Law, Humanity, and Matthew 12.

The Pharisees were absolutely committed to the law. In 1 Maccabees 2:35-8, we see just how far they would actually go. Under Judas Maccabaeus, they refused to fight on the Sabbath against Antiochus when he sent a detail of men to slaughter them in the caves in the wilderness.

“Let us all die in our innocence; heaven and earth testify for us that you are killing us unjustly.” 38 So they attacked them on the sabbath, and they died, with their wives and children and livestock, to the number of a thousand persons. 

Fast forward to Matthew 12:9-14, which ends with the Pharisees (the religious elite) planning to kill Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath. Jesus was indeed in violation of the law.

 he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to bring charges against Jesus, they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” 

11 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 

13 Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus. 

It was permitted that a man could receive medical treatment to keep him from getting worse on the Sabbath, but he could not be made better. You could apply a bandage, but no ointment or salve. The penalty for breaking the Sabbath was death (Numbers 15:32-36).


Let us be clear, Jesus did not need to heal that man on the Sabbath. His hand was paralyzed and likely had been so for many years. He would be just as sick tomorrow. Jesus could have easily kept the law and healed the man. But in the eyes of Jesus, any law that kept someone from being made whole, any law that kept someone in suffering or extended their pain even for one day was to be ignored. Healing, love, and care always came first.

The dichotomy is clear:
Pharisees would rather see death than see the law broken.
Jesus would rather die under the weight of the law than allow another to suffer needlessly.


Recommended Reading:
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Does Marrying a Divorced Person Really Make You an Adulterer? A Contextual Re-examination of Matthew 5

        Jesus’ teaching on divorce in Matthew 5 has been used by the evangelical church at large as a sort of guide for the Christian ethic of divorce. Many teach that Jesus’ teaching is that divorce is only acceptable in cases of adultery, forcing many to stay in abusive relationships and others to suffer in strife for decades, out of a desire to be obedient to the teachings of Christ. It is also understood that Jesus forbids marrying some one who has been divorce, banishing those who have suffered a divorce to a life lived alone.

        But is this really what Jesus was teaching his followers? Are victims of abuse forced to stay in the marriage because of a lack of sexual immorality? Are divorcees really forbidden from marriage again? I would argue that this is not the case at all and I am going to attempt to lay out an argument form scripture that points to a different conclusion, but one that I believe is in line with the intention that Jesus had in his teachings on divorce.

       We will start with and focus mostly on Matthew 5, but will also look briefly at other NT passages as well, including Matthew 19 and Pauls words in 1 Corinthians 7:15.

Matthew 5:31-32
31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

The Setting of the text

        These two verses sit within a segment of the Sermon on the Mount centered on what it truly means to “fulfill the law.” At its center the “Sermon on the Mount” insists that the motive with which we act matters even more-so than the action itself (This is the righteousness which surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the law that Jesus talks about in Mt 5:20. It is not mere obedience in the flesh, but acting from a heart of love). Jesus seems to be focusing in on laws which have been perverted from their original intent, and we shall see that Christ’s teachings on divorce are a prime example of this.

Jesus begins with the proclamation: “It has been said.” He then quotes a passage from the Torah (Deut 24:1-4):

“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house.”

        This passage explicitly lays out the rules to divorce for the Israelites in the ancient world. It lists the commands that a woman should receive a certificate of divorce from her husband as a legal means of dissolving or annulling the marriage contract. To better understand the necessity of this law and its relationship Matthew 5:31-32, we must first take a look at the context in which Deuteronomy 24 was written.

Marriage and Divorce in the Ancient World

        The ancient world was patriarchal. Women were a commodity, not considered equal with men and were entirely at the disposal of their husbands and fathers. Women could neither initiate marriage nor divorce. Marriage was initiated by a man, usually the woman’s father, and the betrothal was often was motivated by financial reasons (i.e. the financial strengthening of one house by joining it to another). Divorce was easy and swift. “A woman,” said the Rabbinic law, “may be divorced with or without her will; but a man only with his will.” A divorced woman was considered undesirable and would often be left with no resources and no one to care for her. J. Goldingay, writes: “When a husband initiates a divorce, it leaves the woman in an ambiguous position. Her rights need protecting.”


        This need for protection is likely the reason for the command that husbands are to write a certificate of divorce for the women they were divorcing. The Torah assumes that divorce in a society is inevitable and therefore the “certificate of divorce” law seeks the minimization of suffering for the woman being divorced by offering protection for her. The certificate of divorce removes her shame and makes clear that she is not an adulteress, while also offering legal protection from her husbands family. And, according to Goldingay, “The assumption that her husband provides her with divorce papers making clear her status is one way the Torah seeks to offer that protection.”

        Jesus emphasized this point in Matthew 19 when the pharisees approached and asked him if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife “for any reason.” Jesus’ reply enlightens the reader about the intentions of the law:

“Jesus replied, ‘Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard’.”

        Jesus claims that the need for the instructions for divorce in the Torah arise from a hardness of heart and a lack of compassion for the women who were being discarded without legal protection and without a hope of finding stability in their lives again. Women abandoned in this manner regularly ended up as sex workers and prostitutes just to survive. David Instone-Brewer, writing about divorce women in the first century, claims that “Unless you have grown sons who are strong enough to work the land (without the help of tractors and weed killer), you have very few choices. There are few professions for women.”

        In light of the context of this passage, both the necessity for and the justice of the commands in Deuteronomy 24 become apparent. Divorced women needed protection, and this law gave it to them.

        But if the law as written is already concerned for justice, why is Jesus amending it? Why does he include it in his “you have heard it said” statements, and then proceed to correct it and even go into more in-depth detail than the Mosaic law? The surprising answer to that question becomes apparent in light of a broader conversation that was happening in the 1st century and a conversation into which Jesus enters, and even takes sides. It was a debate about the ethics of divorce.

Divorce in the Second Temple period (530-70CE)

        There were several schools of Jewish law in the 1st century, and at the two opposite ends of the spectrum there was the school of Hillel, which was considered far more liberal and generous in practice, and there was the school of Shammai, the more stringent and conservative school. At the center of Hillel focus after loving God was loving your neighbor as yourself. Hillel likely played more “fast-and-loose” with the Torah than any other school in its day. The Shammai were the exact opposite. They were strict and austere, they followed the law to the very letter and even built a hedge of laws around the most important laws to ensure that none were broken.

        Until just before the first century, there was an almost universal understanding of how to interpret the divorce commands in Deuteronomy 24, simply put: divorce was only permitted in instances of sexual immorality. So the limits that Moses had places upon divorce were observed and followed.

        Leading up to the time of Christ, and during his own lifetime, other views had begun to emerge concerning the ethics of divorce and alternate interpretations of Deuteronomy 24. The disagreement was mainly between the two schools. It started just a few decades before Jesus, and it was centered around Hillel’s new interpretation of what verse 1 meant when it said; “if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her….” His new view of divorce was called the “Any Cause” divorce. The phrase comes from his reading of verse 1 as a man divorcing his wife “because he has found a cause of sexual immorality.” He concluded that due to the spurious use of the word “cause”, this must be referring to something other than sexual immorality that was equally grounds for divorce.

        The followers of Hillel began teaching that a woman could be divorced for any reason whatsoever, basically overturning the exact reasoning behind the original Mosaic law. They had found a loophole, and it would begin to be exploited to extreme degrees. Keener notes, “The School of Hillel understood the passage to mean that a man could divorce his wife for any cause, even burning his toast (“any matter”-m. Gittin 9:10; Sipre Deut. 269.1.1).” Hillel believed that as long as a man gave his wife a certificate of divorce, then he wasn’t breaking the Mosaic law.

        As was his way, Hillel had found a way to apply the scriptures liberally, except this time it was to great harm. Women began to be thrown out and divorced for any and every reason that the men found cause, and many women found themselves without protection, honor, and provisions for their daily life. And many of them ended found themselves entering into sex work and became as adulterers.

        This new view, however, was not accepted by the disciples of Shammai. According to Instone-Brewer, Shammai claims that Hillel “had interpreted the Scriptures wrongly and that the whole phrase ‘a cause of sexual immorality’ meant nothing more than the ground of sexual immorality; it did not mean two grounds: sexual immorality, and ‘Any Cause’.” The followers of Shammai, in their attempt to follow the strict letter of the law, also maintain the integrity of this law. Divorce, to them, is only justified on the grounds of sexual immorality.

Hearing Jesus’ answer anew.

        When Jesus says : “You have heard it said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce’” he was stepping into the middle of a 1st-century debate on the interpretation of the law of Moses, the Torah. He does so boldly and unafraid of the consequences. Interestingly, he also is unafraid to take the side against those whom he was accustomed to siding with. Jesus answer is clear and precise, with no ambiguity: “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

        Several times throughout scriptures Jesus has sided with Hillel on various issues (The Golden Rule, the welcoming of non-Jewish people, castigating pharisees for apparent excessive legalism, etc.) seemingly because he emphasized grace and love over the law. But here, he sides with Shammai. Jesus bravely rises above earthly categories and insists instead on love and justice. Jesus says that the man who divorces his wife in this way makes her a victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” In other words: A man who casts out a woman unmercifully because he has decided that his vows before God no longer matter is making an adulteress out of her. She is doomed for the streets, the slums, and the sex trade. For no man in that day would take in a woman who bares that kind of shame and who has been thrown out because she now bares the shame of an adulteress. Few men would take her shame upon himself.

Jesus’ answer is Mercy, not condemnation

        Many have read this passage as nothing more than a command for Christians to follow regarding divorce. They have understood it to mean simply:

“If there is infidelity, you may divorce. But you may never marry again. Also, do not marry another who has been divorced. Both offenses are equal to adultery!”

        But, as we have seen, that was not the intention with which Jesus entered into this ancient discussion about the law. Jesus was confronting the injustice of selfish men who were taking advantage of women, using them, having their way with them, and then abandoning them through simple “any cause” divorce.

        Jesus was not calling divorced women “adulteresses,” and he was not calling the men who married them “adulterers”. He was confronting the systemic evil that was being taught and perpetuated by the religious leaders of his day. He was righting the wrongs of “any cause” divorce in his day.

        This is further reinforced when we look at other places in the New Testament where divorce is permitted for different reasons. The Apostle Paul, for instance, allows for divorce in the event that someone cannot find peace in their marriage (1 Cor 7:15) because of being married to a non-believer (“The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace”). Paul obviously permits divorce in instances other than infidelity alone. He cites intense strife (i.e. lack of peace) as a plausible motive to dissolve a marriage. So if Jesus only allows for divorce in cases of infidelity, then we have pitted Paul against Jesus, and that ought not be. 

         If we as followers of Jesus are to find an ethic of divorce that is consistent with not only  Matthew 5 but also Matthew 19, Deuteronomy 24, and 1 Corinthians 7, then we must enter into the context of Christ’s own day. We must look to the evils that he was speaking against, namely the abuses of patriarchy that the religious leaders perpetuated and encouraged, as the objects of condemnation. We must also identify and confront any lack of compassion for women, and any a hardness of heart that would allow a man to throw away his wife, thereby bringing shame and suffering upon her. We must also confront these issues in our own day, and join those standing against them.


        I have met many pastors who refuse to perform the wedding ceremony of one who has been divorced, and I know that many (if not most) evangelical denominations do not allow their pastors to perform ceremonies for divorce people, and even the denomination in which I am ordained forbids it. I believe this is a poor and uninformed decision that is not based upon a firm grasp of the ancient scriptures. They are ignoring the context in which Jesus spoke these words and are likely hurting or even shaming those who have already suffered great pain and are trying to start again. The ethic of Jesus sermon on the mount is centered on love, restoration and giving hope to the hopeless. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ fully displays that nothing and no one is too far gone. Re-marriage can be a life-giving picture of resurrection and both the pastor and the church have a crucial part to play in that re-birth.

        When the church at large condemns one who pursues a divorce for reasons other than “infidelity”, when they pile shame on top of suffering, and when they castigate someone for not sticking the abuse out and waiting for God to intervene, they are missing the point of Jesus teachings.

        While divorce is always a tragedy, the writers of Deuteronomy didn’t ignore it’s realities. Instead, they sought to minimize the damage that it causes to the most vulnerable party. I need not present an exhaustive list of acceptable reasons for divorce, but abuse (either physical or emotional) is certainly one of them.

        Jesus did indeed give us a law and a rule concerning divorce and remarriage, and they do not include condemnation or shunning. The law is grace, the rule is love and the goal is restoration.

For more info, please see the books below, especially Instone-Brewer.


 The New International Version. (2011). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Barclay, William. The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. 3rd ed. edition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002.

Wright, Tom. Matthew, Part 1: Chapters 1-15. 2 edition. London : Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004. (pg 41)

Keener, Craig S. A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew. Wm.B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 1999.

 Barclay, William. 1: The Gospel of Matthew Volume I. Revised, Updated edition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. (pp. 174-175)

 Goldingay, John. Numbers and Deuteronomy. Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition. (p. 177)

 Instone-Brewer, David. Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities. 2007 or Later Printing edition. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 2006.

Life Under the Roman Empire in the 1st Century


This essay on the first century is meant to provide a simple surface level overview of the context in which the New Testament was written. It’s not riveting, and it wasn’t meant to be. But I believe it is incredibly important to understand that Jesus and the early Christians lived and wrote in a very different world form our own, and our understanding of scriptures will change based upon our understanding of its context.

The Cultural Background of the New Testament:
Life Under the Roman Empire in the 1st Century

The Roman household was highly patriarchal and centered, not around blood relatives, but a cooperation of men and women brought together under the authority of one man called the “paterfamilias”. He was the father of the unit called a “
familia”. He held ultimate power in the house and could buy, sell or even kill his slaves. Everyone in the familia worked for the good of the paterfamilias and their own success in life was dependent upon his own.

Children were expected to display unconditional obedience at all times. Children were governed by the Roman family law patriapotesta or “power of the father,” which gave him absolute power to punish as he liked, to put them in chains, to sell them into slavery or kill them in their youth*. Children were to honor their fathers as one would honor a god. Fathers were strict as an expression of love, and mothers were to be more sensitive and nurturing**.

Marriages were arranged, and women were commonly married in their teens and were usually married to much older men. The woman was considered the property of her father and ownership passed from the father to the husband upon being wed, a custom that was rooted in the Roman Patria potesta. Marriages were usually economically motivated, and contracts were drawn up beforehand which dealt with financial issues such as inheritance***. 

For the Roman citizen, honor was held in high regard above all else, and it was defended at any cost, even his very life. The accumulation of honor meant the furthering of your career and stature among your peers. The Paterfamilias’ honor was held in high regard by the entire familia and they all worked to maintain the honor of their leader. Being challenged by a subordinate was a challenge to your very honor, and brought great shame. A man would feel a great responsibility to recover honor that was lost or shame that had come upon them.

Patriotism was also held in incredibly high regard amongst the Romans, especially for those in the service of the Empire like an official, a governor, or a soldier.  A Roman who was loyal to the Emperor was called “amicus” to them and was considered trustworthy. Friends of Rome, or “Amici Populi Romani,” were people or states who had loyalty to the Emperor. And any who were not regarded as friends of the Empire could not advance in status and would find their career in jeopardy. Even the rumor of disloyalty would be devastating.

Roman life centered around the cities and the Empire went to great lengths to encourage urban life. Large amounts of money were spent on public plays, feasts, and on arenas where the people could be entertained by violent gladiator matches, all in the pursuit of keeping the Roman citizens happy.

Citizens of Rome were entitled specific rights that slaves, resident aliens, and Jews were not. Citizens could vote and appeal to Caesar when they felt they were being mistreated. Moreover, they were exempt from certain types punishments that were considered humiliating and thus beneath that of a citizen of Rome (like crucifixion)*4. 

The Jews in the first century were under the occupation of Rome. They were monotheistic and worshiped their ancient God, Yahweh, rejecting the pantheon of gods of the Gentile world. Idolatry was a great offense to the Jews and they considered any sculpted images, whether of deities or natural beings, to be idols. The Gentiles were quite fond of art, especially sculptures, and decorated their cities with the statues and paintings of, not only created things, but also the divine beings whom they worshiped. The presence of Gentile craven images in Jewish cities was a source of great friction between them.

While there were Jews in the diaspora who had learned to live quite comfortably under the empire, most lived in Jewish communities that made concerted efforts to separate themselves from their barbarian counterparts. They did not take part in Roman life. They did not wear the same clothes, shave their beards, worship Roman gods, or enter into Roman houses. Doing so would make them “unclean,” meaning that they could not continue with their usual worship habits until they were ritually cleansed again, according to their Mosaic laws. 

The Jews believe that the Romans were making their cities unclean just by living there and different sects of Judaism had different solutions for this problem. The Zealots concluded that the answer was to wage war against their occupiers, and would regularly commit assassinations by hiding daggers in their clothing and attacking individual soldiers and officials who were in large crowds in public spaces, slipping away in the chaos that ensued. Others, like the Sadducees, believed that they could partner with the empire and negotiate a better life under the umbrella of their safety. In Jesus day, they controlled the priesthood and most of the political affairs. They were more open to Hellenistic influence than most of the other sects*5. The Pharisees were vocal in their dissent of any Gentile occupation and sometimes resorted to outbursts of violence. They managed the synagogue life *6 and were the leaders of middle and lower class peasant Jews.  The Essenes, while holding views similar to those of the Pharisees, separated themselves altogether by moving into the wilderness to practice their religion unabated. Almost all believed that one day they would be free of their oppressors and would have their own nation where Yahweh would finally rule, the questions was whether to wage war themselves or wait for God to accomplish it.

Outside of those four main sects of 1st century Judaism was several smaller sects that are lesser known but do offer some significant to NT context. Among them are the Herodians who were supporters of the pro-Roman Herod dynasty*7, and the Am-ha-Eretz, or, “the people of the land” who were mostly poor farmers who were against Roman rule and supported the Pharisees. 

In addition to these sects, there was a group called the Samaritans, an off-shoot of the Jews who remained around Schechem when the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed.  They revised the Hebrew scriptures to argue their own place in Israel’s story and built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim that could be seen from Schechem. They were rejected by the Jewish leaders as discredited and there were significant hostilities between the two.


* Barclay, William. The Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians. 3rd ed. edition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002. p. 202

** Burge, Gary. The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Context. Zondervan; unknown edition (February 2, 2009), n.d. p.91

*** Ibid. p.90

*4) Ibid. p.  87-88

*5) Strauss, Mark L. Four Portraits, One Jesus: A Survey of Jesus and the Gospels. 3.2.2007 edition. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2007. p.131

*6) Ibid. p. 132

*7)  Ibid. p. 132



There are no Logos on Tombstones

When I was twenty two I had enough interest in God not to get myself into trouble, but not enough to understand what life is about. In your early twenties the world is ahead of you, the great accomplishments of your life are yet to be accomplished, your story could go anywhere.

Half way through your thirties you start to wake up, if you are lucky. You start to realize that you might actually be, at this moment, what you will ever be. Some  respond with divorce, some with faith crisis, some with apathy, some with nostalgia and attempting to prolong adolescence even longer.

But there are some who awaken to something altogether different. Some who understand what The Teacher, the author of Ecclesiastes is saying, and those who grasp the story of Jesus and the gospel awaken to something incredibly important. It is something that you will notice when you walk through any cemetery on earth. There are no logo’s on tombstones. There are no corporate symbols, company names, or government seals. No slogans, no church names, no non-profit kudos. And there will not be one on yours. What you find on tombstones is the description of those whom you loved, and who loved you. “Beloved Father”, “Beloved Daughter”, “Loved by all who knew them”… and so on.

My tombstone will not have the Watermark Logo on it. It will have the inscription that my loved ones put there.  People are more important than organizations and brands. People are eternal, organizations expand and dissipate and disappear like the morning fog. tombstone

In your early twenties you want favor in the eyes of people, you want favor in the eyes of God, and you want happiness. The problem is that you have been told that what you build with your hands is how you find meaning, purpose and favor, but it’s not. It is what you build with your heart.

King Solomon wrote:

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.”

At the heart of the gospel is a reminder that you are not the sum of your actions or deeds, yet most people’s lives do not reflect that. Love and faithfulness to God and others will give you everything that you are seeking from your accomplishments, but it will also bring you happiness and joy that can not be found anywhere else. We know, deep down, what matters, but we don’t live like we do.

Protect what matters. For those of you in your twenties, practice love and faithfulness. When you wake up in your thirties, forties, or fifties, you will have found what your heart was seeking, but you will have obtained it in a way that you never thought you could. And it will stay with you.

Lets Talk about Your Soul-Crushing Calendar.

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Every single Sunday morning I ask countless people the american greeting question: “Hey, how are things?”. And ninety nine point nine percent of the time I receive an answer similar to “Man, things are so busy!”. Everyone is so busy. When you look into the eyes of other people you can see the glazed over look of a life that is filled with wall to wall obstacles, appointments and meetings. So many hurdles to wade through from the moment the feet hit the floor until the head finally hits the pillow in exhaustion. Yet we talk about how busy we are with our chests pushed out, as if we were waiting for the medal of american respect to be pinned to our chests because, yes… we are so very busy.

A relative of mine works for a ministry where there are weekly meetings that he has secretly dubbed “busy time”. One by one each person at the table takes their turn spinning tales of busy-ness. Each one greater than the last until they all can smile and affirm together that, yes, they are the busiest people they know.

On the other hand I have far too many conversations after Sunday worship gatherings that are filled with statements like “I just don’t feel close to God” or “I don’t have time to read and study, to meditate and exercise and grow”.

We always seem to have time for everyone else’s needs, but never for our own. We have time to help everyone else build what they want to build, but never time to build ourselves into what we want and need to become.

I have a small phrase that I want to give you. I think it will be a gift to you. And I think this little phrase can change your life. Are you ready? Here we go:

Your calendar is not about what you need to get done, it is about the kind of person that you want to be.

Your calendar should represent the you of your dreams. When I hear the laments of people who are unhappy with who they are right now, the state of their spiritual lives, the mass of chaos that has become their soul, I don’t need to wonder what their calendar for the last 6 months looked like. I already know.

They have been pouring themselves out. For everyone. For friends and family and bosses and co-workers, and even for God. The color coded blocks that pepper their ical like shotgun blasts represent a thousand little pieces of their heart and soul that they are giving away to others. Sometimes out of love, sometimes out of obligation, and sometimes out of fear.

And the blank spaces in their calendar represent the times that, if nothing else comes up, just might be times when they can refill their souls that have been running on fumes for months, if not years. When did it become okay, and even a badge of honor, to wear exhaustion around necks? When did it become acceptable to give the reigns of your life over to the tyranny of the whims of other people?

I made a decision at some point over the last couple of years to stop the madness. And it all started with a question:

What kind of person do you want to be in six months?

And let me follow that up with another question:

Does your calendar represent a movement towards becoming that person?

If not, you need to delete it and start over.

You see, your life shouldn’t be found in the blank spaces. Your personal growth and health should be first and foremost laid out in the boldest colors. And they should be locked in and immoveable.

Open your calendar today and ask yourself a couple of questions:

Do you want a better prayer life? Yes? Then show me exactly where on your calendar you have designated time for prayer, for reading books on prayer, for praying with others.

Do you want to have a deeper understanding of theology and spirituality? Show me where on your calendar you have designated times for reading, for meeting with your pastor or elders, or for taking classes on those particular subjects.

Do you want to have a better marriage? A deeper and more active sex life? A more intimate relationship with your spouse? So when were you planning on pursuing them? If you are just waiting for things to happen, you are forgetting that you are already struggling to find time for yourself and your God… weren’t those things just supposed to “happen” as well?

How about rest? Is vacation an afterthought? Are you putting money away every week in order to go to the mountains or the ocean and fill yourself up? Or are you just hoping that you will stumble into some extra days off and then struggle to stressfully scrape up some cash to do so? You don’t really believe that you will come back filled up when you stressed over money the entire time, do you?

Six months from now you will be someone else. And it’s your choice who that person will be.

If you don’t tell your time how it will be spent, then other people will. I promise you. Do you know why? Because you have no reason to say no. Your calendar is wide open, and your achilles heal is exposed. But your defense mechanism is the simple phrase: “I’m sorry, my calendar is booked at that time”.

One thing that I have noticed is that no one ever questions the calendar. If you tell them “I will be playing candyland with my daughter”, they will become irritated at your lack of commitment to whatever it is that they deem important. BUT, if your reply is “The Calendar is booked”  then there is no questions. The calendar is gospel to them, because they are busy, and busyness is honorable. Candyland is not.

So may your calendar reflect your sanctification. Your movement towards a life that reflects Jesus. The desires of your heart to live a meaningful life. To learn, to love, to grow, and to build a life that is filled with grace and peace.

Your calendar is not a reflection of what you need to get done. It is a well lit path towards kind of person that you will become. So fill ‘er up.