Sincerity + Truth

Dani Beth Crosby, Family + Communications Minister
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are. For Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us observe the feast, not with old leaven or with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread, Passover, and the Feast of Firstfruits happen all together each year. It takes most Jewish families about a month to prepare their homes to celebrate these feasts–think spring cleaning to the extreme! Families clean every corner of their home, removing all of the yeast, or leavening agents. They completely remove it from their property—no sticking it in a closet or boxing it up in storage—all of the yeast is thrown out.
Today’s Scripture passage is a portion of Paul’s letter to a church he knew well. Unfortunately, this church family had become distracted from following Jesus alone. Instead, they were dividing themselves with labels and classifications, and they were drifting from their call to holiness. They were boasting in God’s grace and goodness through Jesus—grace that covers our sin–while living according to their fleshly desires. They were divided and drifting. These two struggles may sound familiar to struggles of the global Church today.
In response to their drift from holiness, Paul implores them to, “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new unleavened batch, as indeed you are.” He calls them to examine themselves, to search under the couch cushions of their motives, thoughts, will, and desires to find what crumbs of the old, sinful life have been left unchecked.
Throughout this past year, I have returned to the words of D.A. Carson pretty regularly. He wrote, “People do not drift toward Holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.”
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate Jesus–our risen, Passover Lamb–this Easter. May we each be diligent to apply the needed grace-driven effort to clean the leaven of sin from every nook and cranny of our heart. May our faith in Jesus be sincere. May we follow Him alone. As we open ourselves to cleaning of God’s Spirit, may our hearts and minds be drenched in His truth.
Thinking of Passover, the story of Moses & the Israelites, and the 10 Commandments, here is a simple exercise to help you examine your heart before God (taken from Adele A. Calhoun’s Spiritual Disciplines Handbook):
Imagine you are in a safe place, surrounded by the love of God. Ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you. Remember He sees you absolutely and with love. Using the 10 Commandment (Exodus 20) as a guide, journal your sins. When you have finished, go through each commandment one at a time, asking God to forgive you and help you to change. Then burn your list in a symbolic act of what it means to have God remove your sins from you.
Here are some extra questions to help you walk through the 10 Commandments:
1 – What gods of this world have I placed above the One True God?
2 – What do you think about most? Is that person or thing an idol?
3 – Have you used the name of God in a way that is not glorifying to Him?
4 – We are commanded to remember and keep holy a day of rest for God. Have you been following this command? What does the way you spend your time reveal about what you truly value? How are you trusting, or not trusting, God with your time? Are your times of rest holy and glorifying to God?
5 – Is your relationship with your parents honoring to God? How is God glorified through your relationships with those in your family and oikos? How has your fear and love of God transformed the way you relate with those placed in authority?
6 – Have you loved your neighbor as yourself? Have you honored God in the way you treat your own body and the bodies of others?
7 – Have the things you watched, listened to, thought, said, did, or not done honored God? Have you used for your own pleasure your ears to hear stories or your eyes to incite cravings for the body of one who is not your spouse?
8 – Have you been diligent in the work God has entrusted to you? Are you glorifying God with the use of your resources, including your time? Have you stolen things, information, or credit due to someone else (or to God)?
9 – Have your words been deceptive or manipulative? How have your words, or self-control with your words, brought glory to God? Have you gossiped or delighted in being discouraging and critical to others? How do your habits with social media/the news honor or dishonor God?
10 – What are you discontent about? Is that discontentment bringing glorying to God?