Make Straight a Highway for Our God!
Mark 6: 14-29 It's amazing to think about the predicaments we can get ourselves into when we respond in anger instead of love, and let pride and arrogance rule us; or when we try to go it alone without asking for God’s shepherding. In today’s scripture, we see the result of a particular man's pride and arrogance, which leads to the death of John the Baptist. John said to the Pharisees and Sadducees, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' I tell you that from these stones God can raise up children of Abraham.” John goes on to say, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come One who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." King Herod was a secular hedonist, which is a person who seeks only after their own pleasure, and he was consumed by his incestuous passions, and pride and arrogance. This scripture is all about life without God; life in the fast lane; life with the secular rulers of the time of Jesus. Notice that in the Gospel of Mark, before and after today’s scripture, we see miracles happening. But, in this scripture, there are no miracles, no love, and no hope for those who hang out with Herod Antipas, one of the three sons of Herod the Great. Herod's pride and arrogance came between his sense of reason and good sense, and he ordered John to be killed so that he wouldn't lose face among his friends. What a reason to kill someone; so you won't lose face in front of your friends! The arrogance and earthly passions that Herod harbored had become idols that he worshipped. Incest, addictive lusts, sinful desires, blood-thirsty intrigue, drugs and drunken orgies: quite a combination! Herod had let his addictive passions and lusts become idols to him, idols that possessed and ruled him. We do that too, don't we? We let things we lust after becoming idols and rule us, don't we? And, in case you’re wondering what I'm talking about, let me name a few. There's smoking, drugs and abuse of God’s love; there’s food, booze, Internet porn, hate and anger, illicit sex, television, secular materialism and my favorite, caffeine; things that can negatively remake us into addicts. God asks us to think; and come to what is meaningful for our own personal heart, mind, soul and spirit. The message that God speaks to us translates into the invitation that God has for us. It's the meaning that's given in God's Word to us that God writes on our hearts, mind, soul and spirit. Anything less is built around man's misguided belief in absolute certainty and can only lead to death and destruction. If Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, does that mean that we should walk in lockstep, and believe without questioning what we’re spoon fed, as some biblical selectivists would have us do? No: it means that as Christians, we use the freedom that Jesus Christ has given us through His resurrection, to read, study, question and learn from our Bible whatever message that God has for us as individuals. That is what God asks us to do: listen and look for signs that the Holy Spirit gives us. God will speak to you, if you allow His still, small voice into your heart of hearts. There's a lesson for us in the Proverb, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." We should not be afraid to take back any decision that we know is wrong. It’s OK to admit that we’re wrong: after all, we are all imperfect human beings. If a decision we make might bring about the hurting or deaths of other people, then believe me, it's OK to change your mind! Even God changed His mind, in Jeremiah 26:19, so this is a revelation that speaks to each one of us when we need our spirits renewed. It is a revelation to let go, and let God be the centerpiece of your life. It is to know that the love of Jesus Christ is so radically fantastic, so far beyond any knowledge that we may cling to, that there is no other logical choice but to choose to let God into the temple of your heart, soul, mind and body. By doing so, you will live with the Holy One present with you always and live a life that has meaning and purpose. You will live, blessed by God, and dance under the wings of the King of Glory.Type your paragraph here.