The balancing act… A heart thing….

Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach at the First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk. The sermon title was \”The Balancing Act,\” taken from Matthew 5:19–20. Jesus says,

\”Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.\” (NIV)

This passage stirs several possibilities to ponder:

  1. The possibility of saying one thing and mean another;
  2. The possibility of being physically visible in your home but not fully present;
  3. The possibility of saying “I love you” but really don’t;
  4. The possibility of being present in church without the heart being there;
  5. The possibility of doing all of the right religious acts but fail in possessing a strong relationship with God.
The Gospel passage above suggests a difference between \”doing\” and \”being;\” it urges us to surpass merely \”doing.\”
\”Doing\” is necessary to \”be,\” but \”being\” is not necessary to \”do.\” For us to enter the kingdom of heaven, our righteousness must go beyond simply \”doing\” and embrace the fullness of Christ\’s way of \”being\” in the world.
Hence, \”the balancing act!\”
The balancing act has to do with embracing the fullness of God\’s Word from the heart.
Christ calls for us to balance \”doing good\” with \”being good\” from the heart. Too many of us are visible in action but absent of full presence. Despite physical visibility in religious activity, if our hearts are not all in, what good is it?
One suggested application follows:
Sunday was Father\’s Day; so, I seized the moment to let fathers know how important their full presence means in their children lives.
A father\’s physical visibility in the home is not enough. Christian fathers must go beyond physical visibility to full presence in the home. That will make a world of a difference in kingdom living.
Thankfully, my dad was fully present in our family life and that made all the difference in my siblings and my success.
To let our righteousness surpass the Pharisees and teachers of the law, our lives must balance knowing and doing; claiming and possessing, and physical and heart-felt presence.
This week, let\’s maximize our faith by balancing our sincere actions with faithful being.
Dr. Antipas
Dr. Antipas L. Harris
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