The Heart of the Matter

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Yeshua said something we should take careful note of in our spiritual walk with God.

“Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! You pay your tithes of mint, dill and cumin; but you have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah — justice, mercy, trust. These are the things you should have attended to — without neglecting the others! Matthew 23:23. “You keep examining the Tanakh because you think that in it you have eternal life. Those very Scriptures bear witness to me, but you won’t come to me in order to have life!”” John 5:39-40

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the details surrounding something, such as performing good behavior, that we overlook the heart of the matter which is how to personally have a relationship with God and be good people. We should acknowledge that despite having some good beliefs and practices in some areas of life we could still greatly fall short spiritually in other ways when the core focus of our faith is off. Yeshua made it clear pointing out that the need to care for others does not mean one should discard the laws of God, but that there are spiritual priorities and if you neglect others you cannot really serve God.

The Jewish teacher Paul also made it clear. “I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don’t have love, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2 But it seems many believers have gotten this backwards, and act as if love is nothing and knowledge of doctrine is everything. Rather than seeing justice, mercy and faithfulness as the weightier matters many treat those as minor matters in favor of knowledge. And knowledge is good but that alone is not enough.

We should be careful not to make the same mistakes as some of the Torah teachers did in the past by reducing true religion to observing correct rituals such as Sabbath keeping and view sin avoidance as simply a matter of refraining from doing bad things while not ignoring that sin is not simply defined as breaking laws but as neglecting to do good. “Whoever knows what is right but doesn’t do it is sinning.” James 4:17. You cannot truly obey the laws of God without showing the love for God in your life.

“Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:10. Talking about how to help those who are suffering in society is not the being distracted from the truth of scripture, ignoring it is. Thinking about serving others more is not a distraction from the law of God; it is the law of God and it matter that you keep it. The Torah says “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5.

And the Lord of the Torah teaches, “Don’t be corrupt when administering justice. Never give special favors to poor people, and never show preference to important people. Judge your neighbor fairly…Never get revenge. Never hold a grudge against any of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:15-18 Don’t forget the importance have having correct doctrine, but in seeking correct doctrine don’t neglect the importance of having a correct heart.

Picture originally found here

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