Pic 1: our rebellious cat. Pic 2: obeying when she has to
Meet Allie, our loved feline who marvelously expresses some modern morality. For years, Sheila adamantly opposed cats being on our bed. Finally, she softened enough to allow Allie on, IF she kept to a pad near the bottom. See pic 2 for a sample. She knows the pad is her pad. But look at the second pic—she went off the reservation.
On this day, we woke and rose, with Allie remaining on her throne. A bit later I returned to make the bed, and found Allie looking at me, on the sheets and blanket, not the pad. That’s pic 1. I walked over to her pad, called her name and touched her pad, and she calmly strolled over and settled in. That’s pic 2.
Isn’t that modern morality? We’ve become pragmatic—whatever we want that we can get away with becomes good. Allie knows the rules, but breaks them when she can get away with it. Ultimate pragmatism, with no real moral sense. But that’s OK, she’s a cat. I expect little else. And yes, our culture has the same moral base. We do whatever we can get away with, and we see the consequences.
But let’s get closer to home. We followers of Jesus often act like Allie and our culture. We explain away Bible commands when they don’t match what we want, and if we think we can get away with it. And if we get caught, like Allie, our repentance lasts until the guilt and memory subside and we have another opportunity. Some time back I got involved with soft core porn on the internet, and thought I had it hidden. Until Sheila woke up in the night and caught me. I thank God for that.
I knew what God said, but rationalized it away. Mostly. Think with me for a moment of other ways we ignore or minimize God’s commands because they don’t match our desires. God calls us to sacrifice ourselves for others, and we inflict our self interest on them. God calls us to sacrificially give in the realm of finances, and we share our spare change. God calls us to serve in ministry, and we build our own kingdoms. God calls us to connect with a local fellowship, and we “worship” on the golf course or our couch.
One verse in particularly haunts me, “And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition” (Mark 7:13, emphasis added, NLT). One definition for “tradition” means what we permit, what we allow. In our lives, what do we permit ourselves to do that cancels the word of God?
I hope that troubles you like it does me.
Kick Starting the Application
Think and pray a bit—do you currently permit yourself to do something that you know God’s word addresses? If so, what does that reveal about your priorities? When you permit it, how does that make you feel? Can we truly get away with this? How does choosing self or God impact our connection with him?