Summary: Do we know who we are? With all of our hang-ups, challenges, gifts, warts and all, “THIS IS US!” Understanding our identity is essential for our health.
This Is US!
Pt. 3 - Grown Ups
“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” That was the declaration of the Ralph Ellison who was the author of the Invisible Man. Time and time again in Scripture we see folks who don't know who they are and they struggle and flounder and once they discover who they are their life is changed . . . Jacob to Israel. So many of us don't understand who we are and if Ralph Ellison is right, then we are not free we are bound. I believe the confusion about who we are results in the blood bought \from operating at the level of effectiveness, influence, and authority that is ours. So we began our study of what Jesus said about US by saying that this is US . . . blessed and then Square Pegs & Spotlights. As we continue this examination of US let me say this will be the most Scripture we cover in one setting and also the most brutal and blunt. Buckle up as Jesus tells us about us!
Did you know that in Maine there is a new adulting school for young adults? Recognizing that many young adults who have spent the majority of their time playing computer games and have no real social interaction can now be taught how to adult. Well, in light of what we are about to read welcome to adulting school for believers. He addresses four areas of our life.
“Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Law and you will only have trivialized yourself. But take it seriously, show the way for others, and you will find honor in the kingdom. Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom.
Area one . . . contentious relationships.
“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. “Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.
Area two . . . lust
“You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt. “Let’s not pretend this is easier than it really is. If you want to live a morally pure life, here’s what you have to do: You have to blind your right eye the moment you catch it in a lustful leer. You have to choose to live one-eyed or else be dumped on a moral trash pile. And you have to chop off your right hand the moment you notice it raised threateningly. Better a bloody stump than your entire being discarded for good in the dump. “Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure.
Area three . . . truth.
“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.