Questions come dressed in all kinds of reasons.
Questions can muse and ponder, struggle and scrape, or probe and pierce. There are questions that hurt, desperate for a healing touch. Others yearn for a word of wisdom to strengthen a floundering life. Still more questions seek answers contained in solid information.
Some questions are crafty, asking one thing but meaning another.And then there are the questions that argue, looking for loopholes and collecting reasons to prove a point.
The Insincere Lawyer
One day, an insincere lawyer, filled with the pride of “I know best,” lays out a trap of a question. This man…he is used to being the expert, respected as the authority.
He stands up only to look down.
The question sounds sincere. “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life” (Luke 10:25)?
Many truly want to know the answer to this question, but not this man who is confident in his position.
When We Ask…
Have we questioned God, inflated with good intentions and suppositions? Sincere on the surface, but down deep there is another motivation?
How many times has insincerity poisoned our hearts, all the while maintaining a facade of goodness?
You and I, we don’t know the intention of the heart that hides behind the words, disguised by the appearance of honesty. Jesus, crafter of our souls, knows the thoughts and intentions of every heart. There is no fooling God–and He will not be tricked–though we try in countless ways.
And neither did this man.
The question may come from the arrogance of pride, but Jesus answers with two simple questions.
“What is written in the Law? How does it read to you” (Luke 10:27)?
In other words, Jesus prompts the man to think through what Scripture says. “What does it say?” is often the first and best question we can bring to God’s words of life.
When we think we already know the answers, “What does it say?” can open the door to revelation and insight. “What does it mean to me?” slows us down long enough for words to fill with meaning that penetrates our assumptions and opinions.
With a holy pause, we wait on the Holy Spirit to reveal or remind us of living truth.
But not this man.
The lawyer replies with the words he has memorized since he was young. He’s heard them, read them, said them over and over until they mean nothing, stagnant and lifeless with the stench of hypocrisy.
The lawyer knows the answers but understands nothing. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:28).
With an unbelieving heart, he recites these words right into the face of God.
Just when I am tempted wag my finger and condemn this man… I roll my eyes and pat myself on the back with confidence that claims, “Thank God, I don’t respond to Jesus like this hypocrite.”
But I can’t get the words out of my mouth.
They wedge tight in my throat, and I am choking on conviction.
How many times have I reeled off the pat answer with the pride of self that smirks under the surface?
It can be easy to say the words, “I love God with all my heart…” and yet my thoughts are consumed with a thousand other things. My heart chases other gods and competing desires.
When Insincerity hits home…
Sometimes, I’m not so different from this insincere lawyer, and I cringe at the thought.
I want to be better than that.
I want to be superior to the blatant sin of insincerity. But the human heart is often wayward and self-preserving. We all have our moments, and Christ knows it.
Jesus answers insincerity with simple instruction that is the quickest way to God’s loving heart and open arms.
“You have answered correctly; do this and you will live ” (Luke 10:28).
- Love God with all that you are and all that you have. Everything.
- Every capacity that makes up your life.
- Every part of you that is stamped with the image of God.
- It is the obedience and the loving that brings life.
Love God with all your heart. All your soul. All your strength. All your mind.
What else is there?
Love God with your life.
How do we love God with our life?
What are you doing, the activities and responsibilities that add up to a day? Love God as you do it…all of it.
What are you feeling today, the emotions that shift and swing? Love God in the midst of those emotions…all of them.
What do you need today, the big and desperate as well as the small and mundane desires? Trust God and love Him with your needs. Every single one.
What are you enjoying today, the little blessings that bring a smile to your heart? Love God with your joy and delight.
What demands your strength today, the tasks and responsibilities that pile at your feet? Love God with your work.
What are you thinking? Open your mind and offer your mind with love and honesty.
As we learn to love God with our lives, He will break through every barrier of distraction, insincerity, and sin because we have invited Him in with love.
Oh yes, love God with your life.
How can you love God more today?
Find more devotions from the book of Luke: