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Author Topic: Give Flowers or Life-Long Love?--Purpose Driven Life Devotional  (Read 4064 times)
« on: March 20, 2008, 09:36:34 AM »

Give Flowers Or A Life-Long Love?
by Jon Walker

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Matthew 9:13 (NKJV)

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He cradled the roses in his left arm like a running back carries a football (U.S.). He debated with himself over which would be best: a solitary rose or a dozen roses wrapped with baby’s breath. He went for the dozen, thinking the more, the better when you’re trying to tip the scales back toward the “nice guy” side.

So he carried 12 deep-red roses just on the edge of a beautiful bloom. They’d cost him plenty, but that’s the price you have to pay when you let someone down. Today was their anniversary. There were dinner plans, a night of romance, whispered words, tender kisses.

A wonderful, “sweet dreams are made of these” night – that he forgot. Forgot because he was under pressure at work to complete a project; forgot because he needed to do well, not just because of ambition, but because he needed a promotion. The money was tight, and he wanted to be able to support his family in a better way.

The roses were a huge expense, but it was a necessary sacrifice to make it up with his wife. He owed her more, but this could be the start of earning his way back into her favor.

Now imagine you are the one carrying the roses and you’re bringing them to Jesus. You’re offering the roses as a “sacrifice” to compensate for your bad behavior, for your sin.

But Jesus says he doesn’t want the roses, not if they’re delivered with the intention of making up for your mess up. He says, in effect, “I want your surrendered heart. I’d rather have your surrendered and obedient heart instead of a heroic sacrifice meant to earn my forgiveness and love.” (God may call you to some heroic sacrifice, but the difference is doing what God says to do as an act of obedience, not an offering of guilt.)

In Matthew 9:13, Jesus is referring to Hosea 6:6 – “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (NKJV) He wants our love and obedience; He wants us to be one with His agenda. He’d rather have our lifelong love than a dozen roses.

Eugene Peterson suggests it could be explained this way: “… ‘I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual.’” (Matthew 12:7, MSG) The sacrifice Jesus wants is a contrite heart, flexible and obedient, wholly and totally surrendered to Him.

What does this mean?

· Give God your flexible heart – You can’t make God love you more and you can’t do anything that will make Him love you less. You are already forgiven; it is a gift that Jesus already paid for through His death and resurrection. Ask God to guide you into developing a flexible heart. Give God your heart, surrendered and submitted to Him.

· Consider Psalm 51 – Read through Psalm 51, where David comes before God to confess His sin with Bathsheba. David understood that God didn’t want a “guilt offering”; rather, He wanted to create a clean heart within David.

© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.
Pastor Jon Walker is a writer for
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