say to Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” in Matthew 16 because God revealed this to him. From our perspective, Joseph’s being sold to Egypt was seemingly a tragic story, yet, it was a blessing in disguise. It was God’s way to preserve his chosen nation. Hindsight is always 20/20.  “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”

Eric Lai

Discipleship Ministries Pastor