by: Staci Stallings
Last time we talked about the two trees — the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. How the Tree of Life is rooted in having a Relationship with God and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is rooted in the rules.
Today, I want to explore the concept of a house divided. Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand and that a man cannot serve two masters.
I am coming to realize that the “divide” is this very one we’ve been discussing…
What is your life based upon? A relationship with God? Or upon the rules and “the law”?
It cannot be both. You cannot express fealty to both. You cannot serve both masters.
And boy, does this one trip up a LOT of well-meaning Christians!
Think about your Christian walk. At first you probably felt the love of the Lord. Then you started learning “the rules” and God started feeling like a very difficult task master.
The rules tell us that this whole Christian thing is about our behavior. It’s based on US.
That’s why that tree is not called The Tree of Evil. It’s called the Tree of the Knowledge of GOOD and Evil. That means we can be doing good and still be missing the mark because we’re beholden to the rules, rather than beholding our Lamb.
Our focus is off. Our perspective is wrong.
I think THIS is the central meaning of Jesus saying, “Oh, ye of little faith, why do you doubt?”
A “rules” person will say something like YOU should have more faith, and it’s your fault you don’t have enough faith.
But here’s the translation of this phrase that traipsed through me this morning…
“Oh, good grief. Do you have such little trust in God’s love for you? Really? Okay. Let me show you one more time what having FAITH, having a real relationship with God, looks like.”
And then He calmed the seas and the wind. Then He made the leper clean and the blind man see.
This is a concept so deep that I’m going to have trouble putting it into words.
Our faith is not about believing God will or won’t or can or can’t. Our FAITH is in the relationship we have with God.
Jesus performed miracles not on His own strength but because of His relationship with the Father.
John 14:8-12 lays out Jesus’ reliance on His RELATIONSHIP with His Father this way:
8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”
When we say Jesus is our role model or that we are following or followers of Jesus, we should NEVER mean we are trying on our own strength, ability, and effort to be “perfect like He was.” That’s a one-way ticket to a disaster you don’t want to be a part of.
What we need to learn to transform our thinking to instead is this:
Jesus rooted His whole life in His RELATIONSHIP with God, His Father. Jesus invited us into that relationship when He taught us the Lord’s Prayer — “Our Father…”
He was saying, “Look, God is not just MY Father. He’s YOURS too! Claim that relationship. Make it CENTRAL to your life. And as you do so, He says, we will do greater works even than Jesus because when we do them in the Name of Jesus… we’re rooting ourselves in the relationship of God, us, and Jesus. In fact, this goes one step further in that Jesus sent HIS Spirit to “dwell within us.”
So in a very real way, we are an integral part of the relationship of the Holy Trinity!
Or we can choose to live by the rules. Separated from God. Operating on sin, shame, fear, and death.
It really IS our choice.
But do not be deceived into thinking you can have it both ways. You truly can not. A house divided will not stand. You cannot serve two masters.
God sets before you now life and death. The choice is yours.