Monday, January 20, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 31: Using God

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 31, January 20, 2014
Readings: Psalm 30, Genesis 27:41-46, Genesis 28:1-9, 2 Chronicles 4, Luke 20:45-47, Luke 21:1-38

And in the hearing of all the people he said to his disciples, "Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation." (Luke 20:45-47)

Jesus has some strong words for the crowds regarding the scribes. These were part of the religious leadership. They were the most knowledgable, they were responsible for the maintenance of God's scripture. They copied, word for word, over and over again, the Word of God so that it would last for generations. So you think that they would know it, forward and backward. And perhaps they did. But they certainly didn't know how to apply it to their own lives.

And don't we have folks doing the same? "Religious Rockstars," televangelists, those who go on talk shows and make lots of money, living grandly off their religious fame? Surely we do. And don't get me wrong, success is not the problem. It's what we do with our success, our wealth, our fame. Do we use it for the glory of God? To further His kingdom? Or do we use it to further our kingdom? 

Jesus minces no words about how the scribes are using God for their own personal gain. Despite their religious appearance, despite the honors they are given by people, God knows their hearts. He sees them using people (widows) and religion (long prayers) for self-gratification. And the end result is harsh: "They will receive the greater condemnation." Regardless of earthly appearances, these "religious leaders" are going to face God's wrath.

And we are in danger of walking the same path. We are blessed with the ability to learn and grow in our knowledge of God. We may even be gifted with wealth, or earthly fame. But we must remember that everything we have is from God, and to be used for His purposes. Our knowledge, our wealth, our fame, is His. 

Every good and perfect gift comes from God. We have been given the opportunity to use it for His glory and to further His kingdom. Without God, everything we do and believe is just religion. Just for ourselves. And those who don't know God see this. They call us hypocrites. They ask why they would believe in a religion whose members are so unlike the God they claim to believe in. What will you do with what God has given you? Will you serve yourself, or serve God?

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