Advent 29:50: Three Fingers Back

Advent Day 29 of 50: Three fingers back

The three elements of Christian faith expression are Charity, Prayer and Fasting. I asked that you make a note of the word hypocrite your Advent journal because Jesus uses this word as the adversary in each of his teachings about the faith expressions. He cautions and warns us, “Do not be like the hypocrites who want their expressions to be noticed by others. And so, their motive is skewed.

In the case of the Charity, Jesus cautions, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. For prayer, he says do not use extra words and make a show of your religion before others. And in the case of fasting, he warns not to disfigure your outward appearance to gain sympathy from others. And in each case, Jesus’ caution is followed with the assurance, that the hypocrite has already received his reward.

Your relationship with God is yours. It is intimate. It is between you and God. In your acts of charity, prayer and fasting, you stand before God and no one else. The hypocrite is identified by Jesus as someone who is more concerned with being seen by others.

Before moving any further, I wish to give you an Armodoxy rule: Jesus has the right to call people hypocrites, we don’t. Jesus is sinless. One of the temptations in Christianity is to join Jesus in his call out of the hypocrites. That is reserved for Jesus. Remember, when you point to someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

Jesus is pure and sinless. He can call out the hypocrite. You will notice Jesus tolerates every person, every type of sinner and the manner of their sin. The one person he cannot tolerate, and the only one he calls out is the hypocrite. As we move forward in the Essential Teachings of Jesus, it is necessary remember this rule: Ours is to follow Jesus and to notice the finger which points back to us. In other words be clean first, and strive God’s kingdom.

Let us pray from the eleventh hour of St. Nersess Shnohali’s Confession of Faith, Jesus, wisdom of the Father, grant me wisdom, that I may always think, speak and do that which is good in Your sight, save me from evil thoughts, words and deeds. Have mercy upon your creatures and on me a sinner. Amen.

Cover: Envato Elements

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