Messianic Lifestyle - Holiness Pt. 2
What characterizes our beliefs as Messianics?
Our lifestyle should glorify G-d by how we speak and act. This should touch all parts of our life, not just when we are in the Synagogue. Let's examine several areas of life in which we, as Messianic Jews & Hebrews, should take great care in letting His light shine in us:
In The Home
The home is a "mini temple" of G-d. Our homes should reflect our beliefs, and honor G-d. What about our homes should speak of G-d? Just about everything can speak about our relationship to Him. From the Mezzuzah, when we walk into the house, to the decorations. One key part we need to strive for is Shalom in the house (not just watching Shalom in the Home TV series). Our homes should be refuges of peace and tranquility. Today, most parents are so stressed out working, running children to and fro, and other activities that the home is not at rest.
We need to slow down, remove clutter in our lives, and stop being a virtual taxi running to and fro. The table is considered a type of alter, not of sacrifice; but of consecration to G-d, where the family gathers together to eat, talk, and fellowship. Is the TV on non-stop? TV has become an idol to many. Constant noise drowns out the still quiet voice of G-d speaking through our spirit. Turn the TV off, and rest in G-d.
We need to ask ourselves this question, if a visitor comes into our house, will they see or precieve anything different about us? Do our beliefs show through in our home?
In our words
Scripture likens the tongue to a sword, for it can cut, maim and kill. It likens it to a rudder on a great ship, where it steers the ship, even though it is very small. Our sages teach us the tongue is to be guarded; that is why we have two gates, the teeth and the lips, to control when it is allowed to speak. Many a marriage has ended due to the inability of one or both partners being unable to control their tongue.
LaShon Hara - the evil tongue, is a concept we need to understand and follow. Speech can hurt. Repeating information about someone "gossip" is a sin. Gossiping and trying to cover it by saying "we only said it so we could pray for the person" is not a valid excuse. Often times we go to others to "make our case" or garner support before approaching someone on an issue. This is questionable, as it is often veiled gossip. Scripture says "go to your brother", not talk to 10 people to figure out if we should go to our brother.
Remember, a kind word turns away wraith.
In our deeds
Our actions, from visible actions like wearing Tzitzit and helping others; to our behavior and honesty in dealing with people, have a lot to say about us as believers. Do we act in a way that is representative of what we believe? Do we treat others with love and respect? Are we honest? The world looks at these things and they form an opinion both about us, and about the G-d we serve, based on those actions.
Once, when I worked for a company that sold to Christian Bookstores, I was appalled at how poorly these people viewed Christians. When I dug a little, I found this opinion was formed by how badly the Christian Bookstores paid their bills. Assoc. Rabbi Michael told me about a prominent Christian leader (had been a business leader in private business) who was shocked how poor believers work ethics were compared to the secular workforce.
Are we rude, do we run out after service to the local restaurants and treat the people there as serfs? Ask waitresses about the Sunday lunch crowd, coming from church, and stand back, you will get a very unflattering response. Comments will range from rude, impatient, cheapskates; to hypocrites.
One of my personal weaknesses is how I drive. I suspect others may also be guilty. Moving with the flow of traffic is a necessity in the area; but we should not get upset if we are the one the policeman pulls over. Do we make hand gestures, yell, cut people off? To my embarrassment, I am realizing that having a bumper sticker proclaiming a Jewish Messiah is not a positive if I'm acting like the devil.
So in summary, Messianic Beliefs should lead to a Messianic Lifestyle. That lifestyle should encompass our homes, how we act, and how we speak. Many are content to be 2 hour believers. They give G-d 2 hours a week, and thats about it. He does not fit into their hectic daily lives. That is not what G-d wants, or frankly, demands. He demands committed believers, who are trying to walk in the path of the Messiah - everyday. Will we mess-up and fall short - sure! That is what is so wonderful about Grace & Mercy. The Master made the way, all we need to do is follow Him.
Audio Teaching Messianic Lifestyle - Holiness
Blessings - Rabbi Gavri'el