“My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn.” —Psalm 51:19
When the Lord called Jonah to preach repentance to the Ninevites, Jonah disobeyed and ran away to Tarshish. After spending three days in the belly of a whale, Jonah reconsidered and went to Nineveh. He obeyed God, but according to the letter of the law, not its spirit (see 2 Cor 3:6). His heart wasn’t in it. He didn’t want the Ninevites to repent and be saved.
We sometimes obey God when our hearts are not in it. Some don’t commit adultery only because they fear the consequences or don’t have the opportunity. They’re obeying the letter of the law but not its spirit. God’s Word says: “Like a eunuch lusting for intimacy with a maiden is he who does right under compulsion” (Sir 20:3).
Many people go to Mass on Sunday only because it’s their “Sunday obligation.” This is good, but the Lord calls us to a deep personal relationship with Him. Many businesses avoid expressing racism because they don’t want to be taken to court or get bad publicity, while the CEOs of these businesses remain prejudiced.
T.S. Eliot said: “The greatest treason is to do the right thing for the wrong reason” (Murder in the Cathedral). Obey both the letter and spirit of the law.
Prayer: Father, may my love for You motivate my every action and decision (2 Cor 5:14).
Promise: “A heart contrite and humbled, O God, You will not spurn.” —Ps 51:19
Praise: A near-death experience convinced Martin to repent and sin no more. He is now closer to Jesus than ever before.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.) (God created men and women in His image which gives all great dignity. Not until Jesus did all people regard women with the same respect as men. Join us Mar. 19-20 at our Retreat Center in Adams County, OH for a retreat, Women in the Gospel of Luke. Call 513-373-2397 or register at www.presentationministries.com.)
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