Gonna meddle a little...

Application being the basis of all change - without application, there is no advantage to knowledge - most of us would probably 'cop' to the plea that we aren't all that good at applying what we know. I have lots of cookbooks and recipes around the house, but that doesn't mean I am a gourmet chef. I can cut a piece of wood on my table saw, but that doesn't make me a master carpenter. I can clean my house so you don't see too many dust bunnies, but that doesn't make me an expert on cleaning. It is only when spiritual and emotional knowledge is applied that we can say we are truly developing "wisdom". I think this may be what Jesus was trying to tell these religious leaders that day when he told them they only sought what would 'titillate' their curiosity rather than really develop an understanding of the One True God.

Later a few religion scholars and Pharisees got on him. "Teacher, we want to see your credentials. Give us some hard evidence that God is in this. How about a miracle?" Jesus said, "You're looking for proof, but you're looking for the wrong kind. All you want is something to titillate your curiosity, satisfy your lust for miracles."  (Matthew 12:38-40)

Day after day, Jesus has been healing the sick, setting the demon-possessed free from their torturous existence, and teaching the truths of the Word. Even after all these "signs and wonders", the religious scholars "get on" Jesus' case, looking for his "credentials" - because they believed being called 'Rabbi' was a position only obtained after years and years of 'scholarly study' of the Old Testament! If I had been there, my response would have been something like, "Wake up dudes!" - they missed the point of all he was doing and didn't have a clue that here was the Messiah they had been studying about for all those years! So blinded by their own 'determination' of what should be 'proof' of being able to do God's work, they missed that it was being done all around them.

They came with the demand for "hard evidence". If opening the eyes of the blind from birth, or unraveling the shriveled hand of a man born with a birth defect is not "hard evidence", I am not exactly sure what they were looking for! They ask for a miracle! What on earth had they been seeing over these past several weeks? In fact, they had seen more miracles in one day than most of us see in a lifetime and they were still looking for "hard evidence"!  Jesus hits the nail squarely on the head - all they wanted was something to "titillate" their curiosity. It is amazing to me how many times we fall into this same trap. We wander off to church each Sunday or watch it online these days, go to our small groups one night a week, attend a revival meeting or watch some video to inspire us, all in search of something to "titillate" our senses. What we miss in our "wandering" is the touch God specifically designed for our spirit, not so much for our senses!

Did you know the root of the word "titillate" is "tickle"? We are often looking for God to "tickle" our fancy - give us just a little sense of his presence, assurance, or direction. We aren't really looking for life change - we want "sensationalism". God gave us the awesome functional capacity to be curious - he also gave us the often unrecognized spiritual capacity to be in sync with his movement. When our focus is only on the "feeling" of being "tickled" by God's grace, we often miss the evidence of his grace right in the midst of our most desperate need for it! Jesus did not back down - he called it what it was - sensation seeking! Whenever we want the "sensation" of God's presence apart from the change his presence desires to bring within us, we miss it! Those who received their miracles came expectantly - not looking for the sensation of healing, but for the ACTUAL healing touch of God! This is what God honors - expectant faith, hungering hope, and a seeking heart. I wonder how many times we have missed what we so desperately needed for our deliverance from some life struggle simply because we came to Jesus hoping he'd tickle our fancies with some "feelings" of deliverance? I have come to realize Jesus does more in one moment of yielded obedience than he ever does in the hours we spend in church! If we were honest here, it is in the quiet of alone time with him where we are most frequently touched by his grace! Maybe we need to open our eyes afresh to the "hard evidence" of daily consistent obedience in our lives - this seems to be the real "evidence" which produces change! Just sayin!

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