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First Things First

It is so easy to know what we should do. Often we either refuse to do it or are too weak and/or lack the wisdom to change or try and temper the need to change with good works. This struggle is real. The mindsets of this world often produce strongholds that prohibit our ability to overcome that which holds our lives hostage.


When Jesus speaks the Truth, He does so in such a way that He goes straight to the heart of the matter, to the core, to the root. When Jesus speaks to us, it is always with an invitation to become self-aware, meaning, to think about the relevancy of the Truth that He is revealing and then either accept or reject it.


Luke 10:25-28

When this lawyer gave the reply above to Jesus, the response was recorded in verse 28. o do to inherit everlasting life [that is, to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]? Jesus said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it? And he (a certain lawyer) replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself."

And Jesus said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live [enjoy active, blessed, endless life in the kingdom of God]."


Jesus engaged this man to think by asking him, "How do you read it?" We were create to think and choose with an opportunity to choose blessings or curses. With every encounter Jesus reveals Truth to us. Jesus helps us understand the hidden things especially the things that we have hidden from ourselves.


Deuteronomy 30:16-20

"[If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which] I command you today, to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land into which you go to possess. But if your [mind and] heart turn away and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish, and you shall not live long in the land which you pass over the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness this day against you that I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live."


Mark 4:24

It is clear that this man was not prepared in this moment to obey the Lord otherwise he would not have responded with a question that was clearly intended to defend his disobedience and allow him to remain in it. In verse 28, "And he, determined to acquit himself of reproach, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?" This man felt that he had right to not love certain neighbors and wanted Jesus to agree with him.


We do not know the history of this man but we do know that Jesus chose a relevant parable to instruct and challenge this man. Jesus had a specific reason for choosing the parable details. This details elude to the root issue whether it was the fear of risk; the man's own priorities and perceived time constraints; or whether it was because that Smartian were common enemies; or perhaps a personal offense by a Smartian(s) in this man's past.


The road in the parable was road from Jerusalem to Jericho which was known as the "bloody pass". Jesus may have chosen this particular road for his parable to represent a fear of physical threat or danger or an emotional threat. Regardless of which scenario, the reason Jesus chose these details was to speak healing and truth and to give this man life, and life more abundantly in the here and now. Jesus knew this man's focus was first on proving him wrong and then when this lawyer received a reproach his focus became on his attempt to justified his disobedience to the law in regards to his neighbor and his unforgiveness.


The commandment was all about loving God first and loving Him with 100% of all who we are (soul, heart, and mind) and expressing that love through loving others as we love ourselves. Loving others demands that we forgive! The obstacle that keeps us from being able to fulfill this commandment and experiencing the power and authority over sin is unforgiveness.


Forgiveness is about abiding in Christ Jesus and allowing the Gospel to have full reign and allowing the Holy Spirit full access to our entire being, our existence. To harbor malice and unforgiveness grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit.


Matthew 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses.


The Holy Spirit convicts and leads us to forgive. I believe that blasphemy against the Spirit is in fact unforgiveness. The Bible clearly states that if we do not forgive others (and ourselves) their trespasses neither will the Father forgive us ours. For it is Christ Jesus who purchased every man's sin on the cross and only the Lord has the right NOT to forgive.


The Scriptures say to us, "For Christ did not please Himself [gave no thought to His own interests]; but, as it is written, The reproaches and abuses of those who reproached and abused you fell on Me." Romans 15:3


When we refuse to forgive, we are in fact rejecting the work of Christ Jesus sacrifice on the cross. Unforgiveness is like kryptonite, it renders us powerless to overcome sin. It weakens us. Unforgiveness contaminates our hearts and minds, steals our souls, and hinders our ability to love the Lord our God with all of our hearts, minds, soul and strength.


We praise the Lord that when he reveals the Truth, He not only gives us instruction, the right answers but the authority and power to overcome sin when we obey.


1 John 1:9

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]


Matthew 28:18

Jesus approached and, breaking the silence, said to them, All authority (all power of rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.

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