As a fitness instructor, I like to keep my clients’ workouts varied and interesting in order to prevent workout boredom blues. It’s true, there are only so many things one can do for the biceps, but I do what I can to jazz things up. I tend to design programs in four week segments, with the idea that each segment will help the client progress first in stability and then in strength. Periodically, I bring my clients back to a workout that focuses on basic stability moves. I like to do this as a reminder on how quickly we can lose our stability and how important it is to go back to the basics to make certain the stable foundation doesn’t become compromised.
This is much like our journey in this life as Christians. The longer we have been Christians, there is a tendency to forget about the basics – the essential basics: we have been saved by the immeasurable love and grace of God. We can go deep into Scriptures, read commentaries, participate in a bible study group, or even go to seminary. All of these things sound fabulous to me. I really enjoy reading the bible and I learn something new nearly every time. However, all of what we know, learn and read is based on the amazing fact that without God sacrificing His Son Jesus for us, our destination would be hell. Instead, because Jesus, who is without sin and who is one with God His father, died on the cross, He bore the punishment for our sins – all of our sins – everyone. Anyone who believes in Him is saved from eternal damnation and is guaranteed eternal life with Him. That is the gospel truth.
There’s a whole lot of judging going on in our world. We are quick to point out others’ flaws and foibles while displaying some made up righteous indignation, and then they are announced to the world as people shake their heads and “tsk, tsk” the offender. Today’s verses, likely the first we ever learned, show us that even Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, but instead to save us. He commands us, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matthew 7:1). It’s pretty clear Jesus wants us to display grace just as He did, not condemnation. When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment of all, He responded with the top two – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40 ESV). In other words, our top priorities are to love God and love others, not flaunt how spiritual and “good” we are.
I encourage anyone to delve into the bible. Read it, because there is life in God’s Word. It is the best way to get to know God and to learn to live as He has called us to live. Do remember, though, that we have His Word, because of His love and grace – something every single one of us needs.