But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum? ” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”
Luke 5:30-32 NLT
Who are we sitting down to dinner with?
How do we think of ourselves, as righteous enough to point fingers at others – or as those who are still searching out the sin in our lives that needs to be radiated and overcome by Christ who lives in us?
We are safest from falling into spiritual pride by understanding we are children at the feet of our Savior and Lord in loving grattitude, that we are servants washing the feet of others in loving forgiveness, mercy, love, and kindness.
Pride tells us to surround ourselves with important people, to make ourselves “appear” righteous to others. We can even become prideful about our own humility, thinking to ourselves, “Look how good of a person I am for doing such a kind thing.” And overlooking the deceit in our hearts that turns even our good deeds into a trap for pride.
Yes, we are wretched sinners in comparison to a Holy God. But He chooses to sit at the table with us. He knows our value by our hearts, by those hidden desires that truly drive us in what we think, say, and do. And He doesn’t ask us to have perfect understanding of theology, He doesn’t ask us to fill our lives from the time we awake to the time we rest with good works – no, He doesn’t tell us to go out and earn our way into heaven. He comes and dines with us sinners who are washed in His blood, and we are overcome by the fact that there is even a place at the table for us. Then, He tells us to go out and love others as He has loved us.
I can be incomplete in my theology and understanding of the things of God, but still make it into heaven, because who can fully comprehend the enormity of God? Even our attempts to confine God to our own understanding is vanity.
But my heart must be His. This heart thing is either a game winner or a game ender for us friends. We are judged by our heart, by our desires – because those reflect what we truly believe about God. Faith results in change within our heart. Studying this Word of God reveals the cancer that is in our heart.
If we are a Child of God, we use it to cut out what is diseased and deadly and we receive the healing that results in love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control. We are a slave to our master, and we seek to follow in His footsteps, laying down our lives for others.
If we are a child of darknes, it reveals the bitterness and pride and selfishness and envy and jealousy and all those things rebellious to God that we are clinging to because we are not willing to see them removed – as we cling to the very things that will drag us into the pit with our master.
So with either situation, we are sitting amongst our sin, in the middle of our perfectly imperfect lives – and it is not the quantity of visible sin or level to which you have gone to hide it from others that gets you a seat at the table – it is where you are looking.
Christ has been lifted up on the cross for us to look to and be saved, just like when Moses lifted the serpent on a stick so that anyone who looked at it when they were bitten would not die.
Faith is your salvation. And love is its consequence. Not religious practice, but Love. Do you have love? Do you know how to love like Christ? Can you teach me to love like God? If so, then you are spiritually mature and I need your sharpening, friend. Let’s equip one another together for this battle.
I am not seeking to dine with those steeped in religious practice and theology with hardened hearts, because they seek not the kingdom of God, they seek not to be a servant of Almighty God – instead, they seek their own kingdom.
I am seeking those humble sinners who might learn to be bold in the Word of God even as it humbles them to their knees – those who know the message is for the correction needed in ourselves foremost, and shared with others in case they might find value as we did ourselves.
Come, sinners seeking Christ, dine with me, your brother – let us dine with Christ and sing His praises, honoring Him and not one another.
Are you willing to be like Christ and dine with me?