Galatians 5:16-17

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17

Friday, May 6, 2011

Which is the greatest commandment?

I’m reading a book that spent some time on looking at how Jesus made such a big deal of sifting the religiosity of the law in Torah down to two commandments that should always reign and can cover every other law: Love God, and Love others.

Yesterday, something happened, that in revisiting, made me sadly realize I err here.

A family friend recently experienced a called-off engagement. One of them recently began walking with the Lord - and I think that played a big part in the decision to call it off. My mom, sister and I were talking about it, and we were talking about how hard it must be for the heartbroken one - who has no idea why the other person called it off. Then, without pausing to consider, I said, “That is really sad, but I think Mark made a good decision in taking seriously his relationship with God and recognizing the seriousness of this stuff. Can you imagine marrying someone who doesn’t know God?”

They responded with comments pointing to: “Billy, how could you be so insensitive, she could change, and Mark hasn’t even been going to church that long himself, who is he to do something like this - they were engaged!”

At the time, the reaction surprised me. But in looking back - it was really dumb to say that. It was spurred by a wrong understanding as to how we’re to influence others towards Christ. My mind was juggling my sister really needing to learn how important being equally yoked is (and I thought it was going to happen from me saying one sentence); an awareness that I need to grow in firmness and standing firm in God’s truth more boldly; and a corrupt heart wanting to appear godly and right :-/ just like the pharisees. That desire to boast in my understanding of the importance of God’s law came out in an unsympathetic attitude toward a person who’s world had just been turned upside down, and instead of lovingly encouraging my sister, I threatened her with, “Kelly, you better take your relationship with God more seriously or this might happen to you.”

It was picture perfect pharisee.

Walking around with a plank in my eye, thinking I’m supposed to be a kingdom cop and make sure everyone knows what’s right and what God wants them to do. That’s not my job - thankfully - it’s a crappy one.

Following Christ can’t result in a loveless, middle finger to the world, “I’m right you’re wrong,” “I’m pursuing God, so get the heck out of my way” overzealousness. It’s such a backwards theology. “For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17

Lord, help us learn how to live in the delicate balance of loving like Jesus did.


  1. Word. Billy this is crazy good. I often find myself responding to circumstances that paint such a sour portrait of who God has created in us. Never is it purposed out of utter arrogance YET over time I step into awarenesses that point to that actually being the root of it all. I respond in a way that screams, Caydin has the right answer and Im worthy to be listened to. yuck. Pridefulness in who I am compared to someone else who is seemingly so far off Gods radar. Its beyond my understanding as to why God still deems me worthy to exemplify the very essence of who He is. May we see the hope that He desires to make us a purebride as we continue in these cycles of awareness, healing and response.

    this was encouraging for me to read and relate to.

  2. DUDE!! This was ME like 2 weeks ago with my dad and brother...weird!

    So convicting afterwards...
    I felt this deep pit in my stomach and conviction really slapped me gently as I read through the bible...the Truth.

    I was reading through 1 Timothy and right after I got into a theological, nonsense fight with my dad and brother about "authentic Christianity". After rebuking my dad, I read the verse in 1Timothy about not rebuking an older man, but encouraging him. Ouch. Hit me hard but thanks be to God who lovingly shows us the Truth and points out our dumb thoughts and fleshly opinions.

  3. I can so fall into the pharisee role too. God can awaken our hearts to see that and use the situations to learn from. It sounds like that happened for you. Thanks for being honest to share this Billy. I am encouraged to know that other Christians struggle with the same things and that as we strive to follow and be like Christ we can come alongside one another and say 'I can relate and lets continue to purse after Him.' :)

  4. Delicate balance is exactly right. What you said wasn't wrong, per se, but neither was it sensitive.

    Jesus said all kinds of things that didn't seem particularly sensitive, but he said them with a clear understanding of who he was and what he was about. He always had that understanding in front of him. I think it's when we lose that sense, that understanding ofnour identity that moments like this happen. No longer are we loving people who speak the truth, we are insensitive Pharisees who manipulate.

    Sometimes they look the same on the outside, but there is a vast space between them.

  5. Amen :) Thank you for the story. May we both continue to learn how to love better and speak God's truth out boldy.

  6. I like that you said, "delicate balance," because that is PRECISELY what it is. We need to be so sensitive and loving to the people around us. Yes, we are called to be equally yoked, but that doesn't mean we need to be less loving to those who aren't. My brother is dating someone who doesn't love the Lord and it has been SUCH a challenge to love her (knowing that she isn't supporting my brother in his walk with Christ.) BUT, that is such a FAIL. ugh... it's so hard to love like Jesus. I am so glad that you went through this, such a wonderful lesson and such growth. Your seeking heart is very obvious.

  7. First of all, you blow me away with each and every one of your blogs. I LOVE them! They are so insightful and thought provoking that I so desperately need. Thank you for what you wrote. I too have felt God putting on my heart to love Him and love others. Period. How easily we can fall into the trap of thinking we know more than others or that we are better. I pray that we can continue to be reminded of our faults and help us to be more like Him every day.

  8. oh, billy, i just love reading your blog. thank you so much for your honesty, your humility in admitting where you're wrong, and your discernment in finding those things. you see and accept them with a desire and willingness to try to change, but at the same time (at least from my very limited perspective) it seems that you don't berate yourself or lose yourself in shame. it's such a lovely example of how we, as people who cannot be perfect, can live like Christ in small ways. also, marriage is a big deal. if someone wants to call off the wedding, it really shouldn't even matter why. i know the heartbreak and pain is very real, but i think it doesn't even compare to the heartbreak and pain that would come with a life committed to someone you shouldn't be with. you are loved, billy. thank you.