Read: Matthew 15
Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.” (Matthew 15:12-14, NLT)
On a fairly regular basis, Jesus got under people’s skin. In fact, he flat out annoyed them—and it didn’t bother him in the least. He didn’t come to earth to win a popularity contest, he came to get in the way of people’s headlong plunge into hell. That meant he had to tell them the truth—even if it ruffled their feathers. By the way, he is still doing that today, and chances are, he’s fixing to ruffle your feathers, too (if he hasn’t already)!
So why is Jesus so annoying? How come he doesn’t always play nice? What is it that makes him so willing to irritate sinners and saints—especially saints—alike? I’ve already given the answer, but let me restate it once again:
Jesus is more committed to your holiness than he is concerned about your happiness!
You see, it is holiness that will get you into heaven and keep you out of hell. Now that’s not just my opinion, that’s a direct quote from the Word of God. Hebrews 12:14 (NLT) very clearly says, “work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.”
That’s why Jesus is so willing to get up in your grill and tell it like it is. He wants you to be holy, just as he is holy. That’s why he says things that are uncomfortable, that will make you squirm, that are frankly, offensive…things like,
“Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.” (John 6:53, NLT)
“You will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.” (Luke 13:3, NLT)
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NLT)
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21, NLT)
“All who love me will do what I say…Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me.” (John 14:23-24, NLT)
And on and on the list of Jesus’ annoying sayings goes. Now of course, Jesus is not annoying for annoyance sake. He says things that make us uncomfortable because he loves us, and wants us to partake of his holiness. In fact, in the greatest act of love imaginable, he died on the cross so that you and I could enter through his sacrifice into the very holiness that will put us and keep us in right standing with a holy God. That is called imputed holiness—which Jesus offers as a free gift, received only and completely by grace through faith.
What a deal—Jesus paid the full price for my holiness, and all I have to do is turn to him in full repentance of my sins, full acceptance of his death and resurrection, full surrender to his Lordship over my life, and I am declared holy. Moreover, I am then declared legally holy because I now stand before God in the holiness of Jesus Christ.
Now there is one more thing: Hebrews 12:14 said we are to “work at living a holy life”. Since Jesus has graciously done so very much to make us holy, we ought to gladly and thankfully make every effort (this is not about earning, mind you, you can’t earn what you’ve already been freely given) to live a life of complete and utter holiness before God.
Before you groan about this “holiness” thing—truthfully, it’s not such a bad or burdensome deal. All you really need to do, in light of what has already been done for you, is to gratefully love God will all our heart, mind, and body. Then once you’ve done that, just do as you like.
But just remember, to keep you loving God as he deserves, expect Jesus to annoy you along the way!
“How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing…it is irresistible.” ~C.S. Lewis
What If God Took Over?
Augustine said, “love God and do what you want.” Are there things you are doing that betray your love for God? Why not take a step today to jettison those behaviors or thought patterns from your life? Start with repentance, then ask for God’s help, and think about confessing your faults to a trusted brother or sister so that you can become accountable for growth in holiness in those particular areas.