Friday, September 23, 2011
"Not the Flame-Thrower Again, Jesus!"
"There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him." - Jesus in Mark.
Jesus had just finished lambasting the Pharisees for "teaching as doctrines the traditions of men", when he layed this one on everyone.
I don't know about you, but Jesus hits a little too close to home a little too often. I'm not sure what I would have thought about Jesus had I been around him. He drops "truth bombs" all over the place. And if I'd been around, I'd be ducking behind every rock and camel, tossing little Zacheuses into his path.
Let's take a look at this bomb. What is Jesus driving at? I think, and I could be wrong (even though this is now on my blog, in print and therefore must be true of course), that Jesus is describing the difference between inward and outward righteousness. Or to say it another way he's showing us the difference between inward and outward sinfulness.
I heard a helpful illustration from a pastor, who had heard the illustration from another pastor, (and since it's third-hand I might as well claim I came up with it) that we human beings are all like water bottles full of sin. When we're shaken or squeezed by circumstances what comes out? "Umm, sin?" (I'm a really good student by the way.)
It's not that our circumstances cause us to sin, it's that we have sin lurking in us ready to spill out of us, and circumstances give sin the opportunity. It's kind of a sobering thought, but I think it's right on. And it's right on with what Jesus said about it's what comes out of us that defiles us.
So I was thinking, I wish I was a water-bottle and not a dang tea-cup! Or better yet, I wish I could be a sippy-cup.
To be uncomfortably honest, I seem to be a perilously perched tea-cup, on a dashboard, in a mini-van full of screaming toddlers, driving through the Grand-Tetons! Everywhere I look I'm being defiled - spilling all over everything. And the sad part is I don't know the half of it, because deep down, comparing myself to others of course, I still think I'm a good old water-bottle on the shelf at home.
Life is shaking me enough these days to know that the reigning principle of Philip is that "Philip needs Jesus."
I don't really know how to wrap this entry up, because I've been shaken up pretty bad recently, but it's just a comfort to know that Jesus' power-forgiveness-grace-stuff acts like a flame-thrower to my tea-cup of sin. Poof. Gone.
Now that I think about it, I guess I should be a little more shaken by his flame-thrower. I guess getting used to Jesus' truth-bombs and flame-thrower is part of this whole Christian walk thing. It just makes me kind of jumpy.
(Note on picture: I don't think Jesus was a monk. But it's the best I found when I typed in Jesus and flame thrower into Google images.)