Friday, October 7, 2016

Getting to the Root

You might as well know it … to tell the “tooth and nothing but the tooth” …

I don’t like going to the dentist.  Oh it’s nothing personal, but I have a low tolerance when it comes to mouth pain.

Having to return for a second time within a month was no picnic, so I was quite apprehensive on a recent visit, especially after my last appointment.   
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Shakin’ in My Shoes
I was acting like a “big” girl waiting for the doctor to inject Novocain into my gums to numb my mouth.  After a few minutes my body began doing things unbecoming to a proper lady as it reacted to the super caffeine laced medication. 
Without giving me notice as to what it was about to do, the entire left part of my body began shaking uncontrollably.  While I was doing a lateral jig I literally shook out of my shoes.  My husband had to pick them up and put them back on my feet.
Preparing for the next round of injections left me somewhat hesitant to say the least.  Unlike last time at the dentist’s office this visit (Why do we call it that?  It’s not like we are actually “visiting”, however they did give me a muffin once!) went really quickly and I even got a little souvenir  - my tooth!
When it was all over I asked the doctor if I could have the tooth thinking it was an unusual request.  Apparently not so; I merely wanted it because I figured there was a story in it somewhere.  I was right.
 
Getting to the Root
Thought it was pretty clever using my hair thingy!
Propping myself up on the bed that night, I took my tooth out of the little manila package the dental technician gave me. 
At first glance I couldn’t figure out why it was pulled.  To me it looked pretty good and only needed a little polishing on the front.  It was smooth, the top was fine … hmm, why did this need to go?  Then I heard in my spirit, “Turn it over.”
 
To my surprise the back of the tooth had a black hole where you could see it was rotting.  It wasn’t visible from the front, but sure enough, it was there. 
Even though I couldn’t see it, the doctor and everyone else in that room did.  What was hidden was now revealed and I couldn’t do a thing about it, but to submit to the truth.
I understood why the dentist made the decision to remove that tooth. It took some time, but finally the doctor extracted it including the root.  Although it was painful, it had to be done in order to prevent anything that could possibly do harm to the rest of my mouth.
 
Answers They Didn’t Expect
When I was studying for this week’s post God showed me something that tied my experience at the dentist in with the Body of Christ.  It’s not a new subject, but one that has always been in play.  Hypocrisy.
In picking up from last week’s study if the people following Jesus didn’t get offended yet, wait for it … calling them hypocrites would do it for sure.
Matthew chapter 15 describes how hypocrisy was running rampant in the synagogues and things were about to hit the roof.  The church leaders (scribes, translators and Pharisees) were watching the ministry of Christ for some time, and had followed Him from town to town looking for ways to discredit the Master’s teachings.
Now back in Jerusalem the religious rulers finally felt there was something concrete they could confront Jesus with concerning His doctrine and methods in teaching.  They questioned why His disciples disobeyed and continually broke old tradition laws in the custom of cleansing before they entered the temple or eating. 
Rather than answering, Jesus said something they didn’t expect:  

“Why do you break God’s commands by your ridiculous manmade traditions?  The prophet Isaiah was right about you who give lip service, but your hearts are far from Me.  Your worship to God is a mockery because you teach people that these manmade rules are really commandments from God.”  (verses 3-9 emphasis mine) 
 

Does Religion Outrank Righteousness?
Jesus then turned to explain to the rest of the crowd that was gathered the list of things that they had been doing in the name of “God”, but were actually instilled by their leaders.  Their form of religion isn’t righteous at all, nor is it ordained by God.
Sometimes we think we’re honoring God by doing things we deem as “religious” to make people think we are godly, but God knows our actions are only a front and aren’t from the heart.
He spoke of the “secret things” people do that are hidden from the world, which makes them hypocrites and not true followers.  True followers and disciples believe Jesus and the scriptures.  They don't go against God with religious tradition or self-made rules that permit them to sin because they have regarded it okay in their own eyes.
To Jesus everything we do, even our worship, is in vain if we don’t really believe. (vs.19)  After the Lord finished speaking to the people the disciples sensed His message didn’t go over big with the crowd.  Speaking to Jesus they said, “Do You realize that what you said really offended the Pharisees?”  (vs.12)  Of course the Master knew that calling a spade a spade would upset people, because no one wants to be referred to as a hypocrite.
Jesus said that anyone who isn’t truly His disciple/follower will be revealed and plucked out (pulled) by the roots.  They are rotten like the tooth that decayed and had to be pulled out root and all.  It was worthless, no good and needed to go.  He went on to say for us not to waste our time on people who would rather keep tradition over serving Him, calling them the blind leading the blind and both will fall into the ditch of hell. (vs.13-14)
 
It Begins in the Heart
Just after Jesus gave that information to the crowd, Peter asked for Him to explain how people aren’t sinning by what they eat.  Clearly he felt that Jesus really didn’t mean what He said, and perhaps they missed the actual meaning of the discipleship lesson.  Still amazed by their uncertainty of His teachings, He answered Peter’s question.
Everything we do in life has a seed that starts in the hearts of men.  If we water that seed with evil thoughts, eventually our actions and words will be revealed as wickedness.  Our actions defile man, not what we eat or the church’s “this is the way we do it around here” practices.
All sin begins with a thought in the heart before it manifests into our behavior.  Like that tooth, we may try to hide it or think it’s hidden but eventually all will see our sin and hypocrisy. 

“… But the words you speak come from the heart — that’s what defiles you.  For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.  

These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you." (vs. 18-20) 

Is there anything you are trying to keep secret that you know is sin?  In the end it will be rooted up and Christ will reveal the hypocrite.

This Week’s Challenge:
Rooting Out Hypocrisy 

No one likes to think of themselves as having anything rotten in them.  Maybe there’s a little spiritual dirt or a few dust bunnies in the closet, but surely nothing that is “sin” lurking around our hearts.
Our challenge this week will not be a pretty one, because it will have us looking deeper into our hearts to root out the nastys … things that defile and cause Christians to be hypocrites of faith.
Plotting to get someone back for the way they hurt us, lying, cheating on a spouse, having sex or living with someone before marriage, snagging supplies from the company, stealing (especially from your parents) or spreading gossip are only of few things “believers” are doing and they all add up to false discipleship.  I didn’t call it a spade of hypocrisy, Jesus did.
Maybe you don’t fall into any of those situations and that’s great.  However, you still judge people who aren’t in your denomination or follow certain methods set in your church doctrine.  Ask yourself, do the traditions or practices violate the commandments of God in any way?  If so, there’s something you can do about it right now. Repent.
You are probably wondering where God’s favor comes into all of this, especially since I haven’t mentioned it so far.  Something that is wonderful about being a disciple/follower/believer in Christ is that He gives us grace – unmerited favor to repent (ask for forgiveness) and get rid of sin at the root.  
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(1 John 1:9  NKJV) 

Being followers of Jesus also gives us permission to ask the Lord anything without being fearful of being ridiculed or embarrassed.  James 1:5 reminds us that if we lack wisdom or answers, all we need to do is ask the Lord and He will tell us what we need to know.
When Peter approached Jesus with his question the Lord didn’t tell him he was stupid or should have known what He meant.  He answered the question which helped the disciples understand what it means to be a hypocrite as a believer. 
It’s pretty embarrassing showing you that tooth, but sometimes life gets a bit ugly doesn’t it?  Right now my mouth is a little uncomfortable because of having a tooth pulled, but my heart is feeling pretty good after getting rid of things that may have been rotting away at my spirit. 
Now it’s your turn to get honest with God, others and yourself by getting to the root of some behaviors.  Go before the Lord in prayer and ask God to “turn your tooth around” so to speak, revealing the unhealthy part of your spiritual journey and continue to be discipled by Jesus.  Don’t worry about your unclean hands or heart, Jesus will supply the sanitizer! 



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Until next time, embrace God’s unmerited favor!

Check out my new book progress this week.
 

“Repent and receive favor for a clean heart towards Me.”
Jesus Christ 

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Note: Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

... and yes the word "discipled" isn't a word used by the world, but that of believers. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

What’s New This Week: Click on the photo or link.


4-part series from Ephesians 5:8-21.  4 CDs. Approx. 2 hours and 55 minutes. 

In This Series:

Why We All Hate Hypocrisy (Ephesians 5:1-6)
How to Overcome Hypocrisy In Your Heart (Ephesians 5:17-18)
How to Overcome Hypocrisy In Your Public Life (Ephesians 5:19-20)
How to Overcome Hypocrisy In Your Private Life (Ephesians 5:19-20)
 


Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. 
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible.
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Nothing but the Tooth  Hypocrite Sign  Matthew 15:18  Lying
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.

Dentist, Forgiveness, Daily Favor Blog, Favored1, Favor, Hypocrisy, Christian Living, Salvation, Chip Ingram, Repent

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