Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 20 October 2015

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ Mark 11, verses 13-17.

So much has been written about these verses; what more could I possibly add? Jesus’ righteous anger; cleansing the House of God; infiltration of sin; den of robbers versus house of prayer: what more could someone like me hope to add to the constructive discourse on this story?

Just this: Jesus does this every day in my life.

I don’t let myself be defined by my past any longer.   That’s one of the gifts of faith in Christ.   As a believer, you GET TO turn from those things you’ve done that once defined you. You don’t have to:   we get to. It’s not that all earthly penalty of them goes away. Sometimes we have to live out the consequences of the things we once did that we’re now ashamed of; at least that’s how things have played out with me.   Lies, drunkenness, anger, judgments, adultery, fornication, profanity, arrogance, sloth:   I still feel the effects of my past sins in my daily life today.

Instead, every day Jesus overturns those tables in my heart and confronts me with them when the Ghosts of Sins Past try to knock on the door of my psyche. He didn’t make me to be a vessel for sin even though that’s what I have made my life into.   No, Jesus made me to fulfill a specific purpose in His greater plan for my life and the lives of those around me. He created me to live a life in communion with Him, both now and in the eternity to come.   He gave me talents, abilities, and circumstances so that I might learn to use them in service to others for Him.   Whether it’s my job, my home, my family, my possessions, even my very private thoughts, Jesus blesses me so that I might use those blessings to further His purposes in the lives of those around me.

Every day, then, He reaches into my heart and does battle for me against the forces of sin, guilt, and regret that would overtake me if I were left on my own. He teaches me through His word, through the words of others, and through ways I can’t even begin to tabulate to turn back regret with praise, to resist temptation with focusing on thankfulness and gratitude, to combat my sinful faults with prayers.   When memories of guilty pleasures haunt me, He encourages me through His Spirit to focus on praying for others, on bringing to Him my innermost thoughts, on helping me root out what’s really on my mind in those moments.

It’s a daily struggle, and I sometimes am weary of fighting the battle.   My body and soul are supposed to be temples for God’s splendor even as I have desecrated them with my hateful little sins.   Thanks be to Him that He comes to me seven times seventy seven times to overturn the tables of sin that I build inside this temple.

Lord, thank You for fighting for me daily, for blessing me in ways I don’t deserve, for helping me to battle the temptations of sin.

Read Mark 11, verses 12-25.


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