Third plate regret — pies and piety

Matthew 15

Yeah. Whatev’.


My apologies for the brief hiatus.  I believe the post-Thanksgiving meal lethargy got the best of me.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we’re blessed beyond reason for having the privilege of a gargantuan Thanksgiving dinner, but sometimes/often we take it too far.  But the food looks so good — you can’t help it. You know the first plate won’t be enough — it’s more like sampling. You want to make sure the stuffing is worthy of seconds, and your mom is insisting you try SOME of your aunt’s homemade cranberry sauce.

And then plate two is about filling up on your favorites. As usual, the green bean casserole is a hit, so that’s automatic, along with a little bit more turkey, and maybe another scoop of delectable Jell-O salad, because you know it won’t last much longer, and it’s not that filling, really.

This brings us to the third plate. You know you’ve had enough, but you always want just a little more. So you put just a LITTLE more green bean casserole on your plate, and perhaps a half scoop of stuffing.  By the end of this one, you’re nauseous.  “What have I done?” you ask.   It’s the plate of regret.

We worry about our behavior quite often.  And when we’re in a funk, we are pretty sure God is disappointed.

The Pharisees were very concerned about their behavior.  In fact, they created an entire book of law apart from the Bible to keep themselves in check. They felt that God might be disappointed if at any point they disobeyed the law, so they created even more laws to hold them even more closely to obedience.

While this is a noble standard, maintaining perfection is altogether impossible.

Jesus noticed this and addressed it with the Jewish leaders.  Jesus recognized the immense chasm between human self-righteousness and His version of purity.  He knew true righteousness was impossible without Him.

And this requires a cleanliness within.  I don’t necessarily mean taking a few laxatives or going vegan — that’s all up to you.  But know that it is not what goes into you that defiles you, but what comes out.

Of course, garbage in equates to garbage out.  Plate number three is still going to result in an extended time on the john. Perhaps a laxative might be necessary at that point.

But don’t expect a behavior from within yourself to produce purity.  There is only one source: He is Jesus, the Living Water.  It is only He who can make you clean from the inside out.

If you are wrestling with a particular human behavior, know that God is able to help you with self-discipline.  It is true that the Spirit enables us to overcome anything. However, your behavior does not dictate His favor in Your life.  He is only concerned about your heart.

Are you living with “third plate” regret?  Check your heart.  You might be convicted — and that’s cool — but you might also have self-righteousness reigning in your heart. Purify your heart – then the rest will be clean.

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