40 Days with Jesus – November 2nd – Luke 11:37-54
I am a checklist kind of person. I have a monthly to-do list, which becomes a weekly to-do list, which sometimes magically morphs into a daily check-list. At home, I ask my wife to make me a checklist of things she wants me to do around the house (though it doesn’t mean they always get done). I even have a running checklist of my role as a father and husband in my head for things like: Did I give my wife at least 5 minutes of quality listening time when I got home from work? Did I intentionally spend quality time (even if for just a few minutes) with both of my kids today? Did I do the right amount of housework today (though my wife might disagree with what exactly the right amount may be, at least I make an attempt to do something!)?
A few years back, I began to realize that my relationship with Jesus was revolving around a checklist.
- Did I have a 10 minute prayer time? Check!
- Did I read a chapter in the Bible? Check!
- Did I give my 10% tithe to the church this week? Check!
- Did I do my best to be nice to people? Check! (Is that even Biblical?!)
The more I read about Jesus in the Bible and the more I got to know him personally, the more I realized Jesus is not a checklist kind of person. There was nothing wrong with my spiritual checklist on the outside, but there was serious issues with my motivation for “doing” my Christian faith.
Jesus is less concerned about my “doing” the Christian life than me “being” in a relationship with him. Jesus wants to know me, not just get a few minutes of my attention each day so I can check him off my checklist. I remember when the mirror turned one day and I thought, “What if Jesus had me on a checklist?” Even, “What if my wife and kids’ relationship with me were based on a checklist?” I never want to be on the receiving end of a relationship like that. So why would I be content to treat my best friend and wife this way, much less my Savior?
In the passage today, Jesus deals with the religious leaders of the day. He chastises them for living out their faith based on a self-made spiritual checklist from the brain instead of out of a love for Jesus and others that was rooted in the heart. This is what Jesus was implying when he said in Luke 11:39-40: “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?”
Jesus desires us to trust him with our hearts, live for him with our hearts, and love others with our hearts. He tells us that this is the key to knowing him, and he rebukes the Pharisees for not living this out, even charging them with being a hindrance to others knowing him in Luke 11:52: “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.”
When it comes to relationships, I’m still learning to put aside the checklists, but instead, live by my heart, of which Christ is in control. Let me challenge you to do the same today.
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