I Am Jonah

God examines your heart more than your practices; does your heart feel for lost people?

Mercy is Still a Must
More Important Matters

Scripture Reading: Matthew 23:34-40

Key Verse: Matthew 23:23
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. “

Jesus taught us that God does not look at all His commands as equally important. When a Pharisee was out to trick Jesus, he asked a seemingly tough question:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” (Matthew 22:36)

If you did not already know Jesus’s answer, what would you have guessed it to be? I would have guessed that God sees all His commandments as equally important! If Jesus would have said: “There are only ten commands, there is not one greater than another” I would not have been surprised.

But Jesus said, without hesitation, that the top two commandments are love God and love people! In today’s Key Verse, Jesus affirms that principle once again. He looks at the Pharisees and notes their enthusiastic practice of tithing, but points out three more important matters: justice, mercy, and faithfulness!

Jesus was not destroying the practice of tithing, but he wanted His followers to realize God examines our hearts more than our practices.

As you think about the daily spiritual disciplines of your life, are you doing okay? I hope so because daily prayer, Bible reading, and personal purity is important!

But even more important is your heart for the people around you! Are you treating them with integrity? Are you being merciful to them? Are you a faithful friend? These are the “more important matters” to God.

Father, help me to prioritize properly Your values in my daily life! I present myself to You as a living sacrifice! In Jesus’s Name, amen.

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