Mark 7: Good Reasons to Disobey God?

“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ . . .”

“But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition.” (Mark 7:9-13)

prickly_350I wonder if the Pharisees regretted bringing up the issue of Jesus’ disciples not following the “traditions” by washing their hands before they ate. Jesus turned their own smug question against them, demonstrating here how they had elevated good intentions into traditions with the force of Law – and ended up missing God’s heart by a mile.

Even if we don’t think of ourselves as legalists, we’re all capable of hiding behind “the good” to keep from doing what God really wants for us. We can use the good idea of protecting our character by not associating with people of low character to avoid ever having to make relationships with unbelievers and tell them about Jesus. And we can do the same in reverse, using the good idea of evangelism as an excuse to lower our standards for personal holiness.

That’s just one example. It takes brutal self-honesty to avoid falling in line with the Pharisees by using “good” rules to serve ourselves instead of God.

Think: Can you think of other ways in which we use good-sounding, well-intentioned, man-made rules to avoid doing what God really wants for us, to avoid obeying him, even?

Pray: Ask God to give you the courage to be brutally honest with yourself about your real motives for doing “good” things. Ask him to help you to never come up with good reasons to disobey him.

Do: Notice this week what reasons people in your life (or in your media consumption) give for doing wrong things. How often do they point to their good intentions?