Are you tired? Take this time to rest. Relax every part of yourself. Breathe slowly. Don’t be prideful or stubborn. Be ready for what God has before you today.
Romans 2:17-29 (NRSV)
But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast of your relation to God and know his will and determine what is best because you are instructed in the law, and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth, you, then, that teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You that forbid adultery, do you commit adultery? You that abhor idols, do you rob temples? You that boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So, if those who are uncircumcised keep the requirements of the law, will not their uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you that have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart—it is spiritual and not literal. Such a person receives praise not from others but from God.
Recently I read a story about a pompous, upstanding man in one of the most prestigious churches in town. He was meticulous about his appearance and held fast to many religious rules. He was very bothered by the appearance and behavior of the boys in his congregation, so (to his credit) he volunteered to become their Sunday school teacher. He decided to begin his first day of class by teaching the boys the importance of living the Christian life, so he opened with this question: “Why do people call me a Christian?” After an awkward pause, one young boy piped up and answered, “Could it be because they don’t know you?”
Paul is saying the same thing in this passage. In order to avoid thinking this passage is just for those who are Jewish, we could substitute the word religious for Jew. Just as the Jews were called to be a guide to the blind, as followers of Christ we are to lead a dark world to the true source of light. However, too often the example we live does not model that of our Christ.
May the words of Mahatma Ghandi never be said of us, “Oh, I don’t reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Dear God, being a Christian is more than obeying the letter of the law; it is a change of heart produced by your Spirit. Fill us daily with that Spirit, Lord, so that those who see us see you. Amen.
Go with God.