Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Matthew 7:15-23


This warning that Jesus gives reminds us that things are not always as they seem. There are those who on the outside seem as if they are doing all the right things but in their heart there is a deep disconnection between their beliefs and actions.

In fact, all of us are guilty at times of trying to separate what we believe and how we live.

Stanley Hauerwas says:

“The temptation to separate the truth of what we believe from our lives is the result of our fear of being held accountable.”

(Excerpt from Stanley Hauerwas, SCM Theological Commentary on the Bible: Matthew (London: SCM, 2006), 90.

Isn’t this statement true? Being held accountable isn’t always easy, but it’s very important. That is why we celebrate Lent together as a community not as individuals. Temptation is always easier to resist together.

This passage in Matthew uses a metaphor of bearing fruit. It reminds us that our roots need to be grounded in the right place so that we may bear fruit (see Galatians 5). There is a beautiful Psalm that connects with this imagery:

Psalm 1

1Blessed are those

who do not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

2but who delight in the law of the Lord

and meditate on his law day and night.

3They are like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.

4Not so the wicked!

They are like chaff

that the wind blows away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will be destroyed. (TNIV)

So this Lent as we engage with the disciplines of prayer, giving and fasting may we produce good fruit to the glory of God.

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